"I'm a farm boy. It's very interesting; you can detect self-starting characteristics in this society and they are strongest among people who have had some kind of rural upbringing and a very impressionable stage."
In this excerpt, the unthinkable has happened; the rolling roads have been sabotaged. Chief Engineer Gaines assembles his maintenance cadets and sets out to inspect and repair the damage.
Here's what they thought it would look like in 1940:
(Heinlein tumblebug from Astounding SF June 1940)
The oddest thing about a tumblebug is that it relies on "gyro-stabilization" the way we normally rely on two wheels. The Segway, a two-wheeled conveyance, similarly relies on gyro-stabilization.
Here's another illustration, and a quote (they don't write them like this anymore):
Be sure to see how a modern company has created a monocycle concept vehicle similar to the tumblebug: read EMBRIO Embodies the Tumblebug. Closer yet, read about the Eunicycle Gyro-Stabilized Single Wheel Scooter.
Compare to the gyrocar from Two Boys in a Gyrocar the story of a New York to Paris motor race (1911) by Kenneth Brown, the Gyro-Hat from An Experiment in Gyro-Hats (1926) by Ellis Parker Butler, the Two-Wheeled Ground Car from First Lensman (1950) by E.E. 'Doc' Smith, the Gyro Two-Wheeled Truck from The Sign of the Tiger (1958) by Alan Nourse (w/Meyer), the Gyrocar (Gyro) from The Ring (1969) by Piers Anthony (w/R. Margroff) and the smart bike from Distraction (1998) by Bruce Sterling.
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