Saturday, August 16, 2008

Electric bikes

Today I encountered an news article on the use of electric bikes for commuting, which would seem to be an interesting way to make bicycling as a way of commuting more accessible to more people. After all, with an electric bike, it might be that much easier to get up those hills with your child(ren) and groceries in tow, or to even commute longer distances. (Or, to help you keep up with your riding buddies who are much faster than you.)

Since I don't really know much about electric bicycles, I pursued a few of the links to sites which promote electric bikes, in particular NYCeWheels, and was fascinated with the variety of models out there. If one is not interested in purchasing a whole bike, there are bicycle conversion kits, which can convert your existing bike (any type, apparently) into an electric bike. The one system that I read about was the BionX bike motor system. I thought the video below about the BionX motor system, though slightly cheesy, was fascinating. There's even footage of a guy riding his newly motorized Trek mountain bike off-road.

Also, for you weight weenies out there, don't worry!
"Depending on the system you order, the Bionx kit will add as little as 15 lbs to your bike."

I also ended up at the site for BikeLid "secure" bike parking systems. It's being demonstrated in NYC in the next couple weekends during the NYC's Saturday Summer Streets events in August (involves at least closing some streets to automobile traffic, allowing more comfortable bike commuting to newer riders).

I'm not sure what I think of the system in terms of its claims for superior security. I'm sure it protects bicycles from the elements, but takes up lots of space. But, it seems to me that the weakest link in the system is that it relies on the security of the user's lock. I'm pretty sure that bike thieves are pretty familiar with how to get around most lock systems these days.


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