Transportation, like any other sector, has recorded tremendous innovations over the years. From wooden wheels first invented in Iraq to bicycles, cars, trains, and others, the future is only yet to be born. But who could have thought that the future of urban transportation would lie on an over 100-year old invention with two wheels and handlebars, also called a "bike"?
Well, why not? Bicycles are light, easy to park, affordable, and, to crown it all, more environmentally friendly as it emits very little to no harmful gasses. Following all the challenges around transportation with vehicles, the Government has been actively working on how to drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the use of cars and other pollution-causing forms of transportation. Bicycles come in a variety of designs all with intended purpose. Road bikes for speed, hybrid bikes for comfort and fitness, and mountain bikes for multi-surface capability are just three examples of different style bikes to serve different transportation needs.
How bad is the current environmental impact of automobiles on the planet and what does the future look like? Now let’s put that into perspective. One study by Deloitte reveals that cities will experience a population increase of about 2.5 billion people by the year 2050. If that is the case, imagine how many vehicles will be riding through cities; imagine the rate at which fossil fuels will get burnt, destroying our eco-system all the more.
But with the increasing use of bikes, especially electric bikes, it’s safe to say such global destruction can be prevented.
The idea of transporting with bikes first began in the 60s and was pretty much an intelligent one. However, the concept suffered various challenges amongst which is the inability to monitor or track the bikes. And due to the level of technology at the time, there was only very little help it could provide.
Now, with significant advancements in science and technology, virtually all sectors of human endeavor have been influenced — including transportation. Modern technology makes the bike-sharing model a “dream come true.” Here’s how it works. You simply check out any bike at a docking station, use it for a few hours and finally return it to any other docking station in your destination.
With the use of smartphone technology, features like Bluetooth, GPS, and RFID all come handy in the bike-sharing model, thus making it easier for commuters to navigate the roads with bikes. Statistically, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of Americans who use bikes between 2010 and 2016. In 2010, about 320,000 people ride on the streets of America while in 2016, the numbers rose to 28 million. Following suite bicycle production has skyrocketed over the past half a century as seen in the chart above.
Another report shows that on many British streets, electric bikes are far more effective than cars and have been adopted for more productivity. Electric bikes use battery powered motors to provide throttle controlled or pedal-assisted acceleration.
These pieces of evidence only reveal that the world is gradually accepting what used to sit in their garage for days, weeks and possibly months as their next savior for urban transportation.
California’s excellent classification system has been adopted by many states. (Image provided by ElectricBike.com)
This shows how California classifies different e-bikes. (Image provided by ElectricBike.com)
No matter what type of riding you'd like to do, there's a electric bike for you. A little boost can go a long way. E-bikes are smart, easy, and put the fun back into riding. Enjoy quick, responsive riding with predictable, easy to control power. Don't be surprised if you find yourself riding your bike and leaving the car in the garage.
Interestingly, there have been improvements in the bike-sharing system, and users can now feel more relieved with the introduction of dockless bikes. Riders will simply park and lock the bike once they are done and just walk away. With the help of GPS, the next rider can locate bikes closest to them and proceed to pedal all the way to their destination. Since the introduction of dockless bikes, bike-share companies have recorded a significant increase in their revenue and tremendous success with their project as the number of people who adopted the system shoots up. This is largely due to the kind of problem the dockless system solves and how much extra time it saves commuters. Riders no longer have to travel down to a docking station to get bikes.
Another interesting breakthrough in bike-sharing is the introduction of electric bikes. Since batteries are now cheaper and lighter, this takes the whole game to another level. You can arrive at your destination without having to worry about being drenched in sweat or overly tired. Also, pedaling up and down hills can be a huge turn off for many riders who simply aren’t in for the stress. Although, some people may find health benefits from the extra effort in pedaling as it keeps them fit, serves as an early morning energy booster, enables a better flow of blood throughout the body, and helps to burn excessive fats in the body. No matter the discipline from indoor spin classes to mountain biking, cycling has been studied in intense detail, and there is a lot of research to show this kind of exercise contributes to overall wellness in a way that many other forms of exercise simply don’t.
This is not to mention that bike-sharing doesn’t come with its challenges — it does. And one of such is its inability to work outside urban areas. Although more efforts are made by the day to solve this problem, however, it’s still a challenge at the moment. This challenge implies that people who live in very remote areas outside the city might not enjoy the bike-sharing service as much, and if they do, it would only be within the “walls” of the city.
Secondly, there are chances that bikes will flood the city, causing hindrance on roads, streets and sidewalks; just like in China. One quick and effective way this problem has been managed so far is by limiting the number of bikes in the city.
Irrespective of the challenges, many cities across the globe are beginning to see the potentials of a bike-sharing community and are already keying into the space. After all, there isn’t any other method that doesn’t come with even more difficult problems.
When viewed from the perspective of traffic jams, no one would doubt the efficiency of bikes. With more cars on our streets and fewer spaces to accommodate them, the traffic jams in certain areas only keep increasing. Private and Government bodies have now turned to bikes to keep their workers timely and their operations running.
In Copenhagen, capital of Denmark, more than half of the commuters navigate to work every day on a two-wheel-vehicle, covering about 200 miles of lanes dedicated to bikes. Similarly, in Hamburg, Germany, actionable steps have been taken to encourage and prioritize travelling on bike and foot. This activity indirectly promotes an exercise-rich life, reduces obesity rate and results in a healthier society.
Cycling, being a physical exercise that requires concentration, determination, risk-taking, and persistence, will also greatly help instill positive values in workers and society at large. So, given the health benefits of bike riding in addition to its environmental benefits, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see people advocating for bikes as the future of humanity.
Bikes are the new big thing in urban transportation and forward-thinking cities that already recognize that are working progressively to have more bike dedicated roads and ensure the safety of riders.
Thanks for reading our article on Bikes over Cars: The Future of Transportation. See how often you can opt for two wheels instead of four this year! If you have any questions or want gear recommendations chat with us online at BicycleWarehouse.com and we'll get you rolling!
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