On your electric bike? Maybe.
I'm just back from Beijing. Aside from the huge amount of traffic and how many premium cars there were on the roads (Audis everywhere but Jaguars and Range Rovers popping up more and more often), what struck me was the number of small electric cars and bikes that that were quietly zipping around the city.
China leads the world on small electric cars or buggies, and on electric bicycles or e-bikes. Nearly 30 million such bikes will be sold there this year - accounting for most of the global market, with the total e-bike 'pool' in China estimated as high as 120 million. They are cheap and easy to use and make for a good alternative to motorbikes or scooters especially when some 90 Chinese cities have banned the latter over of local pollution fears.
That of course raises the question of where the electricity comes from, and may simply be shifting the problem somewhere else if the electricity comes from coal power. A second environmental challenge is around batteries; Chinese e-bikes tend to use lead-acid batteries rather than the lithium-ion ones seen in new e-bikes here, and one wonders if and how these are recycled and disposed of.
Another issue is safety, with e-bikers nipping in and out of hugely congested traffic flows, on and off pavements and in and out of bicycle lanes, sometime carrying several passengers or big loads of materials. We had numerous 'near misses' in our taxis, and even paid one taxi driver extra to slow down to avoid accidents with bikers.
Nevertheless, the point is that there is already a huge market in China and I'm wondering if it will catch on in a big way here. Germany and the Netherlands so far represent the biggest European markets so far, with some governments providing subsidies to e-bike buyers to encourage their take up - as high as €400 in Paris.
By 2010 one in eight bicycles sold in The Netherlands was an e-bike, despite the fact that on average an e-bike is three times more expensive than a 'normal' bicycle. There, bike highways between cities are becoming more popular, with a 15 mile stretch between Rotterdam and The Hague, being planned. These make it easier for cyclists to travel long distances and go faster.
In fact, e-bikes constitute the biggest-ever take-up of alternative-fuel vehicles, way in excess of electric cars. The market research firm PikeResearch forecast that the worldwide electric two-wheel vehicle market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 9% until 2016 even though the "lack of a well-defined retail channel" hampers faster adoption in North America and Europe.
Not surprisingly, some car firms are looking at the marker. BMW is looking at an e-bike that can fold up and fit into the back of one of its new electric i-cars. Think of it as a range extdender or a neat way of finishing off a journey when you've parked. Around 200 of the BMW prototypes will be used in the London Olympics. VW is also looking at launching its own e-bike, through its Seat and Audi brands.
There could be a profitable market for such firms as part of wider 'mobility packages'. And while e-bikes in China might cost just over £100, here in Europe they average over £1000, in part because of more sophisticated battery technology, motor design and warranties.
Will it catch on here? Maybe. I had a go on one recently and whilst sceptical initially I came back with a big grin on my face like the Christmas day I had a new Raleigh bike as a kid, in part because gliding up a steep hill on battery power took the strain off my tired knees.
Professor David Bailey works at Coventry University Business School