What's an electric bike?
It's still a bike, except it has a small motor and a battery. The difference between a regular bike and an electric bike is with an electric bike, you have pedal-assist, which makes it easier to pedal against headwinds and up a steep incline.
If you've got a motor, aren't you betraying the true nature of biking?
It depends on how you define the true nature of biking. In the United States, cycling is oftentimes seen as a sport, but everywhere else in the world, cycling is a means of transportation. So, if an electric bike makes it possible for people to cycle to work or run errands on a bike instead of using a car, I think it's a win-win situation. I think that in a lot of cases, an electric bike makes it more practical for people who are slightly older or who aren't in the best shape to cycle.
Tell me about your big trip.
We're traveling from New York City to San Francisco with the objective to promote electric bikes and electric transportation. We'll be stopping up to 20 cities to show how electric bikes can fit within the cycling infrastructure in those cities.
How'd you pick the cities?
We picked a combination of very bicycle-friendly cities and other cities where the cycling infrastructure is not yet that developed.
Where does Washington fall on that scale?
It seems to be very bike-friendly, especially because of Capital Bikeshare. That introduced a lot of people who weren't using bikes on a regular basis to cycling. I think that once people try it out and see that it's not as difficult as they imagined, they're much more likely to do it frequently.
-- Alan Blinder