Today was national Bike or Walk to Work Day. Perhaps in acknowledgement, the Guardian flags a funny ethical “ecoconumdrum”: Electrified bikes—yea or nay?
As a huge bike enthusiast, I am fully in favor of the technology, which puts tiny motors on regular bicycles such that they can either be pedaled or engined around town. Purists (c’mon!) are arguing that the 24-speed electrified models defeat the purpose of clean transport by having carbon-spewing engines attached. Proponents counter that the showers taken by panting, sweaty commuters offset any environmental benefits of analog bikes.
That's penny-ante stuff, however. Any development that takes cars off the road is good--even if it marginally thins the ranks of Lance Armstrongs among us. And more bike lanes and racks would make current trailheads very happy. The “Powabykes” are also not as wacky and alienating as the once-revolutionary Segway (which, these days, is more novelty than necessity), and offer relief to those who head up city hills. Logistical problems like parking and licensing will need to be hashed out, and the price ain’t pretty--845 British pounds, which might as well be a million dollars. But promoting a world of dew-free, clean-commuting hordes is a moral argument I’m willing to back.