E-biking in the Swis Alps

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Pseudacris
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In today’s NY Times, a story about e-biking in the Swiss Alps. You can rent the bikes and easily swap batteries along the way.

Makes me think that e-bikes might be a good mix in a Pittsburgh bike share program…as an entry level way to conquer hills, and perhaps encourage more 2-way rentals.

http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/travel/the-swiss-alps-on-an-electric-bicycle.html


Mick
Participant
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I don’t know. I saw someone on bike zip down the sidewalk and around a 90 degree corner at maybe 10, maybe 12 mph.

I thought at first it was an idiot conserving momentum by being unsafe on the sidewalk, but when they neither pedaled nor lost speed, I realized it was probably an ebike.

I’m not sure I like the idea of novices on bikes with motors.

Of course, there could be a mechanism that would only let you use the electric assist at speeds under 5 or 6 mph. Tht would be OK for the hills. (Boring. But safe.) It would keep people from being a motorized threat, and make them pedal a bit.

Most of use go up most hills faster than that, of course. But I’m not going up 18th Street or Negley averaging any faster than 6 mph. Ever.

I’m guessing 1-way trips would be a problem, though.

I went for a walk in Alexandria, VA with my father recently. They have the Captial Bikeshare program.

http://www.capitalbikeshare.com/station_map

At the highest point of our walk, we saw two people ride away with the last two bikes from the Rhodes & 16th St

station. Half an hour later, and maybe a hundred feet lower, we passed the Rosslyn Metro station, which had more than a dozen bikes.

They dont’ charge for the first 30 minutes, so cruising down to the meter is free (both in $$ and in effort, it being down hill).

That implies a bike-moving dispatch and transportation system, along with the economies of scale for that.

The mild rises in Alexandria are nothing like the hills here.

An side on Captial bike share: the bikes they use look pretty good for some things. OTOH the racks are solidly made, but designed to hold a briefcase, but very little larger. No groceries on those bikes!

It appears someone deliberately made this choice, but I’m not sure why.

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