A weekly rundown of stories on ebike adoption, ebike growth and worldwide legislative efforts to improve bike infrastructure and reduce the world’s dependence on carbon based fuels.
How to keep the bike boom from fizzling out
Some people are calling the current cycling boom a once in a generation opportunity to increase the ranks of cyclists and change the culture of biking in America as we know it. Andrew Hawkins, at The Verge, examines a potentially grim future for the sport and talks about what it will take to sustain this biking sea change.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg could be America’s next transportation secretary. Here’s how he might rethink American infrastructure
Could Mayor Pete be our transportation savior? After four years of ignoring the warnings of climate science, well all science really, the highest executive office in the land will finally have a sitting president that believes the Climate Crisis is real. Joe Biden has made fighting climate change a cornerstone of his platform and in order to achieve the dramatic results necessary to save our planet, massive investments will need to be made to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. We’re talking energy grids, roads, and transport networks. As incoming transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, has the opportunity to raise the public profile of what has historically been a fairly anonymous cabinet position. Seriously, can anyone name even one transportation secretary?
“We selected Pete for transportation because the department is at the intersection of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better,” the president-elect said at the press conference for the announcement.
It’s not lost on the Biden transition team that Mayor Pete, not only has the name recognition, but also the track record to lead on issues of sustainability. As mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg built a reputation for being one of America’s greenest mayors by embracing “smart technology” and utilizing innovative solutions to run its metro areas more efficiently. He was one of the first mayors nationwide to institute a city ebike sharing program and notably set up an Office of Sustainability in South Bend. That is no small feat considering the state of Indiana favored Trump over Biden by 16 points in November’s election and is heavily coal reliant.
Historically federal transportation policy has been pretty unimaginative. In recent years, it’s actually been city mayors who have taken up the banner of climate change policy by prioritizing cycling infrastructure and updates to transit systems. Let’s hope Mayor Pete can be the cycling hero we all deserve.
Bike imports up 19% through October
According to new U.S. Commerce Department trade statistics, U.S. bike imports are up 19% year over year. That’s great news. The bad news is that importers are still struggling to meet demand, leaving wholesale and retail inventories badly depleted. You’re feeling this pain if you’ve been waiting 3 plus months for your ebike to ship or if you’ve spent weeks trying to find a sturdy bike rack for under $600.
This might also explain why a venture capital funded US conglomerate known more for selling energy drinks and tequila is now diving head first into ebike manufacturing.
Last week ROKiT Made, a ROKiT Group company, announced the acquisition of America’s leading peer to peer bike rental company, Spinlister. ROKiT Made will assume ownership of Spinlister’s user database, software platforms and Velolet, the company’s retail division.
“ROKiT Made’s acquisition will help us rapidly grow our user network, get more people on bikes, and support 7,000+ independent bike retailers,” said Mark Gustafson, Spinlister CEO. “This partnership will enable our team to start implementing innovative technology to help both individuals and businesses to thrive in the bike, mobility, and outdoor rental space.”
This comes on the heels of earlier news in October, that ROKiT Made would be opening a 150,000 square foot ebike manufacturing facility in Las Vegas which is expected to be the largest facility of its kind in the US.
Ducati e-bikes arriving at US motorcycle dealerships this month
The long awaited arrival of Ducati e-bikes in America, has finally come. This mont, you’ll finally be able to get your hot hands on a Ducati E-Scrambler or a MIG-S model. The TK-01RR model won’t arrive until February but these bikes don’t come cheap. The E-Scrambler starts at $3995 and the TK-01RR will set you back $7995.
If spending eight grand on a bike doesn’t interest you, and if you’ve always wanted to brag to all your friends that you have “the Mercedes Benz of ebikes” well, wish granted. The Benzo bike is here at last and to the surprise of nobody, it’s one of the more well engineered, gorgeously designed ebikes you’ll ever find under $4,000.
The Formula E sports a clean, sleek design with very straight-forward geometry in the same vein as the Propella and VanMoof models people are drooling over. Like VanMoof bikes, the Formula E battery is integrated into the frame. It also includes a 250-watt mid-drive motor with torque sensing, a Turmey Archer five-speed drivetrain, a carbon-fiber fork, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. Because it’s Mercedes, these needed to be high quality components, consistent with higher caliber ebikes and these are definitely strong enough to justify its relatively high price tag.
I can’t wait to test drive one. It’s probably the closest thing I’ll ever get to test driving a Mercedes S Class. Or C Class. Ok any class for that matter.