Antony addresses the questions of whether e-bikes are green technology, or an environmental red herring.
A few weeks back I found myself writing a response to an article in the Times newspaper. Someone there had caught wind of the fact that you can now buy a mountain bike with an integrated electric motor, and decided that this was going to bring about the destruction of the British countryside. I said it was a very silly article, and the responses in internet-land were pretty much in universal agreement. However there were also some commenters out there who voiced concerns over the growth of e-bikes on environmental grounds. Taking a low-impact activity like cycling, and adding batteries, motors and electronics into the mix – that can’t be good for the planet, surely?
Before we go any further, a bit of a disclaimer is required. There’s an assumption that if you work in the cycling media, you immediately lose your objectivity, as you have to stay matey with the bike industry and dutifully promote whatever they’ve decided to inflict on the unsuspecting public this year. This is not the case here. I haven’t had my palm crossed with free T-shirts or press trips. I don’t own an e-bike. And I’ve never been given one to test (as an occasional freelance contributor to this website, I’m way too far down the pecking order for that).
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