There is a saying that necessity is the mother of all invention. It was only due to a necessity that early man-made fire to cook raw food, made tools for the cultivation of crops, made weapons of stones to hunt and protect himself from wild animals.

With the passage of time, man learned to make wooden wheels by logs of wood as the movement from one place to another seemed necessary. As time passed by and interactions between people grew, more and more modes of transportation came into light. As of now, we are living in modern times of human & machine interaction where our everyday transportation is becoming more and more autonomous—giving us complete freedom of ease and access to move anywhere across the smart cities. 

smart bicycles
Smart bicycles in Oulu, Finland

We all know bicycles are brilliant yet simplistic machines of transportation that don’t harm the environment; they reduce pollution, easy to operate, best for health, and are highly inexpensive. Back before World War II, bikes were the most likable means of transportation in Europe and Asia. 

However, with the invention of the automobile and vehicles, bicycle industries fall down to a significant level. Moreover, the transportation preference of people also got changed due to the automobile marketing monopoly. Nevertheless, the recent predicament & rise in the oil price again played a vital role to increase the preference of cheaper, ecological, and proficient means of transportation—known as an electric smart bicycle or e-smart bike.

1. What is a smart bicycle? 

The smart bike is a traditional bicycle packed with a modern piece of technological hardware; such as a battery, controller, electric motor, global positioning & geolocation sensors, biometric system, and a pedaling sensor to offer a fully convenient and automated ride. 

In a nutshell, the basic purpose of a smart bicycle is to offer justifiable means of transportation—allowing individuals to meet their short or long-term traveling needs in an environment-friendly manner.  Once you access a smart bike by using a smartcard, magnetic strip card, or any security code in a nearby located smart bike station, you can start your ride by paying a little amount on the bases of your chosen plan. After reaching your route’s ending point, you can park the smart bike on another station or parking meter so someone else from that specific area can use it.

2. The use of smart bicycles

The concept and usage of smart e-bikes growing day by day in urban cities to provide a fully autonomous cycling experience for both short and long-term sustainable transportation with the help of modern low powered communication protocols through IoT (Internet of things) and smart public bike-sharing (PBS) system. 

Smart bicycles reduce the risks which are involved in traditional cycling, within each generation of technological improvements, smart bikes are delivering several safety innovations, security & theft prevention, and various smart add-on Integration to optimize practices. Such advancements in smart bikes applications & designs are serving to enhance peddling into a more sophisticated yet ecological transportation method. 

The integration of modern components in smart bikes are not only improving the riding safety on tracks but also helping the cyclists to keep up the tracking of their riding habits and appropriateness outcomes.

3. How smart bikes works

Smart bicycles work on the base of its public bike share (PBS) system offered by different companies regarding their PBS implementation scheme and its generation. Although there is a total of five generations to collaborate bicycle-sharing system, however, all of these generations are simplified in two basic types of smart bikes PBS system:

  1. Dock Based Bicycle Sharing System
  2. Dockless Smart Bicycle Sharing System

Dock Based Bicycle Sharing System

Also known as “automated docking station bike-sharing system”, consists of smart bikes for renting from the docking stations for a short time by paying a specific amount to its respective vendor using your account on your smartphone. 

The steps that correspond while using the bicycle sharing system are: 

  • Register yourself after downloading the hosting mobile app
  • Rent a bike using that hosting application from your phone
  • Get your unlock code to open the frame lock of the bicycle 
  • Return your e-smart bike at any nearby automated station 

As of recent research, this particular bicycle sharing system is now available in almost 50 countries; including Spain, Italy, and China. 

Dockless Smart Bicycle Sharing System

Also known as geo-fencing or call a bike, the dockless bike-sharing doesn’t require any physical docking station and consists of a smart e-bike with a lock integrated into its frame. In such a way, this particular system reduces the hassle of parking outside of the virtual fence; meaning, you can drop the bike at any location within the specified boundary so the next cyclist can pick it up right from there. 

The steps included using a dockless smart bicycle are:

  • Download the host application of specified vendor in your smartphone
  • Register yourself by adding up all necessary information
  • Choose your location and find a nearby bike
  • Collect your security code to unlock the bike
  • Re-lock the e-smart bike once you reach your destination

Although the dockless smart bike-sharing system has gained popularity on a global scale because of its numerous benefits over traditional PBS schemes, it seems Poland and China are the only countries that have successfully implanted the geo-fencing system into their smart cities. 

4. The benefits of using smart bikes

Smart bicycles offer a variety of benefits with ease, convenience, freedom of trips, and comfort over other modes of public transportation for short-term routes anywhere across the cities. Moreover, most proficient paybacks of smart bicycles are:

Sustainable Transportation

Doesn’t rely on the consumption of any natural resources, smart e-bikes are truly ecological transportation advancements that use a physical or regenerable energy source rather than fossil fuels that offer only a limited power expectancy.  

Inexpensive and Accessible

The infrastructure of modern smart bikes is expanding each day making them widely available and accessible across cities and regions with the lowest costing rates—lesser than traditional transportation mediums for short distance traveling. 

Flexible yet time savor

As different companies are stepping in by offering different prices, smart bikes are becoming more flexible in terms of delivering better services and user experience to the public just by tapping on their smartphones to reduce timing that takes place during each riding session.

Realtime Route Navigation

By using modern global positioning advancements, smart bikes are now capable of delivering real-time route navigation for each ride. Other than that, cutting-edge smart bicycles provide data on-bike use, such as fleet performance, activity tracking, and location stats. 

Seamless Progress Tracking

Smart e-bikes deliver end-to-end pedaling progress tracking to offer a fully automated cycling experience. By analyzing your riding habits and route activities, smart bicycles visualize the data of extensive metrics that takes place in your passage.

Healthier Lifestyle Exercises  

Cycling is one of the most effective aerobic activity that increases body temperature and improves overall fitness level. With technological advancements and the evolution of cycling exercises, smart bikes are now capable of enhancing your workout experience by offering smart fitness goals and real-time progress tracking to surpass yourself. 

5. Who will use smart bikes the most and why?

bicycle for rent public in city
In many city, this bicycle renting system is very popular.

Smart bikes are for all as these were introduced as a sustainable transportation medium that offers an adaptation of green—Realtime environment-friendly means of transference. Moreover, the objectives behind the introduction of smart e-bikes were to create a new individual public transport system that suits the habitual traveling needs and promote the smart bicycle as a common mean of transport across smart cities. 

According to a recent survey by the UN, 23% of the world’s population is living in cities and by the end of 2030, it will grow up to 27%. That means urban growth is expanding and that puts a burden of traffic & transportation problems on the networks. To overcome these problems, the implementation of smart bikes and the smart bike-sharing system is extremely essential! 

Smart Cities, Bike Sharing system, And Facts

In New York City, Citi Bike is the nation’s largest bike-share program, with 12,000 bikes and 750 stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Jersey City. For dockless smart bike-sharing schemes, there are a few companies in New York City to offer their services: like Peace and Lime in Rockaways, and Lime & Jump in Staten Island. Station-based smart bicycle sharing contracts are pretty dominant here. However, the 5th generation of smart bikes is still struggling in the city because of public choice and preference.

Paris places 51st in smart city index out of 102 smart cities in the world with over 2.15 million population and it is currently the leading in progressing urbanism. The Velib bike-sharing system in Paris, France is highly accessible with automated bike stations over every 300 meters and offers up to 230 miles long cycling lanes. Moreover, it has clocked almost 27.5 million trips since 2008 and has covered a total of 10000km in the transference until now. 

In Barcelona, Spain, the Bicing public bike share system was introduced back in 2007 with a total of 750 bikes and 50 automated stations. Now it has expanded up to 400 stations across the city and currently holds almost 6000 smart e-bikes. The system has over 170000 subscribers now offers its services in 24 euros as a subscription cost annually. 

Conclusion 

Smart bicycles and public bike sharing scheme truly reduces the risks of traditional cycling and traffic issues involved in urbanization. As new technologies and network advancements are introduced to overcome problems that are involved with the expansion of smart cities, still there’s a long way to adapt these technological innovations.