Behold the Schmobile!

Earlier this year, my son Ben (13) was getting ready to leave for a four week summercamp in the wilds of Minnesota. Three days before departure, disaster struck: Ben dislocated his left knee and camp was all of a sudden out. Left with four weeks of nothing to do and his siblings and many of his friends away in other places, we asked Ben to come up with some ideas. He said he wanted to build this:

It’s two skateboards connected by hinges and you ride them like water skis, he explained. That actually sounded pretty cool, so off went Ben and Diane to buy parts – two boards, some trucks and wheels, lots of screws, plus door hinges and aluminum door sills to form the connectors. Ben learned how to use the power tools in the barn, and after a few days his idea started to take shape.

Along the way we tried to talk him into some testing and prototyping, but he calmly assured us that it would all work 🙂 After a few more days of drilling and sawing, the pieces came together for the first time:

And then it was time for the first test run. The ride is similar to skateboarding, but you face forward instead of sideways and you steer by leaning left or right:

Ben named his project the Schmobile (the Schneider Mobile). It works really well and we’ve been riding it a bunch – it’s smooth and fun and reminds me of soap box derbies as a kid 🙂 I’m thrilled with the way Ben turned a potentially disheartening moment – a messed up knee in the middle of summer – into a great project and cool new invention (proud dad speaking here), and I hope there are more Schmobiles and related projects in the future!

Published by

Toni Schneider

Partner at True Ventures. Team lead at Automattic. Advisor at Atipica, Bandcamp, Handshake, Hatch Baby, Madefire, Renovo Motors, and Tend.ai.

8 thoughts on “Behold the Schmobile!”

  1. Das isch Hammer! Gratuliere! Erinneret mich a die, wo früehner sind go langlaufe uf de Strass mit so komische Langlaufschii mit Redli unedra. Mir händ dem Grasschiifahre gseit, aber eigentlich sinds ja gar nöd uf em Gras gfahre…

  2. Very cool invention that is something that I would’ve guessed would take some getting used to however must be a blast ride once you’re on it.

    You said more “Schmobiles”Ben’s Invention reminded me very much of something My great grandfather did to Literally allow him to walk on water. He walked across a lake in Germany. He did this using essentially The same hinging technique with the ability to allowing one foot to move X distance forward and the other to move Y distance Backwards pontoons hinged together just like skateboards seen in the Schmobile pontoons Similar to waterskis with three hinged flaps under each of them they looked like a end of the shovel facing down under the Waterline (without the pole) it worked when the flap would come down from being pulled back in the water’s resistance then move great grand dad forward however when you slide your foot forward The hinge on the flaps would allow them to go up letting the pontoon ski move forward through the water without resistance. built with bars across just like that the hinges across them just like the Schmobile. That is a story I have literally been total only twice in my life my relatives and I know has never been published however it would be very cool to see if it would work again and then you could tell your friends you can literally walk on water.
    Very cool idea of been thinking outside of the box and I can understand why you are so proud and you should be.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Zickell

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