E-biking in the Swis Alps

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In today’s NY Times, a story about e-biking in the Swiss Alps. You can rent the bikes and easily swap batteries along the way.

Makes me think that e-bikes might be a good mix in a Pittsburgh bike share program…as an entry level way to conquer hills, and perhaps encourage more 2-way rentals.



I don’t know. I saw someone on bike zip down the sidewalk and around a 90 degree corner at maybe 10, maybe 12 mph.

I thought at first it was an idiot conserving momentum by being unsafe on the sidewalk, but when they neither pedaled nor lost speed, I realized it was probably an ebike.

I’m not sure I like the idea of novices on bikes with motors.

Of course, there could be a mechanism that would only let you use the electric assist at speeds under 5 or 6 mph. Tht would be OK for the hills. (Boring. But safe.) It would keep people from being a motorized threat, and make them pedal a bit.

Most of use go up most hills faster than that, of course. But I’m not going up 18th Street or Negley averaging any faster than 6 mph. Ever.

I’m guessing 1-way trips would be a problem, though.

I went for a walk in Alexandria, VA with my father recently. They have the Captial Bikeshare program.


At the highest point of our walk, we saw two people ride away with the last two bikes from the Rhodes & 16th St

station. Half an hour later, and maybe a hundred feet lower, we passed the Rosslyn Metro station, which had more than a dozen bikes.

They dont’ charge for the first 30 minutes, so cruising down to the meter is free (both in $$ and in effort, it being down hill).

That implies a bike-moving dispatch and transportation system, along with the economies of scale for that.

The mild rises in Alexandria are nothing like the hills here.

An side on Captial bike share: the bikes they use look pretty good for some things. OTOH the racks are solidly made, but designed to hold a briefcase, but very little larger. No groceries on those bikes!

It appears someone deliberately made this choice, but I’m not sure why.

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