High Tech Bicycle Ride: The Copenhagen Wheel

As the owner of a hybrid car, I was fascinated by this new bicycle wheel that turns a bike into a hybrid with a little electric motor.  Here’s how it works.

The Copenhagen Wheel operates like a hybrid in that it stores power through the energy you put into braking and pedaling, just like a car. By decelerating or hitting the brakes on my Ford Escape, I charge the hybrid battery. The more power it has, the farther I can glide with the electric motor when I am going under 25 or 30 mph.

This wheel is so much more than a way to make riding easier, though. Programmed through an app on your Smartphone and Bluetooth, it detects traffic conditions, smog and the weather. You can plan a trip that is safe and healthy. The app can lock and unlock your bike, and you can adjust the settings to customize it for your specific riding needs.

Information you collect on your phone through your bike can also be transmitted to your city for a big picture of cycling conditions in real time. City planners can also use the information collected to address patterns of road conditions, temperatures and congestion among other things.

bicycles graphic

City and Rural Use

It seems to me the Copenhagen Wheel is most suitable for urban use, but it would be helpful to be able to see weather patterns on a rural ride. Folks that go for a scenic ride for a whole day could use real-time weather and traffic information. We’ve all been stuck riding into a storm before! I imagine it wouldn’t hurt avid cyclists to know air pollution conditions as well.

This is one time when reinventing the wheel was a practical idea!

Do I need the Copenhagen wheel?

At first I thought, ‘If you want to ride a bike, ride a bike. If you want to be powered with a motor, get a scooter.’ I have never understood putting a motor on a bicycle. It takes away from the purpose of moving yourself along with your own body, which I love to do!

I read more about the Copenhagen Wheel and figured it was not something I really need. Yeah, once in a while I could use a boost to get up a long, steep grade (lots of them here in the Rocky Mountains, and I avoid them) but for the most part, I manage fine. I have a bike for exercise, not as a mode of transportation. That makes the difference.

But, aside from the high-tech aspects of this new product, my science and engineering brain loves that automobile hybrid technology has been applied to a bicycle. I have to say, I am still intrigued by my car after five years. I think I have been convinced to try the Copenhagen Wheel on my bike!

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