Like most things these days, you'll soon be able to control your bike with your phone. That's right, there's about to be an app for that, and it's one step forward in the green revolution.
The team behind the new Copenhagen Wheel has come up with a way to improve a biker's commute by reinventing the rear wheel in order to transform bicycles into hybrid "e-bikes." These digitized trailblazers are more efficient than cars and motorcycles, more advanced than the average bike, and a major help in getting up hills.
Designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology SENSEable City Laboratory, they are being pitched as a way to encourage drivers to trade in their 4 wheels for 2.
"In general, the big vision behind this is to really revolutionize urban transportation," says Assaf Biderman, Founder and CEO of Superpedestrian and Associate Director of SENSEable City Laboratory. "Most of us live in cities that have grown so large, mostly due to the fact that we have cars… we've built our cities around that technology."
Biderman believes life could be rosier if we got out of our motorized shells more often.
"There could be great improvement in quality of living if we can get around some of the problems introduced by cars," he explains. "You can experience a place more closely as you would a pedestrian than you do in a locked vehicle. Bikes offer people a choice to move around."
True, but will the e-bike actually entice more people to travel to work in their suits and ties?
Yes, it could, Biderman says, and here's why.
First of all, the wheel is "magic." It comes with a built-in computer that monitors your pace and level of exertion and matches it in strength. If you come to a hill, it puts in extra force so you feel like you're still on a flat surface. Thus, you avoid, as Biderman calls it, unnecessary exercise.
The e-bike also serves as a one-stop shop for all your commuting needs. Want to steer away from a congested intersection with potholes and smoggy air? No problem, because the app maps out poor conditions in real time and will direct you elsewhere.
This innovation works for a 30-mile, round-trip commute, which is the average length of travel for 80 percent of the population, according to Biderman. The designers kept it to that figure because increasing the range would increase the batteries' price and weight, and nobody wants that.
To operate, the wheel doesn't need to be charged, but captures the energy from the brakes when a rider goes downhill and stores that in a battery. Pedaling in reverse also generates more power.
Interested now? You can purchase the wheel beginning in November, and while prices can't be revealed, Biderman says it will be less than $1,000.
He adds, "It's fun, looks good and makes your life a hell of a lot easier."
Best of all, it's helping the planet!
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