Now, before you start calling BS, take a look at this video.

And if you are still skeptical, take a look at this one:

Fast forward to the 1.5 minute mark in the above video to see him hit 45 MPH.

Yes, yes, the first video is faked, but you have to admire their creativity. Today’s New York Times has a short article on hybrid bikes. Here is the picture that goes with the article, just in case you don’t subscribe to the Times. The guy paid $7,000 for his bike, and thanks to this NYT article, I expect the company making them is about to go into overdrive. A bike shop near my house sells an $8,000 conventional bike, so I guess that isn’t so outrageous. Status seeking will create ever-fancier versions. And once people start to get envious and competitive about one another’s toys, watch out, this hybrid bike thing could really take off. Get this:

Electric bikes, popular in Asia and Europe, have yet to gain much of a following in the United States. The number sold here is in the tens of thousands a year, compared with 10 million in a recent year in China.

I have found only a handful of businesses on the internet who sell electric bike kits in the U.S., and buying a bike sight unseen has its risks:

Mr. Daniel, who lives in a walk-up apartment, did not even ride that bike after it was delivered. “It was just too heavy to carry up a flight of steps,” he said. He decided that he needed a lighter bike.

If you have to hump it up a bunch of steps to get it into your living room, you may be screwed, depending on how much you can bench press. People also have wildly varying expectations about electric bikes. Coincidentally, one of my neighbors bought the exact same electric bike kit as me at about the same time. Whereas I have ridden my bike to death and have been quite pleased with it, he was very disappointed and only rode it a few times. Someone eventually stole the front wheel with the hub motor and now the bike lies rusting, chained to the back porch sans one wheel. Many people are expecting to get a cheap motorcycle with the option of pedaling should a sudden urge to exercise arise. Obviously, that option now exists. Expect the bureaucrats to crack down once enough boneheads build and then abuse bikes like these.

Excuse me, my new controller has arrived.