Listening to Kraftwerk's Electrocardiogram and Writing about the Ultra Motor A2B Electric Bicycle


4 weeks ago I embarked on a long term test of the 2012 A2B Metro electric bike and the more I ride it, the more I enjoy it.

 This is a video and song by Kraftwerk entitled Electro Kardiogramm. 

It's a fitting sound track to the sounds, the rhythm, thumps and the bumps and the exhilaration that a rider feels while riding the Ultra Motor A2B Metro, whether for pleasure with no direction, or whether to work for commuting. 

There is a rhythm to riding a bicycle and of course there is a pulse to the feel of an electric motor, not to mention the pulse of your own heart and your own breath. 

This is a photo I took today of an A2B parked in front of a giant heart at the Stanford Medical Center near our store.

Since we began selling bicycles, a new type of customer is attracted to our store. Being so close to the medical center, many customers stop in on their way home from appointments with their doctor. People interested in getting healthy, getting beyond whatever it is that brought them to a doctor and changing their lifestyle or getting back to a lifestyle that they left a while ago. 

This photo, with the bike in front of the giant heart, spoke volumes.

Electric Bikes are the Future.

 Electric bikes are the future. I think they are the most practical form of short distance personal transportation we can own. The future will bring more convenient electronics, coupled with more on board amenities such as a smart phone interface, solar panels, storage and cargo capacity. Lighter weight bikes, perhaps motors with power boosters to get up steep hills easier. Bikes with self-locking mechanisms. Transformer bikes that fold out into a chair or a table where one could work remotely at a park or something.

It's transportation intelligence. 

A neighbor is considering buying an electric bicycle for his son who will be starting high school next year. Brilliant! This is the future. Where's the sense of High Schoolers roaming around in a car just to pretend to be adults?

The high school near our store has a traffic jam every morning where no one walks or rides a bicycle to school anymore. These aren't parents dropping kids off, these are kids in cars driving to school where the school is expected to devote a certain amount of public real estate to parking their huge cars on the grounds and dealing with that. High School students age 16 and 17 line-up for a quarter mile at the traffic light just to turn left into a parking lot to go to school. Imagine, a traffic jam of cars just to get to High School!? This is freedom?

Commute in peace. 

On the A2B electric bike, you commute listening to the music of the world, not a cranky radio talk show host, or some depressing news or over played song. There's time for that. Out in the world you hear the birds, the cars, the sounds of the city, people talking, a whistle blowing from a crosswalk. You have more time to see and survey your neighborhood and the world you live in. 

If you want, you can take a detour and ride through a park. Stop, rest for a minute or two and then be on your way again. 

At the end of your day, plug in your bike and close the garage. You're "filling up" while you're having dinner, instead of standing out in the cold smelling fumes watching traffic or listening to advertisements at the pump. 

You're active too. You're pedaling, not reclining in a bucket seat. 

There's a distinct advantage to that. You're not being towed around town by a combustion engine, as "explosion motor" as they used to call it. 

You're engaged with the motor and you're part of it. This motor purrs. It sounds clean. Pure. It expels nothing and leaves no trace, no exhaust trail. You're not spewing poisonous gas into your neighbors lungs. 

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  • joe witherspoon