12/8/09 1:11 PMHis Passion Gets You Past the Gas Pumps - New York TimesPage 2 of 4http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/21/business/businessspecial2/21ebike.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Finding Gold in the Garbage
One company works withmunicipalities to givehouseholds coupons for recycling.
(myebike.com), a Bay Area business that sells e-bikesthrough a collaborativeagreement with several retailshops.Electric bikes are designedto extend human energy, instead of replacing it. Their motors are battery-powered and operated by pedaling or with a throttle, allowing riders to determine how much, or how little, they want to work. And they can thumb their nose at the gas pump.The beauty of the beast is both in its simplicity andcomplexity. Electric bikes do not require a license or tagsfrom the Department of Motor Vehicles. The bikes canreach 20 miles an hour, and faster with extra pedaling.And, according to some estimates, the total cost per mile(including energy cost, purchase price and the cost of running the vehicle) is less than 5 cents for an e-bike versus71 cents for a car.For e-bike fans, the thrill of the ride and the machine'secopurity are widely praised, yet no one knows the actualnumber of riders in the United States. Electric BikesWorldwide Reports, an industry newsletter, estimates that100,000 electric bikes were sold nationwide last year. TheLeague of American Bicyclists, an advocacy group inWashington, puts that number closer to 25,000,highlighting the lack of precise data."It is a still a niche market," said Andy Clarke, the league'sexecutive director. "And my suspicion is that e-bikes arestill going to have a tough time competing while they arestill heavy," he added, referring to weights of up to 80 pounds. "But for people who need extra assist, it is a greattool and resource."Mr. Roseman bought his first electric bike in 2001. After 20 years working in strategic development for Hewlett-Packard, he had time on his hands and terrain to conquer."I didn't have time to get into shape or get into the physicaldiscomfort of having aches and pains just to get around thecity," he said. "But with an electric bike, suddenly it's like
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