Biggest bike surge since 1970s

Plus, Europe says no to cars, traffic enforcement is broken, and Uber loses Grubhub

Hello and welcome to the Micromobility Newsletter, a weekly missive about mobility, mostly mobility in cities by small vehicles like bikes and scooters. The reason you’re reading this email is that you signed up on our website or came to one of our events.

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In case you missed it, Founder Shield has put together the key takeaways from last week’s Delivery On-Demand Panel and made the recording available on demand. 

The panelists provided some great insight into their successes and challenges, growth strategies, and where they see the industry going as we continue to work through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Watch it here.


#MMAmerica

The world is at a tipping point. In the last 90 days, lockdowns caused by a novel virus and unrest driven by long-standing injustices have made it clear that the old playbook for how we move around cities must be thrown out. Any plan to address Covid-19 or systemic racism must reckon with the transportation system’s historical tendency to spread both. The silver lining (if such a term applies) of recent upheavals is that the willpower to build a safer, more equitable mobility system now clearly exists. How this energy is channeled in the weeks and months ahead will be paramount.

On October 1-2, 2020, Micromobility America will convene mobility’s most visionary thinkers to ask tough questions, share big ideas, and hopefully chart a new direction for the future of movement. Learn more here.

This week all proceeds from ticket sales are going to Community Bail Funds, a group that allocates donations to 70+ community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizers.

Reserve your place


What you need to know this week

  • In the last two months, US bicycles sales saw their biggest spike since the 1970s oil crisis. Electric bikes are also expected to have a big year. US sales could grow by 30% to reach 400,000 units, according to experts. (Also interesting: Five brands currently control about 70% of the American e-bike market. Only two of them sell DTC.)

  • It’s not just bikes. Demand for mopeds in the UK has tripled YoY.

  • The good news came too late for GenZe. The US moped company, which made Scoot’s sit-down scooters, is shutting down for good.

  • California regulators ruled Lyft and Uber drivers are employees.

  • Jump is withdrawing its bikes from all European cities. The official word from Uber is that the bikes are being pulled in order to hand them off to Lime.

  • Will perma-WFH encourage suburban sprawl?

  • Tier raised $23 million as an extension to its Series B round. The new funding buys the Germany-based startup extra runway as demand for scooters starts to recover in Europe.

  • Soon 20% of Ireland’s transport budget will go to cycling and walking projects, while the rest will go to transit.

  • During traffic stops, the most common point of interaction between the public and the police, officers have almost complete discretion over whether to write a ticket or search a vehicle. For black and Hispanic Americans, discretion often means discrimination.

  • Clear majorities of Europeans want to keep their cities car-free after the health crisis ends, according to a YouGov survey of 21 major metros across six countries.

  • The French government traced zero clusters of coronavirus cases (defined as three or more infections linked by contact) to public transit in nearly a month of study. The result, which mirrors an earlier finding from Japan, suggests buses and trains may not be the superspreaders we once thought.

  • Still, 70% of London residents say they are nervous about taking public transit. Maybe that’s why the city’s bike-share system is shattering all its ridership records right now.

  • A surge in domestic Airbnb bookings suggests the number of road trips is higher than normal for this time of year.

  • Related: Concerns over flying and staying in hotels have sent stock prices for Thor and other RV manufacturers soaring: “Of the 31 publicly traded automobile manufactures worth $5 billion worldwide, Thor’s stock has performed third best since the beginning of February, trailing only Audi and Tesla.”

  • In Shanghai, a Chinese facial recognition company introduced a new AI system that can detect whether people parked their shared bikes properly.

  • Researchers found racial bias in dynamic pricing algorithms used by ride-hail apps, including Uber and Lyft.

  • Chicago will approve three vendors to supply up to 10,000 e-scooters this summer.

  • The Walkcar, a tablet-sized, four-wheeled electric scooter that has gone viral multiple times since it was unveiled in 2015, is now on sale.

  • Spin scooters have arrived in Europe, starting with Germany.

  • Uber lost its bid to acquire Grubhub, which merged with UK-based food-delivery service Just Eat Takeaway instead. The latest rumor has it that Uber plans on selling its stake in Yandex.Taxi to Yandex.

  • A new US House bill would allocate $250 million in grants for cities to reduce congestion through intelligent transportation systems, car-pooling, and bike and pedestrian initiatives. Also important: Buried deep in the bill is a section requiring that USDOT to develop a national open data standard and API.

  • Trek Bikes has refused activists’ demand to divest from police.

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  • Google Maps introduced new features to inform transit riders of travel restrictions, Covid-19 checkpoints, and the crowdedness of public transport.

  • Related: Snapchat is overhauling its Snap Maps feature, which has 200 million monthly users, to compete with Google Maps.

  • During the global uprisings against racist policing, bikes have been wielded both as vehicles of protest and tools of oppression. But the experience of biking will always be emancipatory. “The mystery of cycling pleasure, the mind- and body-altering sense of freedom and possibility that a bicycle imparts, has moved physicists to seek new equations and prompted poets to reach for their most purple phrases. But it may ultimately be unquantifiable and ineffable. It lies in the uncanny fusion of the human frame and the bicycle frame, which can make a bicycle feel like an extension of your body, a prosthesis rather than a vehicle. It lies in the dreamy circular revolutions of the pedals and crank and chain, and in the spinning wheels that slip a continuous band of compressed air between the bike and the road, literally holding a rider airborne. If cyclists imagine themselves to be flying, it is because, in a sense, they are.”


Our next guest is…

While scooter giants burn piles of money to blitzscale, savvy local players are putting profits before growth and winning market share.

On a free webinar this Thursday, Oliver Bruce interviews Joyride CEO Vince Cifani and Lynx CEO Alan Mosio about how Davids can beat Goliaths in micromobility.

Register here


Pod people

Oliver Bruce and Horace Dediu debate the merits of owning versus sharing e-bikes on an instantly classic episode of the podcast.

Listen here


Jobs to be done

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

If your company is looking to make its next hire and would like to reach thousands of qualified candidates who live and breathe mobility, hit reply to list with us. Free of charge.


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