Last week I met up with Boris Mordkodich who, together with his friend Anna, just completed a 4000 mile bike tour across America with two Electric Bikes. The tour, which began in New York on April 7th and ended in San Fransisco two months later, marked the first time anyone has ever completed a coast-to-coast tour unaided on Electric Bikes. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to meet Boris and ask him a few questions.
Like those of us at NYCeWheels, Boris wants to spread the word about the new advances in green technology. Last year, he founded EVELO, a company specializing in E-bikes, and soon after, he began planning a coast-to coast E-bike tour as a way of exploring E-bike culture in disparate parts of the nation and educating people about environmentally conscious technology.
The Electric Bikes he used were designed at EVELO, using 250-watt motor and a 36V 10Ah lithium battery, not unlike our BionX System, which can offer up to 40 miles range on a single charge. All of the gear and equipment for the trip was transported on two Burley cargo trailers.
What was challenging about the E-Bike tour?
One of the challenges of the trip, Boris told me, was that they had to keep to a tight schedule. Before they began the tour, Boris and Anna set up a series of Electric Bike lectures, which they would give at select cities along the way. To make each lecture, they would have to travel 80 miles per day, with very little leeway, a feat which required they each bring three extra batteries to make sure they could always make the distance.
Although, initially, they had their doubts, at the end of the trip they had made every single lecture. Here Boris laughed, “Really, neither of us are pro bikers, we could have never kept up such a pace with a regular bike.”
Electric Bike Culture
Part of why Boris and Anna planned the tour, was to see how electric bikes fit into the lives of people with a wide range of backgrounds. He told me about one guy he met named Dylan, who worked at a community bike shop. Dylan was a hardcore road-biker, lived 17 miles outside of the city, but biked the commute everyday, a 34 mile round trip. After a while Dylan found himself in a tight spot.
His girlfriend started to complain that he was totally exhausted every night after his ride and barely spoke to her before falling asleep. Having biked his whole life, Dylan was morally opposed to getting a car, but he realized something had to change. He ended up taking his road bike and installing the Premium 48 volt BionX kit, which got him through his commute without taking his energy, and also cut down his time from 2 hours to just under an hour and thirty minutes.
As our interview drew to a close, I asked Boris what was the primary thing he saw preventing people from commuting on an e-bike. He told me that, in middle America, most inhibitions to e-bikes come from a lack of infrastructure. Many cities haven’t yet built bike lanes and safe routes for bikes, and people worry about riding e-bikes in traffic. In Boris’ view, this is a fear easily ameliorated: “After completing the tour, it was pretty clear to me that e-bikes can be even safer to ride than a regular bike. With an e-bike there’s no temptation to run red lights since the motor has no problem making up for lost momentum. And, at least in the cities, you generally keep pace with traffic much more easily on an electric bike, making it much safer to ride.”
Take a cue from Boris, come by NYCeWheels and try out an E Bike for yourself. Give your car a rest, say goodbye to gas prices, and join your voice to the growing presence of Electric Bikes in our country.