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Electric bike tour passes through Sacramento

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The Trans-American Electric Bike Tour stopped in Sacramento on Monday at the Electric Bike Shop at 3644 J Street. Two cyclists, Boris Mordkovich and Anna Mostovetsky, left New York City on April 7 and are riding 4,000 miles across the country. They plan to complete the final leg of their journey on Thursday in San Francisco.

Sponsored by Mordkovich’s company, EVELO, Inc., the trek hopes to expose more people to electric bicycles and their benefits for commuting, recreation and transportation.

Mordkovich and Mostovetsky ride an average of 80 miles per day. They each pull a Burley cargo trailer and their ride is self-sufficient; no support vehicles are involved. The electric-assist bikes provide about 40 miles of distance per battery charge. Each rider carries a second battery to extend their distance. The batteries each require about 4-6 hours to recharge and use about $0.08 cents of electricity. The total cost of electricity needed for the entire trip amounts to about $20.

The pair stays at local lodging along the way through a sponsorship by Airbnb, a global network of local accommodations.

Mostovetsky said the electric-assistance helped during some of their most challenging routes. She said, “We had to deal with 35 MPH headwinds in Wyoming. The headwinds were pretty troublesome. In winds like that, our road speed was about seven miles per hour."

Mordkovich added, “When the battery is operating it definitely gives you a boost. It makes it easier to pedal and it cuts through the wind. Normally, (without headwinds) our average speed was around 10-14 miles per hour.”

Reflecting on her favorite parts of the trip, Mostovetsky said, “Some of my highlights have been the stretch between Washington DC and Pittsburgh. It’s a 330 mile trail that goes along an old canal and old railroad grade which was just fantastic and beautiful. Arriving at Lake Michigan was also pretty special for me.”

Mostovetsky lent her bike to me for a test ride. After a quick tutorial on the controls, I took off on a side street. With one rotation of the pedals, the electric motor kicked in and I noticed a difference. It felt like someone was gently pushing me along as I pedaled and coasted on her bike.

Standing inside the Electric Bike Shop, City Councilman Steve Cohn said the city wants to improve its support of cycling. He said, “We have to make cycling more safe and convenient throughout the city. Right now we have a lot of great bike paths, but we still have a lot of streets that are not very safe. That’s where we’re really trying to focus right now is making connected, comprehensive routes where people can ride throughout the city in a safe and convenient manner. Make it something that the everyday person thinks about first before getting in a car.”

While Mordkovich and Mostovetsky spoke with the media, The Electric Bike Shop had other electric-powered bicycles and scooters on display. Some were available for a test ride.

To learn more and follow the progress of the tour, visit their website.

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