Here’s one to put in the Crazy Town file: Last month, the Coast Guard arrested a man for trying to run a giant hamster wheel across the Atlantic—and it wasn’t even his first attempt.
On August 26, Florida resident Reza Baluchi was “captured” 70 miles east of Tybee Island, Georgia, in his very own homemade human hydro pod. Pedaling as fast as he could, Baluchi was apparently on his way to London in the face of hurricane Franklin’s rip current conditions. The hydro pod, a metal drum made of inflatable buoys and wire, had no motor and was self-propelled by Baluchi literally running for his life inside it. But that’s not the craziest part of the story.
After the Coast Guard deemed the pod a “manifestly unsafe voyage” and ordered him to abort his mission, Baluchi resisted their attempts to get him to board their seacraft for three whole days. Although they made repeated attempts, Baluchi threatened to kill himself with a knife and blow himself up if taken against his will. He finally relented and was brought to Miami Beach where he was hit with federal charges for obstruction of boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port order and was released on bond.
Baluchi was profiled in the The New York Times not long after he arrived in the U.S. from Iran, for his Forest Gump-like quest to run across the country, which he reportedly completed twice. VICE also featured him in a short documentary as he tried to run from Florida to Bermuda. Over the years, he has also apparently attempted several voyages in similar homemade hamster vessels like the London hydro pod over the years.
And we thought our wheels were tireless.