Electric Folding Bike: Whatever Could That Be?
Sounds weird, right? Lately, though, the electric folding bike has become a common sight in densely-populated urban areas, such as New York or Boston. Exactly what are electric folding bikes and why would I want to know about them? Therein, my friends, lies an interesting tale.
In big cities getting from one place to another is a major hassle. In New York, for instance, there’s a good reason most residents don’t have cars or rarely use the cars they do have. Driving in New York is not as cheap and not nearly as efficient as taking the subway or the bus. Some people, though live many blocks away from the nearest subway entrance or the nearest efficient subway connection to wherever they are going.
The solution to this problem? Why, the electric folding bike, of course, providing ultra efficient urban travel. When paired with public transit, the folding bikes cannot be beat. Commuters ride their bikes to the subway station or bus stop, then quickly, quietly fold the bikes, taking them easily onto the vehicle. Then when they get off, the bikes quickly unfold and off to work.
Commuters could ride regular bicycles. Regular bicycles would certainly get the job done, but aren’t they usually rather clumsy and heavy? Wouldn’t that make it hard to muscle them into buses or down those crowded subway stairs? What if the commute on the bike is longish or the day is hot or even if there are hills? What if you are in San Francisco? Arriving at work or an appointment disheveled and sweaty might fly on Google’s campus, but in most traditional places of business it would elicit looks. Sweaty is always inappropriate at work.
Electric folding bikes not only add power to the pedal so the sweat doesn’t run quite so freely, but most are made of aluminum and are comparatively light weight. Additionally, they can reach speeds up to 20 miles an hour and come in a variety of styles. Most are shorter and more compact than regular bikes.;usually the tires are smaller. Electric folding bikes even come as folding mountain bikes for sporty commuters.
These bikes do have batteries, NiMH or lithium ion, which have to be charged. The average bike will run for at least three hours on a full charge. While at work or anywhere with electric plugs, the battery can be topped off. The range is about 20 to 30 miles, just perfect for a commuter. Some bikes also have integrated rear racks so it’s even possible to get the grocery shopping done on a bike.
The prices for these bikes cover a wide range, depending on the weight, the size of the motor and the type of battery. On the lower end, maybe $300 would purchase one of these bikes, ranging all the way to about $2500.
The very best thing about these bikes is how environmentally friendly they are. Think what a relief to the atmosphere it would be if more of us took to bikes, electric folding or otherwise, and left the cars in the garage. Thirty miles is a pretty wide swath for errand running. Why pollute the air when you can ride an electric folding bike?