Archives for the month of: November, 2011

After riding my electric bike the first time, I remember the wind, and I remember the rattle from a not yet properly tightened battery holder on the cobble stone alley. And I remember my excitement. Mostly I remember riding home. Not just that particular time, but during the summer, quite a bit. And the adventures were unique as rain, and always fun. Even the time the brake was sluggish and and I ended up behind a couple SUVs on Fred Flinstone brakes on Damen.

It’s summer in the City and I get to ride my bike through the early morning fog and stop and watch the sunrise, pulling off onto the rocks across the grass. The races against time to make it to work, Ravenswood and the Lake Shore Bike Path. The ride home from work on my regular bike without breaking a sweat.
I sold my car within a month.

There were 130 million bikes that rolled off assembly lines worldwide in 2007, more than double the 52 million autos produced that year. In 1970 there were 20 million bikes manufactured. Just a few more than the cars and trucks put out that year. These markets had closely tracked each other the 20 year previous during the boom of the automobile.

Today, with the dawn of vehicle electrification, both the automobile and the bicycle are going through incredible changes. In 2010 there were 33 million electric bikes produced, 29 of them made in China, where 90% of e-bike sales occur as well. In 1990, after 20 years of steady increase, the bike market plateaued at a hundred million bikes made that year. For the next 10 years, bike manufacturing slowly declined to 80 million before the introduction of the electric bicycle. Today electric bikes make up 1/4 of all bikes sold worldwide. Below is a graph of automobiles vs. bike production since 1950, which looks a lot like this oil production graph since 1930. Interesting stuff.