5 Wild Rides You Can Absolutely Afford

A hot air balloon ride will set you back a few hundred dollars. A seat on the planned 2026 one-way mission to Mars might cost you your life. But there are a few quirky rides you can take with a little bit lower stakes. Read on for our roundup of crazy lifts that won't break the bank.

1. E-Wheel

What's more compact than a bicycle, more sophisticated than a skateboard, and designed to take you anywhere you wish to go? No, it's not a magic carpet. It's the electric self-balancing unicycle — a wheel you wedge between your feet and roll toward your next destination using the power of something called "self-balancing technology." That's a fancy way of saying the E-Wheel reacts to your center of gravity.

Simply step on the foot stands and lean into your desired direction. These strange unicycles are available for a free test drive in places like New York. Whether you're looking to tour the Big Apple, cruise up and down the beach, or mix up your morning commute, the E-Wheel is a compact option with enough practicality to add a bit of speed and efficiency to your day — and enough flair to make you stand out in the crowd.

2. Stretch Taxi

Anything goes on the streets of Cuba. And in this case the anything is a Soviet-era Russian car called the Lada — with a strange twist. A do-it-yourself stretch job and a coat of yellow paint has transformed this particular Lada into a makeshift taxi cab. The cost of a ride in this cartoonish set of wheels all depends on where you're going.

3. Stretch Bus

Public transit in Brazil's Curitiba is by way of bus — that is, the world's longest articulated bus. The vehicle, made in Brazil by Volvo with a Neobus chassis, can seat 250 passengers. It's 92 feet long, nearly nine feet wide, and powered with biodiesel made from soybeans. The massive vehicle went into service on the city's public transportation grid in 2011. It's a great way to get around the city — and it won't break the bank.

4. Sperm Bike

A giant two-wheeler specifically designed to transport sperm samples sure looks the part. Custom-made and nearly 10 feet long, the sperm bike is designed to resemble one, big, oversized sperm. A ride on the bike, found in Seattle, is only possible if you get a job with the program that uses this innovative set of wheels to move sperm samples from the Seattle Sperm Lab to reproductive centers and fertility clinics. But if you find yourself in that position, you'll actually get paid to ride it. Other perks include the ability to make passersby blush and giggle as you pedal by on the bustling city streets.

5. Jetpack

If you've ever wanted to walk on water, here's the ticket. Strap on a Jetpack — a vest that uses water propulsion to make you feel like a bird soaring up to 30 feet above the surface of any ocean or lake — and you can do just that. A rental flight can set you back as much as a couple hundred bucks. But there are some tricks you can utilize to fly like Superman for free. Jetpack rental companies sometimes offer free flight promotions when they first launch their business. At Jetpack America in San Diego, you can score a free flight by posting a YouTube video of your flight experience so long as it attracts more than 200 views.

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