Boris Mordkovich and Anna Mostovetsky thrive on adventure and share an enduring passion for the environment, so when Boris and his brother, Yevgeniy started EVELO, an electric bike company in New York, Boris wanted to find a way to raise awareness about green transportation. After some thought, he and cycle partner Anna Mostovetsky took on one daunting undertaking, deciding to set off on a trans-American electric bike tour. Now two and a half weeks in, the journey is taking the pair from New York City to San Francisco by electric bike, with stops along the way to give talks and test rides to anyone who might be curious about the technology.
The EVELO electric bikes, Aries and Aurora, are powered by a 250-watt motor and a 36V10Ah lithium battery that allows the duo to travel around 40 miles per charge. With a lot of ground to cover, and at a pace of around 80-100 miles per day, they carry spares to extend their range, and charge the batteries for around 4-6 hours each night in a standard 110v outlet. For a more eco-friendly charging experience, which could be particularly handy if camping, the batteries could also charge up with a small solar charger that can be installed on the trailer. All electrical components on the bikes are fully enclosed and waterproofed, and during times of heavy rainfall they take additional precautions, wrapping the batteries in plastic bags to be absolutely sure they don’t incur damage.
Mordkovich previously consulted with a company that organized trans-continental bike tours, often four to six months long. With the tour’s route initially sketched out using Google Maps, and planned and tracked in more detail along the way using GPS, the duo are developing significant first-hand knowledge of the bike-friendliness (and otherwise) of the US. Mordkovich describes that the rare 330+ mile off-road bike path between Washington DC and Pittsburgh were probably “one of the best parts of the trip so far.” But in other instances the pair has alternative but to ride along 50 mile-per-hour routes, confined to a small shoulder next to relatively fast moving traffic. When it comes to decidedly bike-unfriendly bridges, they have been confronted with “no choice but to take a deep breath and go for it.”
In spite of such moments, Mordkovich describes the electric bikes as a fantastic way to feel and experience ones surroundings, traveling at a steady 15 miles per hour. He admits, that a certain degree of additional determination is needed during moments of the 4,000 mile long trek in which he sees cars covering the same distance in an hour as he does in a day, but those moments pass, as they find quieter, more scenic paths, and meet with curious passers-by on their stops.
“Very frequently, we’ll get stopped at a parking lot of a cafe or a supermarket, as we settle in to eat lunch or fill up on supplies. People will see the bikes with the trailers and approach us to ask us about where we’re coming from,” Mordkovich told us, “Oftentimes, they don’t even realize that these are electric bikes until we tell them… Then, we invite them to take a bike for a test-ride and it’s incredibly exciting to see their reactions of these people when they do. When they start off riding, they feel a bit unsure because they don’t quite know what to expect.” He added, “That’s one of the best parts of doing the hour — once we have somebody try an electric bike, they “get it””
With electric bikes already popular in Europe, and electric bike sharing operations getting off the ground in cities such as San Francisco, Mordkovich and Mostovetsky hope that their tour will raise interest in the e-bikes throughout other areas of the country.
You can follow their tour and see where they will next stop on their website.
+ Trans-American Electric Bike Tour Photos courtesy of Boris Mordkovich