It may sound about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike or a chocolate fireguard but one inventor hopes we will soon be riding around on a bike with no pedals.

Using the Velofeet is as easy as a walk in the park, as you simply sit back astride its single wheel and stride along. Manuel Alvarez-Icaza, its Inverness-based inventor, believes the wackiest idea since the Segway could provide the solution to congested city centres by providing a lightweight and manoeuvrable way of travelling short distances.

Sceptics may scratch their head and wonder what is wrong with the humble bicycle (global sales of one billion and counting) but retired physicist Mr Alvarez-Icaza insists his design is better.

He said yesterday: ‘It’s a bit like a unicycle but it is more efficient. Its simplicity itself and you build up momentum very quickly. ‘You just lean to change direction and to stop you lean back on the seat and the brakes come on. ‘It uses the natural movements of the body to propel it. Its top speed is about a jogging pace, although I’m sure with practice you may be able to go faster.

‘So, it’s a jogging speed with the effort of walking. I can see it being ideal for use in cities and towns. ‘We’ll have a sports version as well and you could use it for games like basketball or even football. It’s more efficient than a unicycle or a bicycle and easier to use.’