Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Electric Bike Models to Make Waves in California Bike Share System

Last week I described a bike-sharing pilot project that will put 10,000 bikes on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area by 2012. An unintended consequence of bike-sharing systems, both in California and elsewhere, is that they may well end up being a boon for an electric bike industry surging across North America.

San Francisco's green neighbor to the north, Sacramento, is now experimenting with a four-week trial of a bike sharing system using the innovative BionX electric bike as a featured model. The bike features a battery, electric motor and handlebar control panel, all connected with sophisticated energy-management software. The electric motor system can even be custom-installed on non-electric Trek and Diamant bikes.

Forgive me, but this picture of a corporate doucher should have been a headline for Stuff White People Like

The testing period of Sacramento's bike sharing program will be among employees at the California division of the EPA, hardly a tepid audience for bike sharing. Adding to Sacramento's unsung appeal as a bicycling capital is its rate of bicycle commuting that is among the highest in the country.

If this Sacramento bike sharing project goes smoothly, it could easily lay the groundwork for other smaller and medium-sized cities to get their bike sharing systems up and running. I'm talking to you, Portland :). The ability to step onto a bike and pedal (or not) around the city for pocket change is all the more enticing with electric bikes thrown into the fray.

Another model that will hopefully join the bike-sharing menu is this badass piece of machinery right here, the M55 Beast Hybrid. This powerhouse of a bike can reach speeds of 40 mph, as good as any vespa or scooter, and can go for 75 miles on a single charge. Upon further investigation, the bike is made of carbon-fiber and titanium alloys, which probably means that like the Tesla Roadster, it is a beautiful unicorn of a machine that mere mortals will never get their hands on. Sadness....

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