About that Electric Bicycle Macri Gave Obama . . .
After eight years of chaos thanks to the misrule of Cristina Fernández, humbled Argentina has an opportunity to get back on its feet. Fernández had always been more focused on sticking her thumb in the eye in the U.S. than governing her country, one rich in resources but hampered by corruption. By the end of her rule, inflation was out of control, companies refused to export goods to Argentina and many citizens suffered thanks to unemployment. Hence, Argentina took a big step away from Chavismo with its penchant for distracting people instead of solving problems, and last fall, in came Mauricio Macri, a civil engineer turned business leader who became mayor of Buenos Aires, where one-third of Argentinians live. He won the right to succeed Fernández, narrowly beating her chosen replacement, and while much can happen in four years, Argentina has a chance to mend. Hence today’s love-fest between Macri and President Barack Obama, who is visiting Argentina after his historic visit to Cuba. Fernández and Obama had tangled frequently during her presidency, so today’s meetings and celebrations could signal a closer relationship between the two countries—which are a must, as Argentina and the U.S. have far more in common than Fernández and her cronies would have the public believe. So amongst the high-level meetings and revelry at the Casa Rosada, the press made noise about a certain electric bicycle that Macri gave Obama. As fantastic as Buenos Aires is to visit, it is not exactly a city friendly towards bicycling. So what was the fuss about? The Brooklyness CMYK 4.0 is an electric bike that folds up and is easy to carry when commuting via public transportation. Not only is it a way to navigate town and benefits from a 30 mile range per battery charge, it works like a FitBit: sensors can track one’s heart rate. It is also a smart cities advocate’s dream as it can gauge road conditions, and of course, all of this information can be transmitted to one’s smartphone. Once at home or in the office, a recharge only takes two hours, plus a USB port on the handlebar can add juice to one’s phone while he or she on the go. It’s sticker price is about $1,600, and its crowdfunding campaign scored 50 percent more funds than anticipated—plus the lucky ones who thought ahead could have scored one of these bikes for just $599. The first models are being shipped out this month. The CMYK 4.0 was created by famed industrial designer Manuel Saez, who is based in the Argentinian city of Tucuman but spent several years in New York City. Electric bikes are always hyped but are then quickly forgotten, so if this gizmo can catch on, a revolution in transport could make commuting in cities a lot more fun—and cheaper. Image credit: Brooklyness