Join us to participate in the upcoming 2019 City:One Challenge. 

Shared Pedelec Trikes

All-weather urban light transportation option. With good Winter clothes, these are ideal for northern cities in Winter!

Photo of John M Smart
4 1

Written by

Michigan Central Station

  • Yes

Pedelec Trikes use both pedal and electric power, in whatever combination the rider likes. These vehicles are great all-weather car replacements, especially in Winter, when eBikes and eScooters, even with snow tires, are challenging to ride. As part of an on-demand network, sitting on street corners around the city, they are safe, inexpensive and convenient for 20-mile-or-less round trip commuting.

Here's one model I like:

https://pt.made-in-china.com/co_hongducz/product_Fashion-48V-500W-Adult-Fat-Tire-Cargo-Tricycle-Three-Wheel-Electric-Tricycle-with-Pedal_rinusngog.html

It has fat tires, so it works great on old or new snow and ice. It has electric assist, so the rider gets a big boost (2X-5X) of electric energy with every pedal. The rider can get as much or as little exercise as they like, that's the great thing about pedelecs, they are healthier transportation options than e-vehicles without pedals. It has a cargo bay for groceries, it is stable around corners (you have to really try hard to tip it), and it isn't big. You can put these trikes even on small street corners around the city. Two or more will nest closely, unlike quadricycles, which are unnecessarily bigger, more expensive, and harder to steer in fresh snow.

These can be weatherproofed, and plastic disks can be put over the spokes on the back wheels, to make them kid-safe. A retractable fabric cover can be made that rolls out from the back over the top of the trike, to keep the snow off it. At the end of their rental, riders could be required to pull out the cover, clip it over the front handlebars, and take a picture on one of the city-approved street corners, just like with shared e-scooters today. 

I'd also add LED back lights and a flag on a fiberglass pole to improve visibility for street riding. An NTSA-approved child seat / rumble seat could be added above the cargo bay for parents with kids. Parents could mount their own NTSA-approved child seat or rumble seat to the ones without kid seats already attached, strapping it in with the same types of attachments used in cars today. Parents could find out where each type was located, using their phones.

This particular model is $800 ordered in bulk from China. 

A startup could buy and modify these Chinese trikes today, or make their own (or Ford?), and deploy a few hundred around MCS this Fall, in time for Winter.  

An ideal partner-leader for that project would be an existing shared e-scooter company, as they already have apps for this kind of use and could scale it across America and globally. 

I'd be happy to be on a team to get a few hundred of these snow-ready Pedelec Trikes into the MCS area prior to this Winter. Reach me at johnsmart@gmail.com if you'd like to work on this project!

Have an Idea?

  • I have an idea!

4 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Robert P Tweed

I must ask if I'm 300lbs or have extensive slower hand-eye coordination. How will i get to my job without freezing if it's a 35 degree day. And i clearly need exercise to better my health, self-esteem and work ethic with no roof? Nor is the seat comfortable if you ride for a long time. I can firmly declare without a USA look at our needs. We are excluding valiable elements that must be focused on.

Photo of John M Smart

That is a good point Robert. A very good and lightweight jacket and gloves makes it much more tolerable to be out in the cold. Heated jackets make it not only tolerable, but enjoyable. Such clothing should be subsidized to be easy to get for people with limited income. More on heated jackets here: https://challenges.cityoftomorrow.com/challenge/detroit/explore/better-cheaper-winter-jackets
Warm regards, JS

View all comments