In the past decade or so, bicycles have taken western cities by storm. London has introduced both bike-sharing and bike lanes, and Paris even has a bike-sharing programme for children. In Copenhagen, ever the bicycle champion, 41% of rides to work and education now take place on bicycle seats. But what if you’re not super fit, don’t want to arrive at work sweaty, or if you simply live far from your job? A new hybrid “e-bike” promises to fix that dilemma.
To be precise, the Copenhagen Wheel is not truly an e-bike at all. It’s a wheel that can be attached to a regular bike. That wheel, equipped with a motor, batteries, sensors and wireless connectivity, transforms the bike into a smart bike that multiplies pedal power and even measures the rider’s heart rate and monitors potholes. “The experience is very natural,” claims Assaf Biderman, associate director of MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, which developed the Copenhagen Wheel, and CEO of Superpedestrian, the startup that makes the wheel. “You can essentially ride as far as you like.”