Maybe it’s all the blisters they’ve been getting wandering about Afghanistan, or maybe there’s something wrong with pedalling according to the US military, but the US government have just signed a development deal with an electric bike design team.
According to Bicycleretailer.com, Cycle Electric International Consulting Group has joined forces with government contractor Wave Crest Laboratories. Wave Crest (an electric motor company) has a standing order for ‘light electric troop transport’ and have hired Cycle Electric to get the vehicle into motion. Previous developments with folding bike maker Montague had apparently hit ‘technology problems’. Apparently “recent technological developments” now make the Army’s brief achievable, although no details of the vehicle were given.
However several things trouble us. If ‘civilian’ electric bikes are still failing to catch on amongst anyone not drawing a pension because of weight, range, speed, complexity and recharging issues, how will they cope on the battlefield? Sand, mud, explosives, abusive treatment under GI’s and kit weighing 200lbs plus – it sounds even worse than winter rides in Britain. We can just see the headlines now, “Bin Laden escapes again as battery bikes fail to make mountain climb.”
Also, are we being unreasonable in asking if our military elite shouldn’t have the basic strength to pedal that proven and super efficient beast the normal mountain bike. If we can manage it without a homicidal drill instructor screaming at us surely it’s not too much to ask of soldiers used to 30 mile speed marches and assault courses. Stick a BOB trailer on the back and you could even haul an HMG / rocket launcher etc. around without too much effort.
Maybe there’s an issue with not being able to polish SPD shoes???