Everyone knows cycling is better for the world than driving, but we’re not all comfortable with the idea of arriving at the office every morning drenched in perspiration and smelling like a metalhead on the last day of Download.
An electric bike could well be the answer. In fact an electric bike with a specific “No Sweat” mode sounds almost too good to be true.
But that’s just what Ford has announced at MWC 2015. The MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro are new concepts from the usually four-wheeled Blue Oval, and they’re pretty darn clever.
Resistant to being run over
For a start, both are foldable. In the case of the MoDe:Me that means you can carry it on the train or pop it into the boot of your car. The more courier-oriented MoDe:Pro, on the other hand, can be transported in a van (which can have special mounts added), before it’s unleashed and unfolded for its own transporting job.
Both versions have a 200-watt motor good for pedal-assisted speeds of 25kph which - let’s face it - is probably faster than the average speed of a London commute.
And seeing as how perilous a pedal-powered London commute can be, it’s really good to see some rather natty safety features involved. Thanks to a rear-facing ultrasonic sensor the bike knows when you’re about to be overtaken and sends a small vibration to the handlebars, which also light up to warn the passing driver. There are indicators and automatic brake lights, too.
The link in the chain
The bikes have a partner app called MoDe:Link, which as well as being used for navigation (the handlebars vibrate to tell you when to turn and routes take into account the weather and public transport options), also control the amount of pedal assist provided by the electric motor. This can be tied into your heart rate, so assistance is automatically increased to keep you relaxed and sweat-free.
Electric bikes aren’t new, but the MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro seem way smarter than most, and the way they’re designed to integrate into other methods of transport (routes can be calculated to include public transport sections and Ford’s cars will charge a bike while it’s in the boot) is clever and refreshing.
At the moment the scheme is just in a testing phase called Handle on Mobility, and it’s taking place in London. So if you see someone on a strange looking Ford bicycle, feel free to give their armpits a sniff and report your findings.