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"We're about 20 minutes away from the point where Clarke's law kicks in and technology becomes indistinguishable from magic."
- Peter Watts

Caterwheel  
  A uniquely styled ground vehicle with fat, splayed out tires.  

Now, here, in the Warlock’s landing boat, the engineer snorted. A vehicle came around a cliff wall, clanking its way on those eccentric caterwheels that new-founded colonies find so useful. The vehicle glittered. It crawled over tumbled boulders, and flowed over fallen scree. It came briskly toward them. The engineer snorted again.

“That’s my cousin Ralph!” said Aletha in pleased surprise.

Bordman blinked and looked again. He did not quite believe his eyes. But they told the truth. The figure controlling the ground car was Indian—Amerind—wearing a breechcloth and thick-soled sandals and three streamlined feathers in a band about his head. Moreover, he did not ride in a seat. He sat astride a semi-cylindrical part of the ground car, over which a gaily-colored blanket had been thrown.


(Caterwheel from 'Sand Doom' by Murray Leinster)

The ship’s engineer rumbled disgustedly. But then Bordman saw how sane this method of riding was—here. The ground vehicle lurched and swayed and rolled and pitched and tossed as it came over the uneven ground. To sit in anything like a chair would have been foolish. A back rest would throw one forward in a frontward lurch, and give no support in case of a backward one. A sidewise tilt would tend to throw one out. Riding a ground car as if in a saddle was sense!

Technovelgy from Sand Doom, by Murray Leinster.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1955
Additional resources -

Here are more details:

The smoothness of the rock was deceptive. The caterwheel car lurched and bumped and swayed and rocked. It rolled and dipped and wallowed. Nobody could have remained in a normal seat on such terrain, but Bordman felt hopelessly undignified riding what amounted to a hobbyhorse. Under the sunshade it was infuriatingly like a horse on a carousel. That there were three of them together made it look even more foolish. He stared about him, trying to take his mind from his own absurdity. His goggles made the light endurable, but he felt ashamed.

“Those side-fins,” said Chuka’s deep voice pleasantly, “the bottom ones, make things better for you. The shade overhead cuts off direct sunlight, and they cut off the reflected glare. It would blister your[23] skin even if the sun never touched you directly.”

Bordman did not answer. The caterwheel car went on. It came to a patch of sand—tawny sand, heavily mineralized. There was a dune here. Not a big one for Xosa II. It was no more than a hundred feet high. But they went up its leeward, steeply slanting side. All the planet seemed to tilt insanely as the caterwheels spun. They reached the dune’s crest, where it tended to curl over and break like a water-comber, and here the wheels struggled with sand precariously ready to fall, and Bordman had a sudden perception of the sands of Xosa II as the oceans that they really were. The dunes were waves which moved with infinite slowness, but the irresistible force of storm-seas. Nothing could resist them. Nothing!

They traveled over similar dunes for two miles.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Sand Doom
  More Ideas and Technology by Murray Leinster
  Tech news articles related to Sand Doom
  Tech news articles related to works by Murray Leinster

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