How It All Began
We are Boris Mordkovich and Anna Mostovetsky. I (Boris) am an entrepreneur focusing on alternative transportation segment, having most recently helped start the world’s first peer-to-peer carsharing service, called RelayRides. And Anna is an environmental scientist, currently living and working in Washington State.
We have been good friends for many years and share an enthusiasm for cycling, the outdoors, and a belief that we need to leave the world a slightly better place than when we came across it.
In the past years, cycling has always been a part of our lives. We’ve commuted by bike, traveled around (including a 1 month stint in New Zealand by bicycle), and used it in all aspects of our lives. We believe that it is one of the best ways of getting around – in terms of health, cost, and impact on the environment.
However, we’ve also come to recognize that there are a lot of people out there who would like to ride a bicycle but find it impractical or impossible because of hills, distance, fitness levels, health reasons, knee problems, aging or the inconvenience of having to shower and change at work.
As a result, over the course of almost 2 decades, the amount of people who actually use a bicycle for commuting has hovered at just around half a percent throughout the country. While it does vary from city to city, the reality is that a lot of people still don’t bike – even if they want to – for the reasons mentioned above.
When we first learned about electric bikes – the concept and the explosive growth they’ve experienced in Europe and Asia over the past few years – it was as if a light bulb went on. It made perfect sense and it was instantly apparent why people – who have generally not been cyclists before – have started to flock towards them and embrace cycling as a result.
Electric bicycles provide all the advantages of a regular bicycle: fun, exercise, freedom from traffic jams, no worrying about finding parking. You can still pedal normally and just use the electric-assist to help out on hills and headwinds. This makes cycling more accessible to everybody by allowing people to cycle at whatever level they feel comfortable..
The electric assistance is perfectly smooth and silent and it complements, rather than replaces, human power – which also makes electric bicycles incredibly efficient.
We believe that electric bikes have the potential to tip the scales and make cycling more appealing to a much larger segment of the population and finally get people from their cars onto the 2 wheels.
To spread awareness and demonstrate the benefits, on April 7th, 2012 we are embarking on a trans-continental tour of America on two electric bicycles.
What’s this trip all about?
We want more people to find out about electric bikes and see them in action and we figured that what better way to this then by demonstrating ourselves.
The Trans-American Electric Bike Tour is a 4,000 mile journey from New York to San Francisco that will take place from the beginning of April to mid-June [see map]. The entire trip is self-supported, so it’s just us, two electric bicycles [see bikes], and all the equipment and gear we’ll need for our two-month journey.
We want to meet more commuters, cycling enthusiasts, alternative transportation advocacy groups, and other fantastic individuals along the way to learn more about the transportation needs and issues across the country. We want to find out what’s preventing more people from cycling and how we can tip the scales in the other direction.
Along the way, we’ll be stopping in about 25 cities and doing talks and presentations about electric bikes in many of them.
Our goals for the trip are as follows:
1. Increase Awareness – Our objective is to expose more people throughout the entire country to electric bicycles and their benefits with the help of the press, social media, and support of the folks we’ll meet along the way.
2. Prove It – We want to prove and demonstrate that electric bikes are a reliable and extremely efficient form of urban transport, and no longer a new and untested mode of transportation. If we can travel for 4,000 miles, then the bikes will prove themselves capable of any commute or recreational trip you may choose to challenge them with.
3. Collect and Exchange Best Practices – We want to gain an understanding of how cycling and electric vehicles in general can impact urban transportation in different cities throughout the country and share that knowledge on and beyond this trip. From New York City to San Francisco and everywhere in between – we will accumulate best practices and share them with others.
Follow our progress here on our blog as we make our way across the country, and thank you for being a part of this!
Most importantly, tell us what YOU think! Just respond to this post using the form below.