An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

So what are we talking about here, exactly?


I'm not sure why exactly, but this article in the New York Times has a lot of earnest pro-bike folks in a lather. It's about electric bikes, which are inherently lame-- for the obvious reason that they make people believe that meaningful transportation must always require an energy source that is more complicated than a bowl of granola or a pint of Guiness. In other words, that's not a bike. It's a motorbike.

But what irritated me most about this particular article was how... well, undecided and nonspecific it seemed to be. With the steady drip of "generally" and "typically" and "usually," I got the strong sense that the reporter hadn't a clue what he was talking about.


On some models, riders can twist or thumb the throttle on the handlebar and move forward without pedaling. On others, they can pedal lightly and accelerate quickly...

Electric bikes are typically used at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour without pedaling...


They can generally cover 20 to 50 miles on a battery charge...At the end of a ride, the battery can usually be taken out of its compartment and plugged into a wall with a special cord...

Prices of electric bikes can run from a few hundred dollars for cheap models to $2,000 or more.Some manufacturers are selling electric mountain bikes, recumbent bikes, folding bikes and even tricycles...

Costs of the kits can range from several hundred dollars to more than $1,000...

The potential savings on fuel can ease any sticker shock... buyers of electric vehicles may recoup much or all of their initial costs in a matter of months to several years...

The number sold here is in the tens of thousands a year, compared with 10 million in a recent year in China.

Many retailers tend to be on the West Coast and in Florida, in warmer urban areas, where batteries have better year-round performance. In the New York area, several stores also sell electric bikes...



What can I say? I tend to think that electric bikes are generally lame, and potentially sucky in essentially all conditions.

2 comments:

Linden said...

Yeah, kinda lame... and slightly misleading from the get-go, making it seem as though that dude from Frisco is climbing 10,000 feet on his commute. I think that Breck is about 650 ft higher than Frisco, with the steepest part being the first 1/2 mile.

I sure like me those Stokemonkeys though.

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