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Thursday, May 21, 2009
Electric Bicycles are coming!
Electric bicycles are coming! They will take the world by storm. They will replace the car for most all short commutes of single riders in fair weather. They will do this because they are faster and much more efficient (than either a car, a regular bike, or walking). They will do this because they are much less expensive. They will do this because the planet is sick. But mostly, they will quickly take the world by storm, and replace the car for so many trips, because electric bikes are fun to ride! Bicycles have always been fun to ride. Ever since the “Safety Bicycle” was perfected in 1880, with it’s chain, sprocket, and air-filled tires, the bicycle has always been universally accepted as fun to ride. As long as there were no hills. And as long as there were no head-winds. And as long as you were fit, and strong, and feeling good, and didn’t mind working up a sweat. The bicycle could make you feel like you were sailing, or even flying! But not through water or air, but through your own neighborhood and town! The envy of everyone, as you were having fun, and getting to where you wanted to go. With half the effort, and over five times faster than walking! But there were those hills. And that head wind! And those days when you just didn’t feel all that energetic. But what if you could magically take away those hills, and that head wind, and make the bike feel like you were always going downhill, and with the wind? Then it wouldn’t matter if you didn’t feel good some days, because a ride on a magical bicycle like that, would make you feel good again! You could sail and fly through your favorite parts of town, running errands, getting things done, but you wouldn’t be getting tired, you’d be getting therapy! And so it seems clear, that if there were a magical bicycle like that, everyone would want one. And would ride it often! And if that happens, our lifestyle would improve. And it would help to heal our planet.
Well, the electric bike does all that. And more. That’s why it is already taking the world by storm. Many places like China and Europe have already experienced massive explosions in the growth of this new product. And it is becoming a new paradigm for transportation. America is just now starting to discover the wonderful advantages of pairing a bicycle with an electric motor. Even though we tend to have greater distances to travel, and our cities are designed to cater to our love affair with the automobile, people are finding that an electric bike can solve so many problems on shorter commutes, that sales in the US have begun to skyrocket here as well. And for every electric bike that is purchased, and more importantly, every time we replace miles-driven with miles-ridden, on an e-bike, our lives, and our planet, benefit greatly. So, you might ask, “just because electric bikes are so much easier and more fun to ride than regular bikes, how much of a positive impact could they really make, even if we did replace a lot of our short car trips with an e-bike?” Well, it’s hard to say. We won’t use them much on long trips, say, over ten miles each way. And we won’t use them much when it’s raining because we like to stay dry in our cars. And we won’t use them if we need to pickup more items than will fit in our baskets and saddlebags. So, what does that leave? A LOT! In the US, the climate is pretty nice, most of the time. The national average daily miles driven is 29 miles. In addition to those who are starting to commute to work by e-bike to save hundreds of dollars in monthly fuel costs, it is easy to see how we can replace millions of our little daily errand-running trips with an e-bike instead of a 4,000lb, gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing, budget-breaking car.
Here are a few Fun Facts about e-bikes:
>Faster in many cities for short commutes, due to traffic jams.
>Healthier lifestyle, gets you “out”, pedaling some.
>More efficient than any other form of transportation, including walking and regular pedal biking. Electricity takes less energy than the amount to grow food.
>Decreases congestion on city streets. Can you imagine how many more bikes can fit on a road than cars?
>Greenest transport. Zero emissions. Better health not breathing pollution. Helps climate crises.
>More fun than being sat on by a hippopotamus.
>Reduces use of non-renewable energy resources like petroleum, which we need to make plastics.
>Reduces wars by reducing oil use. Most efficient means of transportation,-1500 mpg equivalency.
>Sustainable-small amount of energy needed can easily be made from total green source like solar.
>The bike above goes 18mph for 18miles without pedaling, and is available for $300 (plus $100 shipping) at target.com