I’ve been in communication with members of the Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces, who have been looking for help getting all sorts of equipment. Most recently, they’ve been looking for any kind of off-road vehicles they can get, but despite the help they’re getting from western governments, supplies are always in shorter supply than they’d like. This includes not only vehicles, but the diesel or gasoline to keep them moving. Fortunately, clean energy gives them another option.
After explaining the benefits of e-bikes (they don’t need fuel, you can still pedal them if dead, and they’re the quietest way to go faster than walking), they agreed that they’d be a good option for both military units and aid workers of various kinds. Not only can electric mountain bikes go off road, but they can more easily get around rubble, damaged roads, and the tank barriers that are present in many cities.
Before I explain further why e-bikes are an ideal solution for the underdog in a war, I want to go ahead and ask readers for help supplying them. I have experienced issues with fundraising sites in the past blocking items meant for warfare and humanitarian aid overseas, so instead of asking for funds, I’d like to request that companies and individuals ship bikes and accessories directly. Shipping from the US to Ukraine is already taken care of. If you’d like to ship us any of the below items, visit our “contact us” page and we’ll respond with my address.
I can also receive funds via Venmo (@jennifersensiba) and Cash App ($jennifersensiba). Any funds sent would be used to purchase supplies listed below, for fuel to trailer the bikes to a nearby airbase or terminal, or to free up time in the event I get swamped with bikes and need to temporarily work on this full-time (and even then, I’d only use the bare minimum needed to do this). Any amount helps. I am not a non-profit organization, so unfortunately you can’t deduct it on your taxes.
If you represent a company that sells e-bikes, I will feature your bikes in a review article before sending them off to help, and thank you for your help in featured articles. I will also request follow-up images and stories of how the equipment helped people, and would mention you in those if possible. This would both benefit your company and might make it tax deductible as an advertising expense (I am not a lawyer, please check with your accountant or tax lawyer on this).
What We Need
Why We’re Asking For All This
Bicycles also have a lot history of military use. For a long time, the Swiss military had whole units of “light bicycle infantry” who rode on really awful bikes. The speed, the silence, the independence from fuel, and the ability to get to many places where motorized vehicles can’t go all adds up to being highly useful. Add an electric motor, power electronics, and a modern lithium battery, and you have the ability to move more like a motorcycle while still staying silent and being able to push or lift the bike much easier. You have almost the mobility of a horse, but without the need for feed and veterinary care.
You can also carry weight on the bike with minimal effort. Food, water, shelter, weapons, ammunition, and much more don’t weary one’s legs. Add a trailer, and you could carry everything from shoulder-fired missiles to wounded soldiers.
Modern militaries are already experimenting with them and finding ways to get the most use out of them. There’s the Australian military (video below), along with a number of European militaries in various stages of testing.
On top of the mobility advantages, militaries are already planning on using solar panels to keep the bikes moving on long treks without needing to establish supply lines to deliver fuel. This helps reduce the costs of defense and helps make it a LOT harder to cut them off and get them out of the fight. Plus, heat signatures and other ways of getting targeted are lessened.
So, this isn’t just some silly idea green enthusiasts came up with. It’s something larger, well-supplied militaries are looking into. Helping it become a reality for Ukraine is a great way to help them defend their country and keep their costs down in a war that doesn’t favor them.
More importantly, it’s something that we can do for them without having to have the budget of the United States government. We can’t supply them with planes, tanks, or anything like that, but we can give them an edge.
Don’t Like To Support War? Support Rapid-Delivery Life-Saving First Aid Services
If you’ve seen social media coming out of Ukraine, it’s clear that there’s a lot of civilian suffering. Broken buildings and homes, damaged streets, and tank barriers make it difficult for EMTs, aid workers, and people delivering vital supplies to move around cities that have been shelled and bombed.
E-bikes provide a powerful alternative in these hard times. Experience in France shows us that using bikes to get around urban congestion lowers the time it takes to get public safety personnel on scene and saves lives. The congestion in places like Kyiv is quite different from that in Paris, but the ability to go over small obstacles, go through small spaces, and even lift/push a bike over rubble makes things possible that aren’t possible with ambulances, police cars , and other traditional public safety vehicles. Like military e-bikes, it’s also possible to charge them with solar generators and not rely on scarce fuel to save lives.
The lower-end bikes above are geared toward this mission, so you don’t have to support warfare to make a difference and help innocent people experiencing pain and death right now.
I hope you’ll be able to support this cause, and if not, I hope you’ll be able to share this article so we can get things rolling!
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