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Smart Bikes Make It Easy to Get Around in the City

By Ann-Charlotte Ewerhard | Published: November 7, 2013

Copenhagen, Denmark is home to the world’s busiest biking paths. Approximately 40,000 cyclists ride on them every day.

Biking is ingrained into the Danish culture, and fifty percent of Copenhagen’s inhabitants already commute by bike. Yet despite this strong momentum toward greener travel, it’s been challenging to get diehard car dwellers to trade in their four wheels for two.

Why? Because it’s difficult to fully integrate bike travel into other public transport systems. Planning a route across a big city where you might have to swap your mode of transportation several times—from bike to train or bus and back to bike—is tricky. And dragging a bike on and off of public transportation is a hassle.

Many drivers would rather sit in traffic in the comfort of their cars than to be faced with this daily logistical nightmare.

But Copenhagen based GoBike may have come up with a solution. The GoBike is available for rent throughout the city and can be booked by commuters on the move in order to get from one point to the next with the least amount of disruption.

A tablet computer mounted on the handlebars of the bike comes with standard GPS and lets riders locate and book bikes at various locations throughout their journey, and for longer commutes it display real-time information about train departures, so riders can plan their route and book train tickets in advance.

The tablet also displays information about the areas bikers pass through or are headed to so that riders can check out local attractions and activities. Perhaps not as useful to daily commuters, but a great idea for tourists and out-of-towners.

Bike sharing systems in big cities is not a new idea. Europe, Mexico and China have all invested heavily in this area, and the United States is catching on fast, with bike sharing initiatives in Boston, Washington D.C., and other major metropolitan centers. New York City based Citi Bike—sponsored by Citibank and Mastercard—launched a bike sharing program earlier this summer with nearly 300 stations located across Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The Citi Bike and GoBike share some similarities in their design, but the latter has a sleeker look. It’s modularly built with very few parts, and those parts can be easily replaced if they break. In fact, the GoBike service team promises that if a bike breaks down it can be repaired on the spot in just a few minutes.

The GoBike has a streamlined appearance with no external shaft drive and all its cables are encased inside its metal frame. The lights are also built into the bike’s frame which is 100 percent aluminum and completely weather resistant. The bike tires are puncture-proof and guaranteed for 15,000 km.

The seat of the GoBike is adjusted via gas pressure—like a modern office chair—and when the saddle is adjusted; the angle to the handlebars automatically adjusts to ensure optimum ergonomics.

GoBike comes in both manual power and electric, and all the manual bikes are able to transform to electric with the addition of a motor and control lever.

It’s hoped that the GoBike will help Copenhagen reach it’s carbon neutral by 2025 goal and make the city a more liveable environment with healthier residents.

The company currently has 50 test bikes in six locations across Copenhagen. The full launch of GoBike is set for early 2014.

Courtsey- PTC blogs