Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Globe Special: Getting Off the Globe Bike

I'm no longer interested in risking my life to support the agenda. 

How about you?

"Next-gen bike technology still pedaling uphill" Scott Kirshner 03/04/2016

The new bicycle wheel made its debut in 2009 at a United Nations climate change conference.

In Copenhagen, where they all froze their asses off. That was when Climategate hit. 

And round and round we go....

Incubated in an MIT lab, the prototype was dubbed the Copenhagen Wheel because the city of Copenhagen sponsored its development.

Even the electric bike was funded through the military.

The promise was that a wheel with a built-in electric assist could be installed on the millions of bikes already on the road, making it far more appealing for people in cities to commute by bike, easing traffic and helping the environment, but more than six years after the debut of the Copenhagen Wheel, several companies are still huffing and puffing toward that utopian vision.

The story of these new wheels is one more example of how tough it is to turn a potentially game-changing concept into widely-used product. Nearly $30 million has been invested in companies trying to bring electric wheels to market — though it’s still difficult to find one in your local bike shop. Prices in the neighborhood of $1,000 may also be a reason for consumers to think hard about a purchase.

The players in this new corner of the bicycle biz are also getting tangled up in litigation.

That's when I stopped pedaling.

Getting onto a bike outfitted with the Copenhagen Wheel is an amazing experience. It’s a bit like going to the gym on the moon and doing your usual workout. The effort involved in getting up to a cruising speed of 18 or 20 miles an hour feels like almost nothing — and you could maintain that speed all day.

In my test rides, I couldn’t feel a single sweat gland threatening to shift into production mode. You can use the smartphone on the handlebars to shift between higher and lower levels of assistance (and battery consumption), but it never feels like you’re just switching on a motor and laying off the pedals. The bike works in partnership with the rider.

One other nifty feature: the wheel recaptures energy when you brake or go downhill, in the same way some hybrid cars do. That refills the wheel’s lithium battery.

Don't those things catch fire?

The venture capitalists who have pumped millions into Superpedestrian are convinced its sleek design and simplicity will win over consumers — getting people to test-ride this next generation of bike technology is the next hill the companies will have to climb....

It's all yours. Enjoy the agenda-pushing ride!