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PHOTO CAPTION: Omaha bikeshare system uses conventional pedal-power, but other cities are introducing electric-assist models.

Here Comes the Era of the Electric Bicycle

John Roach looks at the growing phenomenon of electric-bike-sharing worldwide.

Published: 29-Sep-2011

s with an electric-motor assist are beginning to change the way people get around town, according to experts who declare the age of the e-bike is upon us.

E-bikes look and operate similar to their traditional pedal-powered equivalents, but contain a battery-powered motor that kicks on when, for example, pedaling up a menacing hill.

"The attraction is related to overcoming a lot of the barriers in bicycling," Christopher Cherry, a civil engineer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, explained to me today.

He did his dissertation research on e-bikes in China where, over the past decade, their use grew from practically nothing to more than 100 million. "They are ubiquitous in every city on every street," he said.

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