But I think the article raises an interesting question: what would it take to render the bicycle obsolete, at least as a practical means of transportation, or to marginalize it to such a degree that its only practical use is as a "fresh-air exercise machine"? I say this knowing full well that there are those of us "hard-core" individuals who will let you take our bikes only when you can pry our cold, dead fingers, etc., and it can reasonably be argued (by someone who lacks the personal daily joy of same) that bicycle commuting is inherently a fanatic kind of activity, even if economical.
Well, here's a candidate for a vehicle technology that might someday render the bicycle obsolete except for us fanatics: the Twill Wicked. What if you could have a highly safe personal transportation device, freeway-speed capable, extemely efficient (450-mpg equivalent, say), and capable of existing totally "off the grid", for which a solar panel of less than 4 square meters would suffice to supply energy for a daily 30 mile commute? What if this vehicle cost $12,000 (the price of a high-end carbon racing bike)? Such are the promised specifications of the Wicked.
To be sure, the Wicked exists right now somewhere between the gleam in the eye of an engineer and a partially-working prototype, no more. But the imagination displayed in this project is remarkable. (Allow me to step up on my soapbox a moment.) It is precisely the lack of this kind of imagination on Detroit's part that is at the root of their current death-throes. I mean, look at the ridiculous Chevy Volt, totally hobbled by the fact that it's designed around a superstructure based on cheap oil. As long as a car is assumed to be a ton-and-three-quarters hunk of metal, the battery requirements to get any kind of decent range will be excessive and costly. The problem is that, since this is what Detroit's "best and brightest" can come up with, this is what the public takes for an "electric vehicle". I don't assign any form of conspiracy theory here along the lines of "Who Killed the Electric Car?", rather I just think it's gross incompetence. (end soapbox) Maybe the the Wicked is what will replace the car, maybe the Aptera. Or a vehicle being brewed in any one of a thousand garages right now.
But I'm not worried about them replacing the bicycle. No time soon, anyway.