The Pursuit of Happiness
Have you read about the Specialized Turbo electric bike? ElectricBikeReview.com called it the Tesla of electric bikes in their review. It's 47 pounds and designed like a sport hybrid. It will travel 25 miles on a charge and hit a top speed of 28 mph. The review says that Specialized has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Turbo to gauge the market viability of for the Turbo which is due for release in 2014 at a price of $5,900.
The Ford company which has partnered with electric bike manufacturer, Pedego is also introducing an elctric bike this year - the Supercruiser. Ford's e-bike itargets a different segment of the cycling population. The folks at ElectricBikeReview.com say the Supercruiser will be available in the US and Canada at Ford and Pedego outlets and be priced at $3,595.
Looking a bit dowmarket from these offerings you can walk into Walmart or Sears and get set up with an electric bike for as little as $450.
Who's buying electric bikes?
A friend of mine who travels to China for work told me that e-bikes are everywhere in the cities there. His impression seems to be spot on; 9 out of 10 e-bikes sold in the world each year are sold in China - thats 28 million bikes. In the rest of the world e-bike sales were expected to be about 2.6 million units for 2013. These sales statistics are from NavigantResearch.com. The site writes, "North American players are finding new younger e-bike consumers amonth those who ride for transportation rather than entertainment." The site also predicts that that sales will grow from 31 million in 2013 to nearly 38 million in 2020. As electronic shifting becomes better and cheaper it will proliferate. While I have nothing against e-bikes and think that they are a great choice for utility work like delivery of food etc in cities, and pedal assist will change some group rides the fascination for the bike and self propulsion will surely continue and be the focus of what I do at Reparto Corse.
In early November I had the great pleasure of meeting and riding with Wesh author Rob Penn. Rob's book, It's All About the Bike; the Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels, is a wonderful readfor any cyclist. A group of my bike friends helped get Rob to New York, and he was able to combine his trip with writing about the way the Citibike bike share program is changing the culture in New York.
In his book, Rob describes his adventure while building his dream bike. He visits and writes about all the characters that make the parts that make up his bike. He starts with a custom frame handmade by a local British frame building father and son team. From there his visits included Columbus that made the steel tubing for the frame, Chris King for the headset, Steve Gravenites who hand built his wheels, Campagnolo for his drivetrain and that most British of component manufacturers, Brooks for his saddle.
It's very romantic and very entertaining too. Rob says that he spent $5500 which he acknowledgesis quite a bit of money for a bike, but concludes that the sum is not really too much for the loveliest thing he has ever owned. For me the best thing is that Rob built his bike to enjoy it as the tool/rolling art that it is rather than keep it hanging on the wall. There is enough variety in cycling products to satisfy a wide array of tastes. Plenty of us are fortunate to have the wherewithal to own as many bikes as we want. I'm up to a lucky 7 - each is different and gets ridden at least a little bit each year.
As Rob writes, the rhythym of pedaling is the beauty of cycling. This rhythym creates space for random thoughts and an opportunity for the worries to dissipate. A great thing to contemplate as a new year begins.
Savor every pedal stroke.
Owner, Reparto Corse