Early Travel Technology & A Digital Nomad Pioneer

June 13, 2012 by JJ in Biking, Lifestyles with 0 Comments


Long before telecommuting or travel blogging seemed like viable career options, and two decades before most of us could imagine downloading email on our phones, Steven Roberts was Computing Across America. Not just dreaming of location independence and escaping the cubicle, but making digital nomad life a reality.

In the early 1980’s Steven began building the first of his recumbent bicycles, an 18 speed laptop and solar panel equipped, overland capable bicycle named, Winnebiko. Then, in 1986, the Winnebiko II was spawned with added technology such as the handlebar keyboard. Pushing the limits still, the third rendition of the bike was equipped with so much technology, including wireless devices, printers, speakers, a satellite, and more, it was named “BEHEMOTH.” So techno fabulous in fact, it now lives in the Computer History Museum in California’s Silicon Valley.

This digital renaissance man peddled his high tech bikes on a combined 17,000 miles around the United States throughout the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Experiencing the great outdoors while putting his “gonzo” creations to good use; writing articles on his laptops and submitting his free-lance work via modem, far from a traditional office.

Today, joined by a growing mass of new digital nomads, Steven continues to pioneer cutting edge tech-nomadic mobile machines. Mixing technology with wanderlust and expanding the digital boundaries once again. If you dare, try and keep up with Steven by subscribing to his Nomadness Report. Or surf around historical photos and published articles of his work at the Nomadic Research Labs.

Photograph by Jeffrey Aaronson.
Computing Across America: The Bicycle Odyssey of a High-Tech NomadComputing Across America by Steven Roberts (January 1988)

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