Can a reality TV show sell you a $2,298 e-bike?

In Stockholm, Daniel and Ludo follow a tracker signal to a group of apartment buildings. As they interviewed the residents, Daniel received “super-stressed” energy from a man on the run before they could reach him. Searching the area, they discovered a distinctive VanMoof steering wheel protruding from the balcony. Daniel uses a digital signal to verify it’s Ludo’s bike, then calls the police, who will help recover it. Overjoyed, Ludo jumped up and started riding.

“Bike Hunters” take a product category with enormous potential to increase the public good, then talk about it in a surprisingly silly way: through short videos collected by reality television of young people doing does what sometimes appears to be surprisingly inefficient retrieval operations. (In the first two episodes, several VanMoof employees flew from the Netherlands to Ukraine and Romania, spending days and significant amounts of carbon, on bike trails they never found. ) Programs can be a bit silly. It is for this reason that it feels so important.

Consider the automobile, at the heart of the problem that e-bikes promise to help solve. Much of the automobile’s dominance of U.S. transit culture stems from the cumulative power of a century of political decision. But some credit should also be given to the car’s great success in penetrating every crevice of our culture. Cars come to us in advertising, in movies, in song lyrics; they’re strong, they’re sexy, they’re fun.

‘Bicycle Hunter’ exists not to make you feel bad but to make you want a bike you like.

In contrast, bicycles – the everyday variety, A to B – are offered as a veggie for the car steak. Cautious and responsible, maybe. Strong and sexy, definitely not. Ditto for public transit and walkable neighborhoods, options often presented in a nonprofit report’s sobriety register. There are talks about safety, public health, and negatives that we can avoid: death and injury numbers, toxic emissions figures, congestion statistics. We only hear about fun and joy in the footnotes and below, where applicable. This dynamic applies far beyond the transportation process. Eat less meat, buy less clothes, wear masks at home during outbreaks: Often, good interventions are proven through words of encouragement shouting to eat our vegetables, both fact and metaphor. Not because vegetables are good, but because eating steak is bad for the planet and we should know better. Can a reality TV show sell you a $2,298 e-bike?

Fry Electronics Team

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