Innovation on the water can happen anywhere. On the engineering team of a global electronics company or in the garage. The latter is probably the case for these two products. We can’t confirm it, but we imagine someone sitting in a folding chair in a garage with a beer in hand. They look around and think, “Hmmm, what if I bolt that thing over there to this thing over here.” Voila! Roll it out for testing.
First up from the garage is a floating grill made by Michigan-based Float’n Grill, which sells for $279. It’s the brainchild of two guys with a 16-foot jet boat who got tired of eating out of a cooler. No room for a grill? No problem. Just float one – but please pause on the cannon balls near the grill.
It’s a gas grill mounted on a piece of floating plastic. We’re a little confused by the cup holders. You want me to put my cold beeer where? We’d also like to see an emergency cord like the ones on outboard motors that stop the motor when you fall overboard. In this case, you pull the cord and the whole thing sinks to the bottom. Or maybe a “deep V” hull version for choppier water. This isn’t exactly for the Southern Ocean. But we give it four and a half stars for pure garage dreaming.
Pontoon kit lets you use your own bike to pedal across the water
The pontoon bike is a little more complex, but sticks with the theme of “let’s bolt this thing on that” and see what happens. The Shuttle Bike Kit comes from SBK Engineering in Vigevano, Italy, just outside of Milan. It’s basically an inflatable pontoon boat that you can stick your bike on to get around on the water. Similar to the grill, this pontoon bike is designed for calm water.
What’s ingenious about this kit is that it utilizes a roller that turns on top of the rear wheel of the bike to generate air pressure that then turns propellers. It’s a little similar to how bike hub generators are used to power lights. This makes the connection between the bike and the pontoon boat more simple than taking the rear wheel off and connecting it to a propeller mechanism.
The kit isn’t cheap at about $1500, depending on the model. But it’s certainly much less than the foiling e-bike we wrote about. The whole kit breaks down into a small enough package to be carried like a backpack – but the assembly will take a little time. We like the fact that you can use your own bike for this. For exercise on a lake or inlet, this could be a lot of fun. Wheelies will be tough.