Micro bikes in the transport mix?
During the bici elettrica fat bike the bicycle was king for transporting the masses to and from work. But the automobile revolution of the 60’s meant that the car was affordable and available. Many more families owned cars and breadwinners were able to travel further in their search for employment. The bicycle as a commuting vehicle became less and less attractive.
Concern for the environment and interest in green issues is bringing sustainable transport back into focus again and the bicycle is having somewhat of a resurgence as a viable commuting tool. Fuel costs, parking charges, congestion zones and road taxes are all having an impact on our pockets and commuters are looking for more economical ways to travel.
Folding bikes, the way ahead?
Folding bicycles have been around for a number of years. They were quite cumbersome at first but gradually design has improved. Folding mechanisms have become easier to use, and size and weight have come down making them much easier to transport.
A similar revolution has been taking place in the electric bike industry. Originally batteries were extremely heavy and cumbersome and there was no point in having a folding version. As battery technology has advanced so has electric bike design. Bikes are now lighter, trendier and have a greater distance on a charge than had previously been thought possible.
Design attention was turned to the folding bike, how would this work in the electric format? The answer was, quite well! Electric folding bikes(also known as e bikes) have become very popular in the leisure industry, particularly in the caravan and motorhome market. The versatility of a folder has made it easier to store and the bonus of electric power has made it much more attractive to the user. For commuting though it still needed to be smaller.
Micro electric folding bikes, the revolution?
The problem with the standard electric folding has still been the weight. Taking the e bike with you on the daily train commute has meant you need a few muscles. Bikes have typically weighed around 20kg, with lighter ones at 18kg. These purpose built folders have been great for putting in the boot of the car, but are slightly heavy for carrying up steps at stations etc.
To make a truly micro bike with electric power assistance technology needed to move on again and now lightweight folding micro electric bikes are available. Weighing in at less than 10kg these e bikes are light enough to be carried up steps and onto trains. They are also compact enough to be stored by your desk in the office or taken on the tube at rush hour. Typically distances on pedal assist are around 10 to 15 miles which is ample for a daily commute.
So to the question, “Could micro bikes revolutionise commuting” the answer is a resounding Yes! The savings that could be made financially and in terms of the environment are considerable. The flexibility of using a micro bike to ride a mile or two to the station and the office makes this the ideal solution. The electric power assistance gives this type of bike e bike a definite edge over the conventional cycle making the ride much more relaxed and enjoyable.