Year of the ebike: US imports expected to double in 2020

Plus, Norway pays for winter bike tires, Jump bikes ride again in Mexico, and India mysteriously sits out two-wheeler boom.

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What you need to know this week

  • Last year, the US imported about 270,000 ebikes. This year, the total is expected to end up somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000. And no company sells more ebikes than Seattle’s Rad, which according to a new profile in Bloomberg, has noticed a change in the average user profile during the pandemic. “[T]heir early customers… were mostly ‘suburban dudes in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. It really was baby boomer after baby boomer,’ [CEO Mike] Radenbaugh says. As sales grew, so did Rad’s ad budget. The company now spends in a day running ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google what it used to spend in a month, [CMO Ty] Collins says. The customer base, he adds, has since broadened to include more of the young city dwellers they had envisioned.”

  • Manufacturers report e-cargo bike sales are up 50% this year, as businesses realize cycling is a faster and more efficient way to deliver goods than driving in many dense urban areas.

  • Subscription ebike service Dance has raised $17.7 million in a Series A round led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. The Berlin-based company intends to expand across Europe and eventually the US.

  • Here’s a global map of wheelchair accessible locations.

  • A somewhat happy ending: A cycling advocacy group in Mexico City has rescued 1,600 discarded Jump bikes, with plans to repair and donate them.

Voi: Sustainable e-scooter logistics - Voi is putting its first own e-vans and e-cargo bikes into operation
  • From China to Brazil to the UK, the rise of food-delivery apps and commuters’ desire for social distance have sent sales of mopeds and motorcycles soaring.

  • Yet in contrast with many other countries, India, the world’s largest two-wheeler market, has actually experienced a decline in moped and motorcycle sales during lockdown.

  • What happens when you cross a bike boom with a vroom boom? Net sales for Thule’s car-mounted bike racks grew 45% in Q3, year-over-year.

  • Scooter data has huge potential to reshape urban planning. A new article shows how information from Bird is informing policymakers’ decisions about where to build protected bike lanes in three cities, Atlanta, Tel Aviv, and Santa Monica.

  • European regulators require automakers to have automatic emergency braking for cyclists in order to earn a top safety rating. The result is that cyclist detection was standard on 80% of 2019 European car models.

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  • Empty parking lots are being converted into coronavirus testing sites, drive-in movie theaters, haunted houses, and more. And because there is not a single use of land more wasteful than car storage, all of this is good news.

  • In search of data-driven safety research, the USDOT has issued contract awards to four companies, including micromobility management platform Populus.

  • Here’s a breakdown of micromobility insurance requirements by city in the US. Los Angeles County currently has the highest requirement at $5 million for umbrella coverage.

  • Ridership for Moscow’s bike-sharing system was up 42% this summer compared to last year.

  • With its Kickstarter-funded e-scooter, Taur is betting that big wheels are the key to solving safety.

The Taur electric scooter prioritizes safety with giant tires and a forward  riding position
  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are bumping heads over whether to expand the area where drivers pay congestion pricing.

  • Harley-Davidson has hit another bump in its electrification efforts. The iconic American company is recalling all 2020 LiveWire e-motorcycles produced between September 23, 2019, and March 16, 2020 due to a power loss issue related to the charging circuitry.

  • Bike thefts were up 23% in Denver between January and September, compared to the same period last year. These figures are very similar to ones that were reported by New York City officials last week.

  • While secure parking infrastructure is the best way to stop bike thefts, new cyclists should also consider investing in a reliable lock. Wired has picked out five of the best.

  • What’s that old Norwegian saying, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only… bad tires? Oslo residents are petitioning the government to expand a subsidy for studded winter bike tires after more than 4,000 people applied in the first week.


Pod people

“Disruption is when nobody agrees on anything, it’s invisible, most people dismiss it, if not laugh at it, and yet it's here and now and people are using it. So they’re dismissing the reality, where in the other case they’re accepting a fiction.” 

Horace Dediu is on a roll with his most recent podcast conversation with Oliver Bruce.

Listen here

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