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September 14, 2022  

E-Bikes: The Frankenstein’s Monster of Transportation?

September 14, 2022

How cool are e-bikes? How revolutionary will they be? During 2020 and 2021, e-bike sales surged 2.4 times over previous periods and essentially transitioned from a fringe product to an almost mainstream purchase in North America.

E-bike sales could be considered a huge win for micromobility and alternative transportation advocates, but don’t tell that to Ian Bogost, whose recent Atlantic piece paints e-bikes in a humor-laced take as an awkward, doomed-to-fail Frankenstein of the motorcycle and bicycle. In “The E-bike Is a Monstrosity,” Bogost derides e-bikes as unsafe, awkward to ride, and less cool than a motorcycle or a $5,000 road-racing bicycle. 

Clearly, Bogost is examining e-bikes through a cultural lens, rather than one focused on transportation.

Today on Upzoned, host Abby Kinney and co-host Chuck Marohn discuss the e-bike’s potential to hasten a transition to more thickly settled places with slower-moving streets, allowing families to own one car and then supplementing it with other micromobiity options.