Girl on a Modern Ebike

Smart New World of Ebikes

Some people just don’t get ebikes. They wonder why anyone with an interest in cycling would want to make something as mechanically simple as a bicycle more complicated, by making it an even easier machine to operate.

Machines Make it Easy

In reality, machines come into being to make it easy for humans. Humans need to travel, they need to cross distance as effortlessly as possible. Whether that is for business, leisure, or just the need to get somewhere and back with little exertion required. That is why transportation systems like bus routes, train lines, and subway stations exist. That is why the automobile has been such a historical success story. Ultimately, why personal transportation means, such as the bicycle, are used by kids and adults alike, in an ever-increasing fashion.

A Zero Carbon Footprint

In the Brave New World where green transportation is King, everyone wants a zero-carbon footprint. It is the ‘in’ thing. It is smart and trendy, and it is also a necessity, if we are to combat the climate crisis in present times.

Of course, nothing can be greener than a traditional bicycle. It has no emissions, uses no fuel except the rider’s muscle power, and can be an ideal form of transport in a range of scenarios. If only we all lived in flat lands, and only had to commute, or travel, relatively short distances. If only we were all young and fit, and full of vigour and vitality. In the real world though, that is a big ask. That is an impossibility. This is why effortless transport like the automobile is such an essential part of our lives today, and why it will be for the foreseeable future.

The Evolution of the Ebike

Personal transport is changing though. Rapidly changing. The trains are all becoming electric. The buses also. The electric car is on the rise, and pollution oozing petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles will soon become obsolete. Perhaps the quickest change in the evolution of personal transport though, is the simple bicycle. The simple bicycle is more and more becoming the electric bicycle. A traditional, age-old, proven design, with an added electric motor and a battery. Simplicity itself, and now we don’t all need to live in flat lands, and we can commute farther, and being young and fit and full of vigour and vitality is an option, rather than a necessity. Older, unfit, physically inferior, riders can all take advantage of a bicycle that is easier to operate. That takes away the strain of a hill climb or a head wind. That uses less muscle power and utilises motor power instead. That gets you to your place of employment as fresh and easy as if you had taken the bus or train.

See also: What is an Ebike, or an Electric Bicycle? and The World of ebikes – Questions and Answers

Some People Just Don’t Get Ebikes

The people that just don’t get ebikes, tend to be mainly in the traditional keep-fit cyclist camp. Modern day Luddites who see cycling technology as an impurity, rather than an innovation. That mechanical assistance to cycle is somehow polluting the age-old tradition of straining and sweating uphill, exerting energy till your poor tired muscles can do no more. I suppose if that is their idea of fun, then leave them to it. The ebike, or electric bicycle is not for them. It was not created and designed for them anyway. The greatest market for ebikes, I would guess, is for the people who have not cycled for years, and because of age, or physical weakness, would probably never cycle again, except for the fact that they now can, with electric assistance to take away the strain.

And because of that available electric assistance, everyone can now jump on the road to zero-emission transport.

                “E-bikes are predicted to grow from 3.7 million bikes sold in 2019 to 17 million in 2030. The e-bike market in 2020 is already up by 23% year on year, and on the current trajectory, there will be 10 million e-bikes sold per year as early as 2024.” (source)

Technology is a Wonderful Thing

Technology is wonderful. Forget about high flying fighter jets and space rockets to the moon and Mars. Forget about Quantum computers and complicated MRI scanners. Simple technology, the KISS (keep it simple stupid) kind, is the technology that will reap the most benefit for the individual and the planet.

A simple mechanical design:

                “A German baron named Karl von Drais made the first major development when he created a steerable, two-wheeled contraption in 1817. Known by many names, including the “velocipede,” “hobby-horse,” “draisine” and “running machine,” this early invention has made Drais widely acknowledged as the father of the bicycle.” (source)

The Draisine by Karl von Drais around 1820. Photo by Gun Powder Ma CC BY-SA 3.0

An electric motor:

  “The first commutator DC electric motor capable of turning machinery was invented by British scientist William Sturgeon in 1832. Following Sturgeon’s work, a commutator-type direct-current electric motor was built by American inventor Thomas Davenport and his wife, Emily Davenport, which he patented in 1837. The motors ran at up to 600 revolutions per minute, and powered machine tools and a printing press.” (source)

Davenport Electric Motor: Public Domain Image

          

A reusable power source:

    “In 1859, Gaston Planté invented the lead–acid battery, the first-ever battery that could be recharged by passing a reverse current through it.” (source)

Plante Lead Acid Cell Public Domain Image

 A Modern Method of Personal Transport

Of course, things have moved on since the 1800s. The evolution of the bicycle, the electric motor, and the rechargeable battery, have continued down the ages until what we have today. An efficient light machine with cutting edge motor and battery technology. And innovation is constant and consistently improving the design and efficiency of the modern ebike. This work is ongoing, and the evolution of the ebike will continue as more companies invest in research and development. Creating an ever more efficient product, that will appeal to more and more people looking for a simple, easy to operate, method of personal transport. That with little effort, gets them to their destination, and assists them in their own small way to cut carbon emissions and help combat the climate crisis.

A Smart New World of Ebikes

Without doubt, a climate crisis is upon us. That alone should have us all thinking about ways we can cut our emissions of carbon, and help in our own little way to improve the precarious state of the world we live in. Whether that is changing from a petrol or diesel car to an electric car, or going further and investing in an ebike and dispensing with the car altogether, is a matter of personal choice. We cannot all dispense with our car though, however much we would like to, but most of us can do a bit, even if that is only replacing one or two journeys a week by utilising an ebike rather than using a car. Ebikes are improving all the time, the effort to use an ebike is negligible. They are cheap to use and healthy to operate. They are also great fun to be out and about on. This is why we are now living in a smart new world of ebikes, and more and more we will see ebikes, used by all ages of people, every time we leave the house.

11 Aug 2021

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