Some people maintain that a bicycle with electric drive is something for grandmas and grandpas. I was one of them! To be quite honest, for a long time I had rejected this strange movement as a phenomenon of a time which is characterized by the fact that everyone lives out his little, personal extremism. In private I laughed a little about Tom, Dick and Harry cycling on strange vehicles, who had taken a little weight around the pedals and had little black boxes under the pannier rack. The sense of all that was to make it look like sport, which it was not in fact.
That’s how you think with an about 15-year old Peugeot-bicycle at home and when you belong to a species that has habits on which you can set the clock. And I was used to cycle without motor. That was always quite ok. Why should I need one at all?
Well, sometimes there are sudden and unexpected, small changes which creep into your life. There comes the moment where the intensity of the aching muscles no longer comply with the cycled route and inside there is your weaker self which says "no" to sitting spontaneously on your Ötzi bike, as your muscles will burn afterwards and the colleagues in the office will make jokes about John Wayne who walked like you after a longer ride. And therefore, you find yourself the other day in a bicycle shop and you walk out like "Mike with the electric bike".
This is, how many people feel, or the like, says Dirk Zedler of the same-named Ludwigsburg institute for bicycle technology and safety. "Last year about 3.1 million cars were newly registered, but 3.8 million bicycles were sold. 410,000 of them had an electric motor", says the bicycle expert who is nationwide in demand. "The market will continue to grow, due to ever more attractive models for a wider range of uses which will get the pedelec out of the grannie and grandpa niche for good." This year, as well, the sector expects the sale of a good 400,000 new e-bikes.
These and other aspects explain the enormously growing popularity of the electric bike with which a new cycling public is reached that has been rather reserved to date. Experts like Dirk Zedler see additional growth potential in the market. "Bicycles as practical everyday vehicle are getting more and more popular, especially e-bikes," he says. There are 71 millions of bicycles, but only 44 millions of cars in Germany. All in all 12,156 electric and 85,575 hybrid-cars were registered on January 1, 2014 in the Federal Republic of Germany. "This is opposed by the existence of practical and eco-friendly pedelecs of about 1.6 millions", states Zedler who over and over tests new models in his high-tech forge. For some time now industry has succeeded in freeing the electric bike from the stigma of a pure riding assistance and to turn it into a lifestyle product. Whereas the entire frames of the precursors of today’s bikes rattled due to the heavy battery, the design of today’s bikes is far more sophisticated.
Author: Michael Ohnewald
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