June 3rd is a day to celebrate a better way of movement. Both sustainable and enjoyable, ebikes have only scratched the surface of their untapped potential. In honor of World Bicycle day, we’re highlighting the creativity of our industry. Much more than a solution from A to B, and now equipped with a motor, bikes everywhere are offering a lot more than just transportation. Let’s take a look at the groundbreaking work that’s happening in every corner of the world.
Copenhagen is well aware of the environmental and physical advantages of cycling. Children are taught to pedal before kindergarten and countless measures have been taken to expand the city's riding population. Que the “Cycle SuperHighway,” an amenity packed, direct route to the town of Albertslund. Introduced to Denmark in 2012, the route offers a safe, traffic-free option that is enjoyed by half of Copenhagen’s residents. The goal is 100 percent and city planners are hopeful this highway can be stretched even wider. “We want people to perceive these routes as a serious alternative,” shared city official Mr. Hansen. “...Like taking the bus, car or train.” A nearly instantaneous success, it’s been no surprise seeing this idea being replicated across Europe and the UK.
London, the capital of England, has been looking for a solution to congestion for decades. Home to nearly 9 million residents and half as many cars, delays come with the territory. The tube is congested, town cars are expensive and if you bring your own car, you’re taxed daily. In 2000, Tom Lynch, a former BMX champion, had an idea. In conjunction with London Ambulance Service, the cycle team was launched, trained and equipped with customized bikes. Fit with sirens, blue lights and stocked with life-saving medical supplies, dozens of paramedics took off to begin treating patients based in the city center. “Staff on bikes can get through narrow streets, pedestrian areas and shopping centres very easily. They are able to reach patients quickly and start to give life-saving treatment while an ambulance is on the way.” 20 years later, cycle responders are responding to approximately 16,000 calls a year with an average response time of six minutes.
The hardware of a bicycle is very adaptable. It’s a major selling point for many companies and it’s enabled people everywhere to be creative with their usage. In South East Asia, bicycles are a way of carting furniture, food, animals and even cars. Everywhere around the world, bicycles are used for all their worth, and in the small Central American country of Guatemala, bicycles have been converted into human-powered machines that aid with harvesting food and water. Bici-Tec was founded by Carlos Marroquín, a former bus driver in San Andrés Itzapa. “Bikes Not Bombs” is the local charity's slogan and they utilize, ”bicycle technology that contributes toward the sustainability, self-reliance and economic development of rural communities in Guatemala.” Not just for show or miles anymore. Bikes are offering solutions to all areas of the world and in the Congo, they are even saving the gorillas.
In 2010, children in remote schools started learning about endangered gorillas by using a pedal-powered cinema in the Congo. The project, highly interactive and successful, is a collaboration between the Virunga National Park and The Great Apes Film Initiative (GAFI). “In the three week that the project has been running, 11,600 school children,184 teachers, 110 soldiers and 46 park rangers, all living around the Ugandan gorilla habitats, have seen the films.” The project is meant to raise awareness for the critically endangered mountain gorillas and it’s brought electricity to the residents of Virunga’s surrounding villages. Still going strong, the pedal-powered cinema is supporting the remote communities' education and protecting the region's biodiversity (all while inviting kids to pedal along).
Ebikes take the power of bicycles up a notch. Moving forward, in our now urgent fight against climate change, they will be a levor of change and a reliable source of sustainable travel. On World Bike day, and as many days as you can, make the choice to move better. No need to kick a habit that supports your mind, body and a cleaner world.