The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, in collaboration with UMass Amherst, recently launched a bike sharing program called ValleyBike. This program consists of 50 bike sharing stations and 500 bikes distributed across the Pioneer Valley.
Equipped with lightweight alternators, the bikes generate electricity as they are pedaled. This electricity is then used for hill climbing and speed assistance. Leftover charge is routed through sharing stations and into the valley electrical grid, giving rise to a new era of sustainable transportation.
Also equipped with spring-loaded seats that resemble cowboy boots, the bikes hold a reputation of kicking their riders into the air by surprise, leaving them confused and pavement-burned, wondering what they did to deserve being left without wheels.
Some say the bikes kick when riders mention “oil” in a positive context. Others say the kicks are completely random.
Despite fear of being kicked, people of the Pioneer Valley form long lines waiting to use these bikes. “They are so much fun,” one student remarked, “so fast and so efficient. The technology is awesome, and you don’t need to worry about parking.” When asked about the fear of being kicked, the same student said, “yeah, it’s scary, but honestly it’s kind of exciting too, the risk of it. It’s a thrill.”
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