By Holger Dambeck 09/27/2012 @ High-Tech Bike Design Is Developing Fast Thanks To The Boom In E-Bikes - SPIEGEL ONLINE E-bikes sales in Germany are expected to increase by 33 percent this year as cyclists flock to the new technology. Bikes used to be seen as the preferred means of transport for the tech-resistant, but a new wave of e-bikes could prove popular with gadget geeks too. They provide chargers for smartphones, intelligent automatic transmissions, advanced theft protection and enough power to make biking up steep mountain climbs more manageable. Imagine a bike that can issue a smog alert: Exhaust sensors on the handlebars will be able to detect fumes and transmit the pollutant concentration to headquarters, where hundreds of sensors are feeding information into a pollution map of the city. The bike will then calculate an alternative route that steers clear of the worst pollution. It's part of a vision called "Smart Cities" that was dreamt up at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, a stronghold of high-tech pioneers. Here, engineers who usually spend their time experimenting with artificial intelligence and avatars are now concentrating their efforts on reinventing a bike that will serve as the central feature of an intelligent transportation system in the future. It sometimes surprises me how long it takes to bring something old back and making it better. More than 50 years ago, in Southern France, I had a bicycle powered by a tiny 1 horsepower gas motor. Now this? We already see mopeds increasing in popularity [I also had one of those way back when] and are everywhere one looks.