Alternative Transportation
© Ed Noonan, 2000

The 2000 North American International Auto Show (Cobo Hall, Detroit: 1/15-1/23, 2000) wasn't the sort of place most people would go to expecting to see bicycles, but there were more there than one would find at Michigan State University's "Y" lot at my bike club's Wednesday evening rides. At this year's auto show, the automobile manufacturers took great pains to show their cars and trucks in the company of bicycles. Bicycles are finally achieving the recognition they deserve as a integral part of the American transportation system.

(click on thumbnails for larger photos)

In its exhibit, Michelin acknowledged its bicycle tire roots with a 1900 bicycle:

Ford showed the latest of hybrid (electric/human power) vehicles -- its new bicycles:

Th!nk Fun

Ford Th!nk Fun

Th!nk Traveler

There are two models of Th!nk bikes, the "Fun" ($1000) weighing 73 lbs (including battery), which has a range of 22 miles after a 6 hour charge and the "Traveler" ($1,200) weighing 43 lbs, with a range of 15 miles. Range can of course be extended infinitely via pedal power. It is amazing to see the Ford Motor Company coming out in 2000 with a bicycle, albeit a motorized one. The good news is that more people will be riding bicycles, so the roads will more likely be designed to accommodate them, and there will be less big metal boxes clogging up the roads. Teenagers seemed to show the greatest interest in the Th!nks on display.

Porsche and Mercedes Benz showed bicycles that can be purchased as accessories for their cars:

And there were all sorts of loaded bicycle racks:

Ford Escape
Looks nice but I wouldn't want to open the rear hatch.

Dodge Durango




Ford Windstar




And even a Hummer sported a bike rack:

It is obvious that the automobile manufacturers see a growing bicycle presence in the future of America. That is great to see!

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