Montreal has Bixi and a Great Bike Lane System

dan on bixi photo

TreeHugger

As noted before, Montreal has its own public bike-sharing programme, Bixi, which is proving to be a great success with 3,000 bicycles in 30 different locations.

But Montreal was already a cycling-friendly city, with the Bixis complementing an already energetic scene. Not that many people seem to wear helmets but the city’s highly sophisticated system of 4 different kinds of bike lanes make cycling seem almost to be a safe and friendlier thing to do.

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The Suitcase Bike

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The Suitcase Bike: It’s Real! : TreeHugger

From China comes this bike that can transform itself into a suitcase. There was some doubt whether this bike would actually be produced, but now we’ve heard that it’s in production (see photos below) and will be available sometime later this year. A prototype of the bike was on display last week at the Canton Fair in China. The prices will probably be $399 USD. Here’s a video demonstrating the bike opening and closing:

Electric bike

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Schwinn’s New Line of Electric Bikes : TreeHugger

Do not attempt to adjust your monitor, this is really a picture of an electric bike. Schwinn’s new electric bikes are probably the slickest and most smoothly integrated set of power-assisted velocipedes we’ve yet seen. Schwinn teamed up with Protanium Inc. to develop a whole series of rides in different configurations (the Streamline pictured above), all of which employ lithium polymer batteries and in-hub motors, both well concealed.

They claim their Plug’n Drive system delivers approx. 40 miles of range and charges fully in four hours. They also claim their batteries deliver full power until completely drained (rather than slowly dwindling). Total bike weight ranges from 40-45 lbs., the electric system alone weighs around ten, the battery is stashed on the cargo rack behind the seat, and electric components live inside the frame tubes. To read more about Schwinn’s 2007 electric bike line and other trends in the electric cycling, check out Forbes Bagatelle-Black’s great review of the North American Bike Show at EV World.

No word on price yet for the Schwinn’s, but they could be looking at a corner on the market. The company has offered electric bikes and scooters in the past, but the vast majority of motor-assisted bikes on the market come out looking freakish (like this electric bike from Aprilia or this electric bike from eZee). Beautiful as they may be to the more deeply appreciating ecological citizen, electric bikes won’t go big time until they can blend in the with rest of the pack.