When electric bikes first started taking off, I remember many cycling enthusiasts scoffing:
"It's not really green."
That's just a few of the arguments that regularly peppered TreeHugger posts about this new technology. I was never really convinced by the naysayers. Sure, if you go purely by carbon footprint or environmental impact, an old-fashioned bike will always be "greener" than an e-bike. But green is only green if it can gain mass adoption—and e-bikes have the potential to radically increase the number of people biking, and reduce the number of people driving their cars.
In the latest episode of Fully Charged—a show usually dedicated to Teslas, Nissan Leafs and high-powered electric airplanes—Robert Llewellyn goes for a ride around London on a number of popular electric bicycles, courtesy of the London e-bike specialists who are also called Fully Charged.
Besides an insight into some of the under appreciated benefits of e-bikes (an ability to quickly get up to speed in traffic, an elimination of the need to be in uncomfortable aerodynamic positions), what's most fun about this is how clearly exhilarating it is for Robert to ride some of these bikes. It's also fun to see how the intersection of electric assist bikes and London's vastly improved bicycling infrastructure could really have the potential to transform the cycling experience, inviting the older, the less physically fit, the nervous and yes—even the lazy—to get out of their cars and onto the saddle.
And the best part? Fewer cars and better bike infrastructure should benefit the cycling purists too. But don't tell Lloyd's angry commenters: Some of these dudes were not wearing a helmet...