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Next: the bike booster

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

"The future’s all yours, ya lousy bicycles." Thus spoke the late, great Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a film set when horses ruled the road. Since then the car has run the horses, bicycles and streetcars off the road, bringing freedom and progress followed by volatile gas prices, traffic jams and looming concerns about global warming. Now family-oriented bicycles solid enough to carry the kids and the groceries are the next big thing. But what do you do when you meet a mountain while hauling an 80-pound load? Enter the Stoke Monkey, a patent-protected motor developed by Todd Fahrner, co-owner of Portland-based Clever Cycles, during his stint as a car-free, stay-at-home dad in San Francisco. When the pedaling gets hard, the monkey gets going, powering bike, passengers and cargo up and over the peak. It can haul 480 pounds up the steepest street in San Francisco, according to clevermonkey.com. Too good to be true? Well, there is the weight, more than 30 pounds, including the battery. And the price: $1,668. Still, it’s cheaper than a hybrid car, and it might appeal to schleppers who long to accelerate uphill à la Lance Armstrong. The future’s all yours, ya lousy stoke monkeys.


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