A bicycle built for the digital world

by Amanda Rush

E-mails, eBooks. and e-cigarettes. Now e-bikes? According to a recent press release from Audi, the automobile makers will be displaying the prototype for a new bicycle that’s part traditional cycle, part digital machine – the Audi e-bike Wörthersee. “The Audi e-bike Wörthersee puts in its first major appearance at this year’s Wörthersee Tour, the 31st meet for Audi, VW, Seat and Skoda fans; trial biker Julien Dupont and downhill specialist Petra Bernhard will demonstrate their stunts and streetbike skills.”

According to the press release, the e-bike comes with a touchscreen on-bike computer that can sync with a rider’s smartphone. And then, suddenly, a cyclist’s bike also becomes their favorite app, “Video images of the trial drive or of a trick, as recorded via the in-helmet camera, are uploaded to the Internet in real time via your smartphone. Each trick performed successfully is then awarded success points, and as the number of points awarded grows, the cyclist receives awards and the challenge level rises, too.” It’s like social media meets extreme sporting.

Apparently gone are the days of cruising around on your traditional bicycle and now we’re welcoming in a hybrid bike that runs on a lithium ion battery. Or is it?

I’m a technological junkie – I love learning about things like this e-bike. But would I ever trade in my simple, classic cruiser for a machine with LED lights and an on-bike computer and touch screen? While I’m curious, I trust my legs to get me from point A to point B much more than a bike.

While this newest cycle seems like a pilot episode for a new show called “Pimp My Bike,” one can’t argue that the design is sleek and stunning and the potential it offers commuters and cycling enthusiasts is great. But maybe in this case, I’m an old fashioned girl and I just can’t see myself on anything other than the cruiser in my garage. With innovations like this, it makes me wonder how long it will be before my cousin’s brand new mountain bike falls into the category of “retro bikes.”

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