BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: bicycling

E-Bikes On the Rise (Again)

We just got this tidbit from one of our PR industry friends…an article from a new digital magazine put out by GE called The Txchnologist. The following article is on the continued rise of electric and electric-assist bicycles in the U.S. market:

No news story or movie about China is complete, it seems, without images of throngs of people riding two, three and four abreast down the street on bicycles, both manual and electric. This latter type, known as the e-bike, has seen exponential growth in recent years; one estimate had 100 million e-bikes plying China’s roads in 2009.

Now Americans, prompted by high gas prices and growing eco-consciousness, are slowly embracing the e-bike, too. E-bike sales in the U.S. have been growing at a 21 percent annual clip – albeit from a modest base – and could reach 785,000 a year by 2016, according to Pike Research, a clean energy market research firm.

Read the rest of the article by visiting the Txchnologist site. We’ve been talking about the rise of e-bikes here for a while now, especially the past year or so. Still, I haven’t seen too many “in the wild” — and absolutely ZERO since I moved to Ohio. Have any of you noticed more e-bikes on the streets where YOU live?

Review: Ergon GP1 BioKork Grips

As a member of the 2011 Ergon Commuter Team, I am in a somewhat unique position to be able to test some of Ergon’s products in real-world bike commuting conditions. As you may recall, we have reviewed some of Ergon’s products before, and I’ve been a user of their GP1 grips since the birth of my Xtracycle a couple years ago.

The first product I got my hands on was the GP1 “BioKork” grip set, part of Ergon’s Performance Comfort Series of grips:

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From Ergon USA’s site:

The GP1 BioKork uses 40% cork, sourced from sustainable forests in Portugal which is certified for its ecologically sound production. This ecological theme is continued throughout the rest of the grip.

The inner core is plastic reinforced using natural fibre, which make up 40% of its mass. In place of mineral oil, the gel in the palm section of the grip is vegetable oil based.

The clamp can also be 100% recycled. It is all a result of Ergon’s “GreenLab” initiative.

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The barend plugs are natural-fiber reinforced plastic, too. Nice! Even better, the folks at Ergon have listened to the complaints about their packaging — what used to be an abomination of unrecycleable plastic display packaging is now made from recycled/recycleable cardboard. Bravo, Ergon…that GreenLab initiative is good stuff!

Time to replace my weatherbeaten old GP1s…they served me well, but they were way past their prime. 2+ years in the Florida elements ate them alive:

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Installation is a breeze. The GP1s slip right on and are held in place by a simple aluminum clamp torqued to a max of 5nm. They don’t slip or throttle once the clamps are snugged down, and no additional glue or lube is needed to get them on/keep them on.

The new grips feel the same — same size and shape as the old GP1s, and are supremely comfortable. This is purely a perception, but the cork material “feels” a bit warmer than the old grips. Perhaps that is because it has been cold and rainy in my new home of Dayton, Ohio. Got to say also that the new BioKork grips add a certain elegance to my otherwise mongrel of an Xtra:

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The GP1 grips come in both small and large sizes. I have giant hands and really long fingers, so the large size suits me better. Oh, did I mention how comfortable ergonomic grips are? If you play with the angle until they feel right, they are pretty amazing. Chalk up another win for Ergon!

To check out more of Ergon’s product offerings, take a swing over to their website. And, stay tuned for more product sneak peaks and reviews in the coming months.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

More Bikes On Road = Safer Conditions for Cyclists

A couple people forwarded me the following article from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (The “Strib” if you’re a local to the Portland East scene)…as many of you know, Minneapolis is one of the more bike-friendly cities in the U.S., despite its harsh winter weather. And I’m sure many of you have heard about cyclist safety in numbers — one of the reasons cited for the success and safety of bicyclists in cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen is that there are so many bicycle-users on the roads that motorists have become quite accustomed to sharing the roadway with them. Guess what? It’s panning out in MPLS, too:

The more people bike in Minneapolis, the safer they seem to be.

What’s new? Recently crunched city data show the reported cyclist-motorist accident rate dropping as the number of bike commuters grows. For 2008, the most recent year for which complete data were available, the crash rate was one-quarter that of 10 years earlier. Moreover, a trend line shows a steady decrease in the crash rate even as the number of commuting cyclists more than doubled.

Take a look at the full article by visiting the Star-Tribune. Thanks to the readers who forwarded this article!

Bike Paths are Unconstitutional?

I hadn’t seen this covered on many other bike blogs, so I thought I’d share the following with you to get your opinions on the issue:

In a recent interview with Streetsblog Capitol Hill, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) puts forth his opinion that federally-mandated bike paths are unconstitutional. Here’s a bit of the back and forth:

STREETSBLOG: I was just in an [Environment and Public Works] Committee hearing and there was some talk about the fact that some small amount of money in the [transportation] reauthorization historically gets used for things like bike trails. Some people think that’s waste; some people think biking is a mode of transportation. What do you think?

HUNTER: I don’t think biking should fall under the federal purview of what the Transportation Committee is there for. If a state wants to do it, or local municipality, they can do whatever they want to. But no, because then you have us mandating bike paths, which you don’t want either.

STREETSBLOG: But you’re OK with mandating highways?

HUNTER: Absolutely, yeah. Because that’s in the constitution. I don’t see riding a bike the same as driving a car or flying an airplane.

STREETSBLOG: How is it different?

HUNTER: I think it’s more of a recreational thing. That’s my opinion.

Read the full interview with Rep. Hunter by clicking here.

I’ve heard the argument that it should be a state-by-state decision to develop bicycle infrastructure and shouldn’t be a federal initiative, and I can understand that line of thought…but to me, Rep. Hunter’s comments just smack of being out of touch with the needs of the American people and dangerously adhering to a very narrow interpretation of the Constitution. Also in the interview, Rep. Duncan takes a “well, people drive to work and I’m not particularly interested in finding transportation alternatives for them” view. Troubling…

Your thoughts? Let’s hear ’em.

A Look Back at 2010

Well, whaddya know…only three weeks late with this one. What can we say — we’ve had a lot of stuff to report on!

2010 was a good year for the staff here at Bikecommuters.com. We got to test a lot of great products, we were able to attend a number of wonderful events and we met a few new faces in the bike-commuting community. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights, shall we?

We got to test a pair of e-bikes in 2010, namely the OHM Cycles Urban XU700 and the Urbana Current. As the e-assist market and its attendant technologies mature, we’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of bikes in the commuting realm. A lot of folks are up in the air about bikes that offer electric assistance, but regardless of how you feel about them, they’re getting folks out of cars and onto two wheels, and these bikes are here to stay.

RL got his hands on the Soma Double Cross DC frameset to test…and it’s fair to say that he LOVES this frame. The frameset won one of our coveted Editor’s Choice awards at Interbike 2010. RL has ridden this bike in every conceivable condition, and it asks for more abuse. Good stuff!

soma

Speaking of Interbike 2010, that was my first trip to the big bike throwdown held in the Nevada desert. “Overwhelming” is the word I’d use if I had only one word to describe the experience. In addition to going to Interbike, I experienced a couple of personal “firsts” with the trip: first visit to the West Coast, first time seeing (and touching) the Pacific Ocean, and the first time I got to meet RL and Moe in person. Yep, you heard that right — while we’ve talked on the phone and emailed each other many times a day, I had never actually met them face-to-face. Needless to say, it was ten times better than I even hoped! We had a blast together and I look forward to traveling with them (and the great staff at our sister site Mtnbikeriders.com — Art, Khoa, Priscilla, Joe and all the others) again in the future.

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In our recurring commuter profiles, we got to meet Evan, Miriam (Miriam’s going to do some guest articles for us…stay tuned for the hilarity!), Peter, Hilary, Gene, Andrea, and John. Nice to see more women in the mix — you’re woefully underrepresented on too many bike blogs — and happy to learn more tips and tricks from all of our profilees. Thanks again, everyone, for submitting yourselves to the harsh light of Internet celebrity.

We dropped our old Facebook page and started a new “fan page” in 2010…and the thing grew like gangbusters! There’s some exclusive content over there, some interesting discussions and the occasional contest. If you are an FB user and haven’t done so, swing on over to our page and say howdy.

We printed up a run of t-shirts…our first tentative steps towards our goal as a bike-apparel juggernaut…and shirts are still available to order. You too could look like this:

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On a final, personal note, I was chosen as one of Ergon USA’s 2011 Ergon Commuter Team — one of 12 North American riders selected out of an applicant pool in the thousands. Thanks Ergon! I’ll be testing and reviewing a number of their commute-friendly products right here and also on our Facebook page.

Thanks for sharing 2010 with us, and we look forward to meeting more of you in 2011 and having some interesting conversations here. As gas prices keep rising, there are going to be a lot more folks ditching their cars and hopping on bicycles, and we should all welcome them with open arms!