Personal transportation of the future: The Bicycle

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

bicycle12.1_webWell, this is a little a case of back to the future, I know but despite all the hype the electric vehicle of whatever kind is not going to cut it for personal transportation for the masses. Keeping a horse and using horse and cart also is not an option for everyone, especially not those that live in towns and cities, that's for sure.

We are being told that battery technology is advancing on an almost daily basis but what no one who advocates the car in the form of electric vehicles (EVs) is the fact, and they don't even seem to consider it, that the manufacture of those and of those batteries requires energy and lots of it. It just will not work, period!

But still we are being sold the story that the electric vehicles, the battery car, is the future for personal transportation. It is not; the bicycle is, as it once was. I am sorry to shatter many illusions but the truth must be told.

And, the truth is that battery technology is not anywhere near what would be required to have all electric personal transportation and even less so freight transport.

The biggest problem remains the cost of the batteries and their components, both in monetary terms and in environmental terms and above that the fact that any of those batteries have a limited lifespan. They only have so many recharge cycles before they have to be replaced.

The future of all transportation, personal and freight, is going to be, once again, human and animal powered and not internal combustion engine or electric. As I said, I am sorry to shatter many illusions but we have to face reality and when the post-industrial area arrives, which it will, then those vehicles and their batteries will either no longer be produced due to lack of facilities or become so expensive as to be out of the reach of most mere mortals.

We have to leave the dream world that has been conjured up for us and wake up and face reality and reality is that things will, in the more likely not so distant future very different to the way we have known things to be. So, we better get used to the idea and start to prepare ourselves for this mentally.

The biggest problem is not that people in general are not prepared to face this reality but that industry and the powers-that-be are trying to blind everyone still with science and with smoke and mirrors. Everyone is in denial and believes government, industry and science will come up with a solution so we can continue to drive our cars, even if they are electric, that way we have done for the last half a century or so. Reality check: It is not going to work!

The reality is that, in the not so distant future, not only will oil be history, we will also simply not be able to continue to use it unless we no longer want a livable Planet and thus other ways must be found and employed and those other ways that those that were there before the world went mad, such as the bicycle, our feet, and also animal power.

The means of personal transportation for ordinary mortals with no way of keeping a horse will only be one option, aside from walking, and that is the iron steed, the humble bicycle.

Oh, and one little additional thought: It is not going to be the carbon-fiber road bike that we are talking about here but more the old-style single speed steel bicycle, produced in small workshops rather than in large factories in China.

But, for starters, there is no need to buy a new bicycle for transitioning to the “new” form of personal transportation. An old one, given some TLC will do just as well, if not even better, for you, your wallet and the Planet.

© 2015