I imagine carrying fresh produce on the back of my new electric bike with the Mediterranean Sea on the horizon. My new futuristic ride feels old school, as if I’m riding small, easy streets. “Arrivederci!” “Halo!” I hear zipping past a “marketplace.” But I’m really riding in grimy, urban sprawl Brooklyn, and actually hearing, “Yo! that’s a cool bike. What is it?”
Truckers’ heads pop out looking down from the high beds of their trucks at me in the bicycle lane, and give me a thumbs up. (Much more courteous than the usual exchange.) Strangers on the street, from every walk of life, cycling and motorcycling enthusiasts, and people of all ages seem extra curious about it. The cops don’t know what it is, as I roll accidently through a red light, and think it might test them.
I did say bicycle lane. This little cat goes 20 mph, not fast enough to keep up with the 30 mph speed limit that motorized vehicles in NYC are allowed. I judiciously ride in the bike lanes. ”It’s a bicycle, it’s a bicycle, it’s a bicycle,” says Zach Schieffelin of McCarren Motors in Greenpoint, “don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.” What, of course, makes it so appealing is that it uses no gas and is completely environmentally friendly, cleaner, a cost saver, and can be taken indoors. It also requires no license. It just needs to be charged up about every 20 miles by plugging it into a standard household outlet. It’s too heavy to carry up stairs at 70 lbs, but conveniently fits into my building’s lobby.
The bike is called A2B. It’s designed by the German company Ultra Motor Ltd. Try it out yourself. The McCarren Motors folks will let you test ride it around the block. McCarren Motors also sells Kymkos—and Vespas in their sister store in Soho. They offer payment plan options.
69 Guernsey St (bet Norman & Nassau)
Greenpoint, Brooklyn 11222