National Geographic : 2012 Jun
Frame features Seat posts adjust to accommodate riders from five to more than six feet tall. Special bolts secure the seat, wheels, and lights to help prevent theft. Automatic lights Front and rear LED lights flash when the bike is in motion. Bell Fenders, chain guard Wheel covers stave off rain splashes; an aluminum casing protects clothing from chain grease. Wide tires The extra width helps provide stability, as does a heavy frame. NEXT Shared bikes are making the world's great cities even greater. CITY SOLUTION BIKE SHARING | In the global push toward urban modernization, one low-tech concept is riding high: sharing bicycles. Young programs in London, Boston, and Washington, D.C., are expand- ing; New York City and Chicago plan large-scale launches this year, joining 200-plus bike-share systems worldwide. It's all part of a decades- long evolution from free---and theft-prone---borrowing schemes to automated systems that track payment, parking, and bike distribution. Why the pedaling renaissance? Bikes are cheap (as little as one pound---about $1.50---for a half hour in London), green, and good exercise, says University College London's Oliver O'Brien, who studies usage data. And as cities have found since Lyon and Paris inspired the latest wave (Lyon launched in 2005, Paris in 2007), they're a boon to urban living---and don't require reinventing the wheel. ---Luna Shyr Smart by Design Safety, durability, and theft protection are key considerations for shared bikes, like this one from Washington, D.C.