We like the idea of electric bicycles and, apparently, the world does too. We've known that electric bicycles have become extremely popular in China but new numbers reveal they're really starting to catch on in Western countries too. In America, for example, where we have rising fuel costs and an aging population, sales almost doubled to reach 10,000 in 2007. Though they say it's partly because of an increased line-up, Amazon.com is reporting a whopping 6,000 percent increase this summer from a year ago.

In Europe, where bicycle culture has traditionally been pretty strong, demand for battery-powered rides is also on the rise. France matched America's pace in 2007 with 10,000. And while sales in Germany reached 60,000 last year, they expect to double that number this year. As you might imagine, the Netherlands had no problem representin' with 89,000 in 2007 and will likely reach 121,000 by the end of this year.

If you're in the market for a new light-weight ride you'll find a wide range of manufacturers out there with varying quality. The cheapest bikes use lead-acid batteries and you can pick them up for a few hundred bucks. Lithium ion batteries are finding their way into more bikes and, although they might be more expensive (from $1,500 to ridiculous), they offer lighter weight and longer ranges. Happy trails.

[Source: Business Week]


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