🚳 Bike Shortages Just Getting Started

Plus, a Hong Kong parking spot sells for $1.3m, U.S. roads grow more dangerous during lockdown, and Tier banks $60m from Goldman Sachs.

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The Impermanence of Modes

Our own Horace Dediu is up with a new post about the impermanence of modes and why micromobility is primed to meet the developing world’s hunger for motorization.

Excerpt below:

Today less than 20% of the world’s population has access to personal transportation, similar to the share of the world’s access to the internet in 2007 or cellular phones in 2002. Everyone deserves access to information and mobility, and we believe everyone will obtain it. If you don’t agree, I would invite you to suggest how to stop 2 billion people from obtaining what the first billion got. We did not stop China, and we will not stop India or Africa, from motorizing.

As we look to the next 15 years, we believe 60% of the world’s urban population will obtain personal transportation options. This means a fleet of at least 3.5 billion personal vehicles.

This goal must be achieved while reducing the emissions from personal transport by 20% and later by 50%, consistent with targets set for the sector. This target isn’t just wishful thinking. It is set in law.

Read More

Helbiz has launched City Guide, a new in-app feature designed to help users explore a city and discover its wonders through dedicated audioguides. Helbiz users can purchase a daily or weekly pass that guarantees unlimited access to all multilingual audioguides in the city.

Learn more


  • 38,680 people died last year on U.S. roads. Shockingly, the number of fatalities actually increased 7.2% from 2019, despite the fact that vehicle miles traveled dropped 13%. This data shows that, no matter if people WFH more in the future, driving less doesn’t stop vehicular mayhem. If we want to be able to go out of the house and use our streets again without fear when this is all over, the only answer is to permanently restrict how and where cars can be used, while giving people better access to safe transportation alternatives, including mass transit and micromobility. That’s it.

  • Part of the reason our roads are less safe today is that they are filled with megacars, i.e. SUVs, large vans, and light trucks. These multi-ton behemoths account for almost 76% of new car sales and are shown to be more likely to kill in a collision than smaller vehicles.

  • Top suppliers warn that the global bicycle drought could stretch well into 2022. (Related read: how “Just in Time” manufacturing, the global practice of delivering parts to factories no sooner than they are needed, led to acute shortages of many goods.)

  • Low on inventory, many bike retailers are jacking up prices, stoking inflation fears. “Bicycle sales are up 77% in the year through March to $6.7 billion, according to research firm NPD Group, while the average amount paid for a bike rose 27%.”

  • While overloaded delivery chains constrain the supply of bikes, weak infrastructure continues to inhibit demand. A new Vanmoof/YouGov survey of residents of five major cities—Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris—finds the main reason people don’t cycle is the perceived lack of safety.

  • A single parking spot in Hong Kong sold for a record $1.3m.

  • Thankfully, some cities are rethinking parking garages for a world with fewer cars.

  • Many Americans moved during the pandemic. Yet contrary to the conventional wisdom, new migration data shows that most people who resettled didn’t go from a big city to smaller one, but from a downtown to a suburb.


  • Micromobility company Tier raised $60b in debt from Goldman Sachs to fund expansion of its fleet and charging network.

  • Safe streets advocates are pushing Biden to add $10b for an interstate network of bike and pedestrian paths to his infrastructure bill.

  • Ford’s Spin is going through a shakeup. This week the scooter startup announced its CBO Ben Bear would take over as chief executive, while also outlining plans to add e-bikes to its fleet and double down on mid-tier cities that favor exclusive or limited permits. (No word about the recent rumors that Ford is looking to divest from Spin as it hones its focus on electric and autonomous cars.)

  • Lyft launched a new shared e-bike with a longer battery life, a lower center of gravity, a saddle that can better accommodate smaller riders, and a digital console.

  • Quick commerce had a huge week. Within 24 hours last Friday, Flink and Getir announced $240m and $555m, respectively, in new funding for 10-min grocery delivery. And rumor has it that rival Gorillas is looking to raise as much as $1b in fresh funds from Softbank.

  • Meanwhile Delivery Hero announced it would return to its native Germany, teasing the ability to get orders to customers in as little as 7 mins in Berlin.

  • Finally, Instacart launched “priority delivery” to fulfill customers’ orders at a (comparatively glacial) pace of 30 mins.

  • For quick commerce to succeed, delivery startups will need to find a way to cut through traffic, find parking, and get orders to customers all within minutes. That’s where micromobility, and possibly autonomy, come in. Just this week, Faction announced it raised a $4.3m round, led by Trucks VC and Fifty Years, to deploy three-wheeled EVs for driverless delivery.

  • Speaking of three-wheelers, recumbent trike manufacturer Catrike says its revenue shot up 70% in 2020.

  • Looking at micromobility’s larger social impact, can LEVs boost transit, equity, personal health, and local businesses?

  • Austrian cycling app Bikemap has raised “millions” in a Series A round led by Pon Holdings’ Ponooc.

  • Scale matters in micromobility. New research shows that 60% of bike-share schemes in Spain failed between 2003-2018, but among those systems with more than 30 stations, the survival rate was 100%.

  • Brazilian bike-share startup Tembici is running a program that will allow cyclists to get vaccinated at drive-thru clinics.

Pod People

On the latest episode of the podcast, our own Horace Dediu and Oliver Bruce talk to Amir Haleem, CEO of Helium, about how a crypto-powered wireless network could disrupt legacy teleco infrastructure, with big implications for micromobility.

Listen here

Jobs to Be Done

Welcome to our jobs board, where every week we post open positions in hopes of connecting our readers with professional opportunities in the burgeoning world of new mobility. Find out who’s hiring below and sign up for the newsletter to view fresh listings every week.

Hit reply if you have a job that you’re interested in listing.

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