Tuesday, 12 December 2017

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Shrink the City with Copenhagen Wheel E-Bike

Shrink The City

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One of the technical developments we have watched with interest over the past months is “The Copenhagen Wheel”, developed at prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), which turns an “ordinary” bike (no, not a penny farthing – which was called an “ordinary” when the “safety bike” was introduced) into an electric hybrid by replacing the back wheel.

The company behind the development also works under the name “superpedestrian” and has just started a series of sessions where some users compete using their product with other forms of transport, to see what the travel time differences are.

The first one was a trip of just over 2 miles from their Cambridgeport offices, in the Boston – Cambridge area where they are based.

They settled on lunch at about 12:10pm and by 12:12 an Uber had been called, and bikes were being unlocked. After reinflating a low tyre, the Superpedestrians were on their way at 12:16, while staff members Patrick and Austin waited for the Uber to show up.

Austin reports “In the Uber, it seemed we were off to a good start. We made all the lights up to the Mass Ave bridge, but then the trouble began. First it was stop and go traffic, then a double-parked car blocking a lane. A short while later as we bumped along in traffic on Boylston, Patrick got the call.” Grace and Chris on their bikes had already arrived.

Even with the added time of filling a tyre, the Copenhagen crew beat us by a solid 7 minutes. By the time we walked from where our Uber driver dropped us (2 minutes from the address we’d entered) Grace and Chris were seated, and ready to order.”

It was the same on the return journey after lunch. The cyclists were off by 1:42 with an Uber “4 minutes away.” By the time the driver arrived at 1:49pm, Grace and Chris were halfway back and made it 2 minutes prior to the cab.

Hopefully, this type of message will become common knowledge. Even with e-bike “pedal assist”, there is still exercise involved and consequential health benefits, as we reported a few days ago.  Another key factor for any town or city is the improvement in air quality if people are cycling or e-biking rather than using combustion engines. 

 

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