An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Northern Europe suddenly seems a lot less cycle-cool


OK, so we've pretty much resigned ourselves to not being as cool as the Danes or the Dutch, where cycling culture is concerned. They've made it clear that anyone who wears Lycra, or uses clipless pedals -- hell anyone who knows what a Horst link or a drop bar is -- is a hopeless poseur.

True hardcore cyclists wear loafers and dress slacks and ride black three-speeds.

And it's also true that our "grow-or-die" capitalist mentality means Americans are constantly upgrading their equipment needlessly, whereas our European friends are happy riding their 30-year-old cykles.

But look here: New bike sales are actually up this year in the Netherlands. Why? Because the Dutch appear to have a great deal of interest in e-Bikes. E-bikes! I'm sorry, but no amount of photos of hot babes in high-heels riding the cobblestones of Northern Europe will ever convince me that e-Bikes are cool.

Are they cooler than cars? Yes. Are they cooler than bikes? No.

In America, in the seventies someone developed an electric knife -- a knife that was sort of like a little chainsaw that carved the turkey or the ham for you. All you had to do was plug it in, hold it in position, pull the trigger, and you could be relieved of all that super strenuous back-and-forth wrist action.

That, my European friends, is the e-Bike.

63 comments:

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I like electric knives. They do a much better job than regular knives of cutting up roasts of meat, and I run a dinner where we feed 150 people roast pork and two electric knives make quick work of the carving duties. Likewise, I think electric bikes have their place. People who wouldn't consider riding a regular bicycle 10 miles to work might think about an e-bike. It seems to me that most of the efforts thusfar have been kind of lame, but some combination of efficient motor and li-ion batteries (the DeWalt 36V A123 batteries are causing a foam of excitement in some circles) might make the bikes practical and less lame.

Anonymous said...

Just returned from a couple weeks in Holland and saw a some e-bikes. Generally used by older ppl who needed a little assistance. Nothing wrong or uncool with it as far as I'm concerned, esp. when they have a cane draped over the handlebars.

Hannibal said...

Your post is an amazing coincidence. I just finished sawing up a Danish gentleman with my electric knife.

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