Reading the New York Times Sunday supplement that comes with, I learnt about a revolution is taken place without making too much noise; accidental transportation upheaval, the NYT calls it.
It began in China, where an estimated 120 million electric bicycles now hum along the roads, up from a few thousand in the 1990s. They are replacing traditional bikes and motorcycles at a rapid clip and, in many cases, allowing people to put off the switch to cars. (… continue reading at the NYTimes.com)
Here in La Antigua Guatemala some people are adding tiny gasoline engines to their bicycles. When I took this photo I learnt from the bicyclist that these tiny bike engines come from China as well. The engine, installation and modification of an existing bicycle can cost close to Q2000/$240. The engine functions within 10 kilometers before needing a break or rest; of course, one can continue pedaling. That distance just about covers most villages and municipalities close the La Antigua Guatemala; many of which are connected through uphill road stretches. The estimated fuel efficiency for bicycles with this engine modification is about 250 kilometers per gallon; not bat if you ask me. Of course, the electric bicycles might be more environment-friendly or not. :-( Ask me why!
Would you buy an electric or motorized bicycle if you were given the opportunity?
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