Oslo Offers Citizens $1,200 to Buy an E-Bike

Oslo is so keen to get people on bicycles that starting Wednesday it will offer residents a free handout of up to $1,200 to buy electric cargo bikes. Citizens won’t need to be on a low income to apply for the funds, or even to promise to cut down on driving to qualify.

The grant, which goes toward buying a bike with a small electric motor that allows it to carry heavier loads in a basket or trailer, may sound too good to be true, but it isn’t a total free-for-all. The city will pay up to 25 percent of the bike’s cost, capping the grant at 10,000 kroner. Electric cargo bikes currently cost between 20,000 and 50,000 kroner ($2,400 to $6,000), meaning that buyers will still have to rustle up between $1,800 and $4,800 from their own funds. That’s a lot of free municipal money for a pretty niche mode of transport.

So why is Norway’s capital putting its money behind cargo bikes? Because Oslo needs to push for a further shift away from cars if its air is going to be breathable. Like many European cities, Oslo’s air quality has been pretty poor so far this winter, leading the city to put a temporary driving ban on diesel-fuelled vehicles in order to help clear the atmosphere.

In a bid to push a general modal shift away from cars, the country is investing a phenomenal $1 billion in new bike infrastructure, so the paths that Oslo’s future cargo bikes use should ultimately be of high quality. But there are still some hurdles. Oslo, for example, is considerably hillier than, say, Amsterdam or Copenhagen, and it can experience some harsh weather conditions. For that reason electric cargo bikes are a potentially greater part of the solution here. Not only do they give riders a push up hills, they also make bikes a feasible option for new purposes like weekly grocery shopping. They can even be used for the school commute: In Copenhagen, it’s already common to see parents pedaling several small children to school in a cart attached to their bike.

Five million kroner ($600,000) is earmarked for the project—3 million for private individuals and 2 million for businesses and organizations—meaning the program can only bring 500 to 1,000 electric cargo bikes onto Oslo’s streets. That’s not going to transform the way people get around overnight, but it’s not supposed to on its own. The intention is to popularize a currently underexposed form of transit, which more people may adopt if they see it in action and register its advantages.

It’s a concept Oslo’s city council seems fond of. It created a similar scheme last winter that offered up to 5,000 kroner ($600) to encourage people to buy standard e-bikes, capping the amount offered at a slightly more modest 20 percent of the purchase price. The council seems to have been happy enough with the results to extend the scheme into new territory.


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Paris mayor unveils new plans to permanently pedestrianise city centre

The mayor of Paris has unveiled new plans to further restrict traffic in the city in a bid to fight pollution.

Anne Hildalgo announced the move, which aims to halve the number of private cars on the road, months after 3.3km of road along the Seine were closed due to a dangerous spike in pollution which caused a cloud of smog to settle over the city. 


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Cargo bike keeps the balance for Bike Share Toronto

As Eric Gallo-Miscevich cycles down the Martin Goodman Trail on Queens Quay, it takes a moment for onlookers to understand what they’re seeing.

At first glance it looks like the 19-year-old is riding three bikes at once – two of them seem to hover off the ground in front of him, their wheels not moving, while Gallo-Miscevich pedals away. But in fact, he’s the operator of Bike Share Toronto’s brand new bike-hauling cargo bike.

Gallo-Miscevich admits the machine attracts some odd glances. “Some people look like they’re seeing an alien,” he says.

While his Seussian contraption may look odd, it’s a practical solution to a persistent problem for Bike Share Toronto. Because most users head in the same direction at the same time of day (towards downtown in the morning, away from the core in the afternoon) some bike stations end up with too many bikes and others with too few.

It’s Gallo-Miscevich’s job to “balance” the 1,000-bike fleet by shuttling bicycles from overcrowded stations to empty ones, using only the power of his pedals. He can fit two Bike Share bicycles onto the cargo bike, each one weighing 45 pounds. Moving them around is grueling work, especially during this week’s heat wave, but Gallo-Miscevich is an avid cyclist and loves the job.

“It’s very fun,” he grins. A global development student at Queen’s University for most of the year, he says he took the summer gig at Bike Share because he wanted something “out of the ordinary.” The best part of the work is getting paid to ride.

On an average day, Gallo-Miscevich makes between 30 to 40 trips between stations. To cope with the heat he carries a two-litre sack of water strapped to his back, which he can drink from through a tube while he rides. To keep himself fueled, he tries to eat plenty of pasta.

The cargo bike idea was borrowed from New York City’s Citi Bike program, which pioneered their use to balance its fleet. Before Bike Share introduced its own last week, the program was dependent on three cube vans to redistribute its bikes. The trucks are still being used, but during rush hour they can get stuck in gridlock. By using bike lanes, Gallo-Miscevich can often do the job quicker.

The new vehicle is already a success. According to Scott Hancock, general manager of the company that operates Bike Share, “the cargo bike has significantly increased our service abilities” and the system’s balance has improved even though ridership is up 34 per cent over this time last year. He hopes to add more cargo bikes to the operation.

The introduction of the cargo vehicle hasn’t been completely smooth, however. Although Gallo-Miscevich is an experienced cyclist, it took him some time to get the hang of the heavy-duty ride, which was custom made for Bike Share by a local cargo bicycle expert. “A few times it almost flipped over on me,” Gallo-Miscevich says. He’s since learned to take it easy on the turns.

Despite spending all day wheeling around the city, Gallo-Miscevich still likes to bike in his free time, at least whenever he’s not exhausted. His arduous day job has given him a whole new appreciation for his 10-speed bicycle. “After I get off this bike, I feel I can fly on my bike,” he says.

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The Bringley bike is car alternative for busy urban environments

The idea for Bringley came from company owner Lawrence Brand’s own experiences of living in a small London apartment with no outside bicycle storage, but needing a cargo bike to haul his things around. Lawrence explained: “I needed the carrying capacity that a cargo bike can bring, but didn’t have any outside storage space for bikes at my apartment. Bringley emerged from that need as a compact cargo bike that I could fit into a normal domestic lift, then keep in my apartment’s corridor.”


After building a first prototype in 2014, the Porterlight founder took off on a three month 5,000km journey from Romania to Kazakhstan. The test ride took the Londoner through eight countries, three time zones, and saw the cargo bike crossing mountain ranges, deserts, and bumping along increasingly poorly paved roads. After successfully reaching eastern Kazakhstan, Brand flew back to London to revise the design and found the Porterlight Bicycles company.



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Support Local Businesses—And Then Get Same-Day Delivery By Bike

If you buy toilet paper online—or shoes or shampoo or groceries—it’s probably partly because of lack of time to shop in person. That convenience comes with a few obvious challenges, like undercutting local businesses and adding to the massive carbon footprint of delivery. So a German startup is testing a new model: An online shop that only features local stores, and offers same-day delivery by cargo bike.


“It all started a year ago, when we saw the piles of packages that employees had ordered online and that they had delivered to the agency,” says Nanna Beyer, who led the project for the local design firm Scholz & Volkmer. “It’s all very convenient. But if you look behind that there are some things going wrong.”


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How the bicycle can drive green development on planet Earth

There is great opportunity coming later this year. In September 2015, Richmond, Virginia will become the first American city since 1986 to host the World Road Championships. With 450,000 on-site spectators and 300 million TV viewers expected over the nine days of racing, Richmond 2015 would be a fantastic global platform to promote everyday cycling as a healthy choice for individuals and communities that seek to reduce pollution and live in cleaner and greener surroundings. Along with hosting the World Championships, the city of Richmond is preparing to overhaul its streets to make them more suitable for a wider range of people who want to use bikes for everyday travel. Their aim is to promote one in ten trips to be by bike by the year 2025; up from the current ratio of one in fifty trips.

Cycling is more than just a sporting event. It is an accessible form of transportation and leisure that is versatile across many terrains and most importantly safe and clean for the planet. Some 2 billion people already use bikes throughout the world. Regardless of socioeconomic or cultural background, as well as gender, age, or physical ability, the bicycle is a true champion for all.


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Motor-less City? Bankrupt Detroit’s booming bike industry


Before there was the Model T, there was the Quadricycle. Henry Ford fashioned his original automobile from four bicycle wheels and a chain at the height of Detroit’s 19th-century bike (yes, bike) manufacturing boom. If Detroit rose and fell on for four wheels, its past—and potentially its future—was built on just two. As the city wends its way through bankruptcy court this fall and its core industry lurches back to solvency, the Motor City is revving up to become a manufacturing hub again, this time for a vehicle that has no motor at all: the bicycle.



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Most $800 bicycles tout features such as a carbon fork and high-end components. At Heritage Bicycles, the $800 base-model, single-speed bike doesn’t even come with handbrakes—yet they are rolling out the door so fast that the almost three-year-old bike-and-coffee shop in Lakeview will generate more than $1 million in sales this year.

When Salvatore, 33, opened Heritage in early 2012, coffee generated 70 percent of revenue. That figure has dropped to 35 percent, but the coffee shop still draws year-round traffic and is so popular that he is opening three coffee-only outposts, one in Fulton Market and two in Uptown—the first of which opens this month.

Salvatore lives above his store with his wife, Melissa, a photographer, and their son. Melissa Salvatore runs her photography studio out of Heritage Littles, a kid-themed version of Heritage a few blocks south of the bike shop.

The co-entrepreneurial ventures represent a family reinvention: Michael Salvatore spent part of his 20s as an options trader in Chicago before leaving in 2009 to build bikes for Bowery Lane Bicycles in New York. The family moved back to Chicago in 2011 to start Heritage, which has 23 employees.

Salvatore, who has a 2003 bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Arizona, knows more than what excites his own generation. He anticipated that millennial shopping habits would go mainstream and that, as he puts its, “more people would begin to want something authentic, something made locally, and appreciate the story of a mom-and-pop shop.”


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9 Things Drivers Need to Stop Saying in the Bikes vs. Cars Debate

Roads are designed for cars?

So I looked into it and, as it turns out, roads have been around for many thousands of years. And for much of that time, they’ve carried a wide variety of things: feet, carts, horses, wagons, streetcars, buses, bikes, and automobiles. It’s only in the last six or seven decades that we’ve decided cars should get priority.

The roads don’t control us, we control them. We can design them to carry whatever types of traffic we feel are useful, and provide for safe and convenient passage of those different modes. But after World War II, many forces in the US—suburban planning, interstate highway development, the movement of the middle-class out of cities—conspired to create a motorist-dominated streetscape.


Don't Kill The Messenger | Bryan Derballa

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The Danes Wheel Out Their Bikes as Cars are Eliminated

In the past two years, the share of Copenhageners who ride their bike to work or school has risen from an already high 36% to 41%. But, as far the city planners are concerned, even that’s not enough. “Pretty much everyone here rides a bike: young, old, both sexes, all levels of education,” reports Andreas Røhl, head of the city’s mobility department. “One of our challenges is, with so many people biking, where can we increase the number? Biking shouldn’t be a sacrifice.”



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