Thursday, June 18, 2009

SUSTAIN YOURSELF: GOCYCLE ELECTRIC BIKE

Helen Pidd, Guardian, UK - Here is my report of a very happy weekend roadtesting the gocycle, a brand new, very sleek electric bike that distinguishes itself from most of its competitors by looking quite cool. The brainchild of an ex-car designer, the gocycle . . . works just like an ordinary bike, except that when you can't be faffed pedaling or you simply want to show off, you press and hold the red button on the left of the handlebars. Then, after a little delay, you speed off into the sunset. This is especially fun when going up hills, as your fellow road users will be baffled at how effortlessly you are climbing while they huff and puff. For full bamboozlement you need to be doing a bit of token pedaling, otherwise you'll give the game away. The faster you were going when you pressed the button, the faster you will be propelled, though it's not supposed to take you much above 15mph.

The manufacturers claim you can get up to 20 miles out of the battery, depending on how often you press the power button. I reckon mine only started running out of juice when I had done at least that distance, and that's with a lot of exhibitionistic button pressing. . .

When the battery does die, the electric assist becomes increasingly sluggish, but the bicycle still functions perfectly well as an ordinary machine. You recharge the bike by attaching it to a battery pack (which is slightly smaller and lighter than a brick) and plugging into the mains. It takes three hours to get back to its old self. The whole process is easy – unless, like me, you live in a second floor flat and have to lug this weighty beast up several flights of stairs to the nearest plug point.