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Americans are generous. In 2018, for example, it was estimated that as a nation, Americans gave more than $427 billion to charities.

As impressive as that number is, when adjusted for inflation, it actually represents a slight decline in giving, according to a 2019 Giving USA report.

What’s more, it may be the case that while the total amount of donations is rising, the number of individuals giving may be down slightly. There are certainly many factors that impact why and how folks donate, but could part of the problem be that the act of giving — entering a payment card, finding the proper branch of the charity, and ensure the donation is processed properly — is too complex.

This is the problem that Givz hopes to address. The company provides a platform to facilitate giving. There specialty is in letting businesses give customers “Givz Cash” that can be used to donate to any registered charity in the United States.

For this episode of The Electric Bike Podcast from EVELO, you will hear from Andrew Forman, Givz’ CEO. Please listen to the podcast and follow along with the transcript below.

Armando: In the United States, the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving as we gather with friends and family to remember how fortunate we are. From there we celebrate religious and cultural festivals including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

Finally, the holiday season comes to a close as we ring in the new year, waiting for the ball to drop over New York's Times Square. And I will bet that however you celebrate the holiday season, it's a time of giving and caring.

Well, my name is Armando Roggio and in this episode of The Electric Bike Podcast from EVELO, I'm going to speak with Andrew Forman who is the Founder and CEO of Givz, which is a company that makes giving charitable donations much easier.

Andrew, thank you for joining me on the podcast.

Andrew: Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

A Purpose-driven Company

Armando: Andrew, will you tell us about your company, Givz. What is it? What does it do? What is its purpose?

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. So purpose is a good word. So Givz at its core is a purpose-driven marketing tech solution that drives growth and engagement by actually doing good.

So we help brands strengthen, protect their consumer brand relationships in a way that serves all stakeholders, so brands, customers, and the community at large.

Brands are able to reward customers with gifts, cash back for completing a purchase, or writing a review, or doing whatever it is that the brand wants them to do. And this can be served as its own conversion incentive, or it can be combined with an existing conversion incentive such as, “you get 15-percent off and $10 to give to a charity.” We would call that something like a discount plus, for example.

So after completing a successful order, whatever, if it's driving a sale, or if it's writing a review, or if it's engaging with an app 10 times in a month, whatever success is for the brand, then the customer can claim and donate their Givz cash to any U.S. charity of their choice. From the largest charities that you know and love, right down to your local animal shelter in your hometown of Wisconsin, that you also know and love.

So this can all be done using any device from your phone, iPad, computer, in less than 15 seconds.

How Givz Got the Idea

Armando: How did you come up with the idea for Givz? What was the impetus?

Andrew: Yeah, so that goes back over a decade now. Back when I first, in 2009, co-founded a nonprofit organization called Global Goodness, where I was the treasurer. My job was actually just to raise the small amount of funds that we needed each year to operate. So from that you learn a lot.

So, of course on the consumer side, I thought it was annoying that every time I wanted to make a $25 donation I had to type in my name, address, credit card, phone number, name of firstborn child, whatever else it may be. But from the actual trying to get money from people, for an amazing cause that we were working on, I experienced it from that side as well.

By the time Venmo came out, 2012, 2013, people were just Venmo-ing me instead of using our website. That just creates all sorts of issues. And so I felt quite strongly at that time, "Hey, we should create a frictionless way to give to any charity in America, have it all collated in one spot, and you can have all your tax deductible receipts in one place, come tax time, and learn about an amazing cause and give $25 in a heartbeat."

I thought that would increase overall giving, and increase satisfaction and get a lot of these charities, the money that they needed. So that was the initial piece for Givz. But then we actually were able to identify something back in 2017 when, I don't know if we call it a swell or a rise, of people caring about something, anything, just started happening.

So I don't know if it's the popularity of social media. Whatever it is, it's demand from consumers that people are becoming more vocal about what they care about. Whether it's social, environmental concerns, anything like this, they expect and demand brands to play a role in improving this situation that is here in our society.

So with that new lens, we had already built the frictionless tech that allowed you to donate to any charity in America. We thought, "Hey, here's an opportunity to provide a marketing tech solution to companies. To brands, that would enable them to meet the consumers where the demand is for doing something good in this world, while also driving growth as determined by those brands.”

Again, ensuring success for all the stakeholders, their company, the consumer, and the community.

Facebook Scare

Armando: You mentioned a swell in donations or caring about a cause, and reminded me that recently my friend Jacquie had a birthday, and rather than asking for gifts, she posted on Facebook asking for donations to a charity she cared about.

Andrew: That's exactly the swell that we're talking about. And that actually reminds me of a funny, well, quasi funny story, but way back when and just the perils of starting a business. So when I launched Givz, my cofounder and I were very, very excited. We had put six months into working on the UI, UX and trying to get this product to market.

A friend of mine, I remember where I was, forwards me something and says, "Hey, by the way, Facebook just built exactly what you're talking about and they're calling it the Facebook donate button and you guys are screwed." Pardon my French.

And so that was some tough times at first. And then, realized that, "Hey, if we can actually realize this vision, if Facebook can realize the vision for us then great, we want there to be a solution out here." This is why we started the company to begin with. And as it turns out, there's plenty of room for both players there.

It Even Works for Weddings

Armando: Andrew, previously you told me a story about how Givz was used at a wedding. Would you mind sharing that with our audience too?

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. So one of my friends actually just got married this past Saturday, even. She as a party favor for people attending the wedding, instead of giving like a little goody bag, knickknacks, whatever, at dinner, everybody had a slip of paper that had a QR code and a website on it and it said, "Hey, we appreciate you guys joining us on this special day. Here's $20 to give to any charity that you want because what you care about, we care about."

It was very cool. We had the whole room, this is not something that has really been done before, and there was a murmur across the entire place saying how cool that was. And it went over really well. So it was exciting.

We Care

Armando: I really liked what you said there. You said, "we care about what you care about." And in a sense this is what your platform does, right? It allows companies, brands, businesses, to do that for their customers.

As a consumer, perhaps as someone who's going to buy an electric bike, sometimes the buying decision is about more than just specifications or about a discount. Sometimes it's nice to do business with a company that cares about the same things you do.

Andrew: That's exactly right. And that is what we enable companies to do. The awesome part for us is that in the past six weeks we've launched over a dozen of these campaigns with brands across multiple verticals. The results have been incredible. We've seen up to a 40-percent reduction in costs of acquisition on paid ads.

We've seen a 30-percent lift on large orders, which I can explain and get into. We've seen a 4X increase in traffic to site. I think that could be partially just people being like, "Wait, I'm going to purchase this pair of shoes and I'm going to get $60 to give to charity. Let me learn more about this."

Then we've seen improved conversion rates too on top of that, 50, 60 percent plus, which is has been unheard of for a while. At the end of the day, in November alone, we've sent over 50 grand to charities, well deserving charities, and that's now over $300,000 to date. And that's why we're here.

A Growing Company

Armando: How large is the company? Are there a hundred employees or is it just you and a co founder?

Andrew: Yeah. Great. So we are actually seven full time folks, so definitely not a hundred, although hopefully next year we'll be there. Maybe two years.

We are seven people. It was my cofounder and I for 2017. We did add our first technical lead in 2018 and then have grown the team quite significantly since.

A Good Giving Experience

Armando: Givz enables a business to let its customers give to a favorite charity. Do you have any feedback from the folks who are actually picking a charity and donating with the Givz cash?

Andrew: Yeah, and so what's interesting is the way that it actually works is we can have the brand...When somebody goes to claim that money, the brand highlights what they care about. So if you are a vitamins company and you're all about health and wellness, there's going to be health and wellness charities that are going to populate on the screen.

This is an example from a Givz landing page. Notice the three option, plus the search.

 

So there's going to be three charities that they care about, that 75 percent of consumers will end up donating to one of those three charities. The interesting part has been the 25 percent of people that use the search bar to find that local Animal Shelter in their hometown of Wisconsin that they'd give to...couldn't believe that they bought vitamins and were able to give $30 to their local animal shelter on that vitamin company.

That's when we get emails back. A lot of it has come from the companies that we work with actually sending us the emails from their happy customers saying, "Hey, this is really cool."

EVELO & Givz

Armando: Well, along the lines of things that are really cool, let's let the cat out of the bag, if you will. How is it that that we came to be talking on the podcast today?

Andrew: Well, I think that actually the initial piece there was our head of sales, Ben Astin, who reached out to you guys initially. We had just been just starting our cold outreach. I guess we shot off an email and you answered. So thank you for that.

Armando: Well I was impressed with Givz and what you do. So in December, 2019, EVELO will be partnering with Givz and when someone buys an EVELO electric bike during December, we will give that person some Givz money to donate to a charity. Is that the right way to put it?

Andrew: That's right. We're calling it “Givz cash back.” So there's this whole, Shop to Givz, piece of of this. We actually are trying to come up with a - Shop to Givz, I think is what we're going to what we're going to end up settling on.

But yeah, the hope is that you buy the best bike on the market and you in return not only receive the best bike in the market, and I don't know how long shipping takes, but you receive that in short order I'm sure. And then you also get some money to support your favorite charity, which I think is just really cool. I'm super pumped to be working with you guys.

Armando: Andrew, I've enjoyed having you on the podcast. Before we wrap up, is there anything else that you want to say about your company or about giving?

Andrew: Honestly, it's been a pleasure. I really appreciate you taking the time to have me on as a guest and I couldn't be more pumped. We sent a fair number of emails out into the ether and to be connected with brands that truly do care about helping the world, about their customers. It's been a pleasure working with you guys and I'm very excited to see how this goes in December.

Armando: Awesome. Thanks very much. And thank you for listening to this, the Electric Bike Podcast from EVELO.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that all states and territories create mandatory bike helmet laws that would require everyone, child or adult, to wear a bicycle helmet when riding.

Wearing a bicycle helmet could reduce head injuries by 48 percent and serious head injuries by 60 percent, according to Dr. Ivan Cheung, a transportation research analyst at the NTSB.

Leading bicycle advocacy group, The League of American Bicyclists, also encourages “bicyclists to wear helmets and strongly recommends the wearing of helmets that (a) are properly fitted to the rider and (b) meet the bicycle helmet standards of either the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the American Society of Testing and Materials, or the Snell Memorial Foundation.”

Furthermore, in a recent EVELO podcast, we heard that “head injuries are catastrophic and new helmet technology can really reduce the odds of that happening.”

A Controversial Recommendation

The NTSB’s bike helmet recommendation is nonetheless likely to be controversial for several reasons, including the efficacy of bicycle helmets; the difference between a recommendation and a mandate; and the fact that the real problem with bicycle safety may have to do with infrastructure and education, not protective gear.

Helmet Efficacy

Not everyone believes bicycle helmets reduce risk significantly. Take, for example, a recent post on the “Bicycle Dutch” blog.

In the post, Ralph Marrett discusses why Dutch bicyclists tend not to wear bicycle helmets and writes a response to a 2016 Reuters report that said wearing a bike helmet reduces the chance of brain injury by 52 percent (which is even better than the NTSB estimate mentioned above).

“What about the ‘huge reduction (eg. 52 percent) in brain injuries’ that occurs when helmets are worn? Why do we, why do the Dutch, ignore these things and continue to go about our business as if the reduction in brain injuries is not a big deal – after all we are going to be riding bikes for our whole lives,” wrote Marrett.

“Well, just maybe, the Dutch intuitively understand something that the rest of the world appears to be missing…It turns out that, assuming everything else stays the same, the reduction, for example, in the likelihood of traumatic brain injury expected if a helmet is worn over a whole lifetime of riding a bike is ‘rather less than 2 percentage points.’”

“And this is ‘assuming everything else stays the same’-in particular that wearing a helmet does not make an accident more likely, for example by impairing riders’ hearing, or limiting their awareness of their surroundings, or by adversely affecting the behaviour of bike riders or the surrounding traffic, even by what might seem to be a fairly small amount,” Marrett continued, quoting, in part, a 2014 study of traumatic brain injuries in The Netherlands.

According to Marrett and his hand-drawn charts, a Dutch bicyclist has about a 3.1 percent chance of experiencing a traumatic brain injury as the result of a bicycle accident in his or her lifetime. Wearing a bicycle helmet would lower the risk to about 1.5 percent, which is around a 52 percent reduction. But, according the Marrett regardless of whether a helmet is worn or not, the chance of experiencing a brain injury in a bicycle accident is low.

This hand-drawn chart shows that overall risk for a brain injury is relatively low for everyone.

Similarly, in 2010 a British neurosurgeon, Dr. Henry March, said that bicycle helmets are ineffective and may actually cause additional injury, according to a CNET article.

While many experts do recommend wearing a bicycle helmet when you ride, it is clear that Marrett, March, and, frankly, others don’t believe helmets will help. Thus, the potential for controversy.

Recommendation versus Mandate

Earlier, it was mentioned that The League of American Bicyclist recommends that you wear a properly fitting and well made bicycle helmet when you ride. But the organization is not in favor of mandating it.

“We are disappointed with NTSB's decision to endorse mandatory helmet laws for all people who bike,” wrote Laura Jenkins on the League’s website.

It is one thing to encourage a rider to consider a helmet, perhaps, review the research for oneself, and make a decision on your own, but it is entirely different for the government to mandate some piece of safety equipment.

This difference, which is by no means subtle, is also likely to cause a controversy if states begin to act on the NTSB’s recommendation.

The Real Bicycle Safety Concern

Finally, this November 2019 NTSB helmet law recommendation is likely to be controversial because it overshadows what might be the real causes of bicycle accidents.

“The League believes that the safety of people who bike will be best advanced through coordinated improvements to streets and cars,” wrote Jenkins,” rather than laws that may be enforced in discretionary and discriminatory ways.”

This may be especially poignant, because the NTSB itself found that infrastructure was a leading cause of bicycle injury.

“If we do not improve roadway infrastructure for bicyclists, more preventable crashes will happen and more cyclists will die in those preventable crashes, ” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt.

So Should You Wear a Helmet?

Our recommendation is still, yes. You should wear a bicycle helmet. But we would also encourage you not to just take our word for it. Rather, do a bit of research and make a good decision for yourself.

Enviolo sells one of the most advanced bicycle transmissions in the world. And its best trick is that it simply makes riding your electric bike better. That doesn’t mean learning about how a continuously variable transmission works isn’t interesting and engaging, because it is. In fact, that is why we invited David Hancock from Enviolo to join us for The Electric Bike Podcast from EVELO. You can listen to the podcast here and follow along with the transcript below.

Armando: Continuously variable or stepless transmissions are among the most popular features you can find on an electric bike or a conventional bicycle. They're popular because they have a significant impact on how the bike handles and performs, whether you're going up a hill or riding down a long incline.

Now, my name is Armando Roggio and in this episode of The Electric Bike Podcast from EVELO, we're going to speak with David Hancock, who is the managing director of Enviolo, the company that makes many of the continuously variable transmissions that you'll find on our bikes and other electric bicycles. David, hello, and welcome to the podcast.

David: Thank you. Thanks for the invitation.

From Fallbrook Technologies to Enviolo

Armando: So, I'd like to start off real quick by helping the listeners know who you are, in a sense. Could you tell us a little bit about how you got into the bicycle industry and what your background is?

David: Okay. That's not the most straightforward answer, but I'll be happy to share that. So Fallbrook is a company that was founded on a transmission architecture that was not specified or designed specifically for any one application, or any one use case, or one any one industry. The transmission architecture was meant to be industry agnostic, and I came to Fallbrook during the phase when it was not focusing on the bicycle industry. So that's why it's maybe a little bit more coincidental that I do work in the bike industry now.

So I'm an outsider from the bike industry. I have 20 years experience running small divisions or small businesses between 30 and 50 people, that make stuff. They make a product, fix it when it breaks, design it to be better than the competition, sell it, market it, put it in a box, ship it. I don't have experience with big companies, I don't have experience with service companies.

I'm a small company, small product company guy. And I came to be in the bike industry because I was working in a company that made a generator for large freight trucks, and Fallbrook happened to acquire that company. I was a partner in that company, and Fallbrook brought me in and spent about a year, figuring out what do we do with this guy? And about that time, Fallbrook wanted to make a decision about their bike business, so they decided that since David is outside of the bike business, he might have a fresh perspective. But since David is an insider to product businesses and small businesses, he might have a little bit of an advantage there, in that evaluation process.

So, in 2013, I led an evaluation team to decide what to do with Fallbrook's bike business, which is now called Enviolo. And during that evaluation process, we decided that the product was perfect for e-bikes and perfect for high use bikes, like bike sharing bikes, and we went and built a business plan to go and be a European based e-bike company that we executed in 2014.

Living in the Netherlands

Armando: And that's how you ended up in the Netherlands, right?

David: Yes. Originally, I was going to stay in the States and we thought we'd have about one half of our staff in the States and one half in Europe. And I was going to stay in the States and then my wife and I became with child — her a little more than me — and our one and only child was born in 2015.

So here I was, flying back and forth from Austin, Texas to Europe once every six weeks, once every eight weeks, and decided that I just didn't want to keep doing that. If they wanted me to be in a leadership position, that I should move over there or we should phase me out, and I guess you can tell what decision Fallbrook made now, because we've been living here four years. Four years and three months, and are happily integrated into Dutch life.

What is a CVT?

Armando: That's awesome. So let's turn our attention a little bit to Enviolo. Obviously, the product that we use on the bikes we make that a EVELO, is your continuously variable planetary, which we frankly call a continuously variable transmission. Is there a difference between those terms?

David: Yes. A CVP, continuously variable planetary is a specific type of a CVT, a continuously variable transmission. So there are other architecture styles that can achieve a CVT, other than a planetary style. So it just depends on how specific you want to be. All CVPs are CVTs, but not all CVTs are planetary.

Armando: Understood. It's kind of the square and the rectangle thing.

David: A little bit, yeah. Yeah. So there are belt CVTs and there are conical CVTs, and there are other architectural concepts out there.

Armando: So with that in mind, why don't you describe for us a little bit about how the CVPs that your company builds, work?

David: Sure. Our CVT uses balls that have a hole drilled through the middle, and, therefore, an axle can go through the ball. Then there are these arms out to the side that can tilt the ball one way or another. And when it tilts all the way in one direction, we call that underdrive, and that would be a ratio below 1:1.

Then they can also tilt into overdrive, which is a ratio above one-to-one. Our transmission has about 400% in theory, 400% theoretical ratio range. We sell it at about 380% to kind of get it out of the extremes.

So, that means that no matter where we want to set underdrive and overdrive, it needs to stay in about a four-to-one ratio. So if we set underdrive at 0.5, then overdrive is going to be 2.0, considering one-to-one would be, the wheels are spinning at the same speed of transmission spits.

Armando: If I'm thinking of underdrive for example, am I saying that the plate — if plate is the right term — on the side where the force is coming from, if you will, is going faster than the side where the output is. Is that a fair way of looking at it?

David: Yeah. Well, let's just say it really, really layman. Underdrive helps you climb a hill.

Armando: Perfect.

David: So underdrive is going to let your feet and legs go at a faster ratio than the wheel. And then overdrive is the opposite. It's going downhill, where you don't want your legs to be flailing at the same ratio as your wheel speed.

Shifting Under Load

Armando: What is the advantage of this kind of transmission, versus the old gears that I had on my bike, when I was growing up?

David: Yeah. So there are a lot of, let's say, detailed advantages, but macroscopically, there's one giant advantage that is our master unique selling proposition. And that advantage is that we can shift under load. So while power is going through our transmission, we can shift ratios or gears. We don't really have gears, but in that sense.

So, you don't need a clutch, to think of an analogy, on a car. You can move between different ratios, without interrupting the power. While that is nice on a non-electric bike, because your legs are the motor, that becomes incredibly important on an electric bike, because the human can't easily interrupt the power from the engine.

So, that unique selling proposition really creates all kinds of opportunities for it. It makes the product more robust, it makes the product more enjoyable, it makes it have smooth shifting. It makes it have a lot of different things. But, all of those different details that we sell on, that we use as attributes to talk about a product, they really all go back to that one central theme, we can shift under load, under power.

Armando: That makes sense. And that's again one of the reasons that your CVT is often paired with an electric bike.

Manual or Automatic

Armando: Now when it does come to shifting under power, or I guess anytime, you have a couple of options, a manual and an automatic. Talk a little bit about the differences between those two.

David: Sure. So our manual shifter is what you would expect. It has no electronics in it. It has cables that run from the handlebar through the frame of the bike, to the rear wheel, where the transmission is, and when you twist the cable one way or another, it changes the ratios. That is fundamentally the same as all of the competitive products, whether it's a derailleur or an internal gear hub that does have gears and does not have CVT. You turn something on the handle a wire and a cable pushes or pulls a device attached to the transmission, and therefore changes the ratio.

David Hancock with the Enviolo CVT.

 

So our manual shifter does what is sort of expected of bike transmission systems, and has been over the last several decades. We also have an automatic system and that relies on electronics. The difference there is that our electronic system puts a small servo at the rear wheel, which is a little bit like a window lift motor, as far as configuration and power. That servo waits for a signal from the user, and that signal can be a bunch of different ways. It can be from something on the handlebars, it can be from an app, it can be from a third party device. It waits for a signal, and that signal tells our transmission what ratio to go to.

And what does that mean? That means that we can do really cool things. Like, if you want the person's legs to always be at the same RPM, we can monitor wheel speed, we can monitor pedal speed, and then we can always adjust the ratio of the transmission to keep the person at the same cadence, or keep the person's legs at the same RPM.

It's almost like a reverse cruise control. In your car, you set the speed on your cruise control, but the engine varies the RPMs to keep that speed. This is just flipped around. This one, we keep the engine, which is your legs at the same RPM, but we can vary the speed. So if you want to speed up, you just try to peddle a little bit harder and therefore the transmission tries to slow you down, because it's trying to keep your cadence the same and therefore the bike goes faster. And then vice versa, if you slow down your legs, transmission makes it easier to pedal, which keeps your RPM the same, but then the bike where to slow down.

Bluetooth?

Armando: Makes sense. And you mentioned that it could be controlled by an app or third party device. Do you find that, by manufacturer, they're building, I don't know, their own individual way of managing or working with your transmission?

David: Well, that is our hope, and we have started to scratch the surface on that. Our original automatic shifting system didn't have Bluetooth. Our one that's coming out next year in 2020, does have Bluetooth, which creates a little bit more ease of use for controlling our devices by third party.

But to answer your question, some of the e-bike system makers that make the motor and the battery have integrated into their system, where you can control our transmission from the e-bike interface and some haven't. So we are hopeful to be a bit of a trendsetter here with our new product, where there's more third party devices that will choose to integrate because it's easier now.

The Electric Bike Industry

Armando: That makes sense. What about the industry, I guess, as a whole? The electric bike industry is growing, you have a kind of unique perspective on e-bikes and e-bikes growth. From your position, do you in fact believe the industry is growing, and if you do, where do you see some of those growth areas?

David: Well, it's definitely growing. We have lots of syndicated data and third party data to validate that. The e-bike market is growing in the areas of the world where it's most mature. Germany and Holland still has unbelievable growth. And it's growing in the areas of the world where it's a little bit more in its early childhood years, which is North America and France and Italy, and some of those other countries.

That's what's so exciting about about EVELO, is that they are actually part of the shaping of the North American market in that childhood years. But what's been amazing about the e-bike growth is that, usually you don't have a market moving from its early years into its more mature years. You usually don't have that market also have average selling price rising. Usually, when a market matures and more sophisticated competition comes, there also comes price pressure and more and more parts of that market become commoditized and are under price pressure.

Well, what's been amazing, let's just say over the last 10 years of the explosion of the e-bike industry, is that in the last three or four years, the growth has continued, as far as a percentage of year over year growth, with the denominator being so much higher, now that the market's maturing. And the average buy price has stayed the same or gone up.

That's, in my opinion, a result of what e-bikes can do for a family or a person that wants to use that as a transportation option, and the amount of technology that the component companies are putting into e-bikes, that people are willing to pay for.

Armando: Put that in another way. There's a lot of ways where an e-bike is like a bicycle, but in reality, this is really competing for many people as a form of alternative transportation and therefore has more value. They can spend more. Is that a fair summary of what you said?

David: Yeah. Let's actually impact that a little bit differently. I think my words were there's become more and more things that an e-bike can do for someone in their life, and as you said, it can become a different mode of transportation. Well, it actually can replace a bicycle, a scooter, maybe jumping in a taxi, it can replace a car trip. Now with cargo bikes, it actually could replace a commercial trip, which is maybe a delivery of a pizza or delivery of a parcel.

So as e-bikes have have matured, people get to use them in different ways, which has kept the price up, which has also kept the investment up from the component companies, to make them even more cooler and more able to do different stuff. So this wonderful circle going is that, as the bike industry grows, it actually has more use cases for transportation, which furthers more investment and more growth.

First and Last Mile Transportation

Armando: Does first and last mile transportation also play a role in that?

David: Definitely, definitely. That can be from a personal point of view, where I own a bike and it's my personal vehicle. It can be from a bikeshare point of view, where I want to slide that bike into some other aspect of my life. Maybe I dropped my car part of the way, and got a bike share bike for the last part of the way. I take a train a part of the way, take a bike share bike, the last part of the way. And it can also be in a B2B setting. You know, delivering that pizza, delivering that UPS parcel, delivering that Amazon parcel that last mile. So there are several ways that that the last part of the journey being accomplished by an e-bike makes more sense.

External Factors Impacting Electric Bikes

Armando: Do you have any opinions about outside of the industry factors? Maybe changes in the environment or environmentalism, changes in government policy. Do you believe those are also playing a role in electric bike growth?

David: Yeah. I do believe there are some external forces, environmental, social, governmental, that push and pull on the e-bike industry and its growth. The hardest part about that is, as soon as you want to talk about that, someone wants you to be in a prediction role. "Well, what do you think is going to happen?"

That's the most difficult part, is what to predict. Are the government's going to build more infrastructure? What's going to happen to the price of gasoline? Is it going to go down because of drilling technology, or is it going to go up because of taxation and regulation?

Some of that's difficult to see which one of those external forces will influence the future the most. But definitely looking backwards, it's been the price of gasoline, the difficulty of getting down the last mile in congested cities, in highly dense urban environments.

Transforming His Company

Armando: David, you've been very good about describing your product and the industry. Are there some things I didn't ask, that you'd like the listeners to know about your product or the industry more generally?

David: Well, I'll mention a couple of things about our company. Our company has always had a great product. It's been highly durable, it's been very technologically advanced. And it was easy for us to maybe get a little bit lazy there and say, "Well, our product is so good, it'll just sell itself". And two or three years ago, we decided to just throw that assumption out the window and say, "We need to be easy to do business with, and we need to be a great brand, that happens to have a great product".

And that's been something we've been working hard on in our morale, and our culture, and our service levels. What I've found is that, while we're definitely not perfect, is that that switch away from being attribute focused to being a great company, is actually not just a trend that's helping Enviolo to be successful, it's actually a core theme in the e-bike industry.

And we've seen, early on, the people that were winning in the e-bike industries were just the first ones to have a bike or the first ones to have a technology. But as the market starts to mature, the winners in the bike industry are more and more the companies that are easy to do business with, that have great brands, that fix problems if they happen, that take care of their customers.

So, it's been interesting watching what has been a good recipe for us, and a good North star and grounding principle for us, is also what is really separating the middle of the pack companies from the great e-bike companies.

Summing Up

Armando: Absolutely. David, it was a pleasure to have you on the podcast today. I very much appreciate it.

David: Well, thank you so much Armando.

Armando: I also want to thank you, the podcast listeners for joining us today. I hope that you learned something about continuously variable transmissions, and that you in fact liked the podcast so much that you'd share it with your friends and tell them how great the Electric Bike Podcast from EVELO is. I also hope you'll take a few minutes to visit our website at evelo.com E-V-E-L-O .com. I very much appreciate you listening. Have a great rest of your day.

By some estimates riding an electric bike could help you burn 400 calories an hour under the proper conditions. So it is clear that getting on your e-bike is a good way to shed unwanted fat.

Electric bikes are also fun. They can be a very enjoyable alternative to some car trips, and they sure beat spending all day indoors at a desk or watching Gunsmoke reruns on TNT. In fact one of the big benefits of choosing an electric bike as your medium, if you will, for weight loss, is that you are, perhaps, more likely to actually ride an e-bike then say run a mile or slide on lycra shorts and head to the local gym.

What follows are five tips to help you lose weight riding an electric bike. Also, it is always a good idea to see your doctor and ensure you’re fit enough for cycling. Your doctor may also be able to recommend dietary changes.

Tip No. 1: Your Diet Matters

To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you ingest. You can do this by increasing your physical activity — this is where riding an electric bike comes in — or reducing how much you eat.

You will probably be most successful if you do both — eating less and exercising more.

Eating less doesn’t, however, mean you have to be hungry. Often you can be just as full eating healthy foods like fruit and vegetables and avoiding processed foods, fast food, and fatty foods. You can speak with your doctor for specific dietary recommendations, and here are a few diet suggestions.

  • Eat four or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
  • Replace refined grains with whole grains.
  • Reduce fat intake, but do eat avocados and nuts.
  • Reduce or eliminate sugar.
  • Cut back on dairy products, since these cause inflammation.
  • Reduce meat consumption.

Tip No. 2: Aim to Lose 1 or 2 Pounds Each Week

“It may seem obvious to set realistic weight-loss goals. But do you really know what's realistic? Over the long term, it's best to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Generally to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day, through a lower calorie diet and regular physical activity.”

For your electric bike weight-loss plan, take the Mayo Clinic’s advice and give yourself a reasonable weight-loss goal.

Tip No. 3: Ride for 300 Minutes

It is going to take more than a casual trip around the block to burn fat and lose weight. Our recommendation is that you try riding for about 300 minutes per week.

You should break your time up into three or four rides. If you commute to work, try taking your e-bike a couple times each week. If you watch the grandkids on the weekend take a two-hour ride through your local park system or greenbelt.

If you need to start with 45 minutes per week and build up to 300 minutes that is fine too.

“Electric bikes offer riders a high degree of control over the level of physical exertion required to ride, making them particularly helpful for anybody who would like to become more fit, but who may need to gradually and carefully ease into increased physical activity,” wrote Boris and Yevgeniy Mordkovich in Chapter 3 of The Complete Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide.

Tip No. 4: Find Reasons to Ride

You will need motivation. If you’re going to ride your way to fitness, you will need a reason to get on your electric bike.

For example, you can commit to riding to the grocery store instead of driving. You’ll save money, improve the environment, and have a reason to ride. If you need almond milk, get on your e-bike. Want to pick up some cauliflower, zucchini, and eggplant for a Thai green curry? Get on your bike.

Maybe you have a family vacation coming up at the beach. Imagine your fit, thin self wiggling your toes in the sand as you pose for a group photo. Think of how good you will look on Facebook. Or imagine the opposite. How will it be if you don’t lose the weight? Your picture will still end up on Facebook, there will just be more of you.

Tip No. 5: Ride Year Around

Fitness is a year around activity. Many folks ride electric bikes in all sorts of weather and at all sorts of temperatures. Be one of these folks. You may need a little extra gear, and you will want to make sure you plan your rides, but don’t be afraid to ride in all sorts of weather.

Yes. Regularly riding an electric bike should help you lose weight.

There are many examples of e-bike riders who have lost significant amounts of weight riding with pedal assistance, including Rhonda Martin who famously used an electric bike to lose 270 pounds.

In general, riding an electric bike burns about as many calories as walking briskly. But the pedal assistance and speed can make riding your e-bike a lot of fun. When something is fun, you are more likely to do it.

Many Aspects of Weight Loss

Of course, riding your electric bike is not a panacea. Weight loss often comes as the result of several behavioral changes. You need to change how you think about your body composition. Change the food (fuel) you consume, and change what you do (how you exercise).

Change How You Think

Tony Robbins, the famous life coach and motivational speaker, describes what he calls “The Six Master Steps to Change.”
  1. “Decide what you really want and what’s preventing you from having it now.” If you really want to lose weight, make that your priority. List out all of the things that are stopping you from achieving your weight loss goals.
  2. “Get leverage: associate massive pain to not changing now and massive pleasure to the experience of changing now.” When you think about the behaviors that are stopping you from losing weight associate them in your mind with painful situations. When you think about actions that will help you lose weight, like riding an electric bike, think about the fun you will have riding, being outdoors, and spending time with friends.
  3. “Interrupt the limiting pattern.” If it’s your habit to sit down and watch three hours of Fox News every night, stop. Actually scream out loud when you start to turn the television on.
  4. “Create a new, empowering alternative.” After you have screamed, go get on your electric bike and take a 45-minute ride. Replace your tv-watching habit with a behavior that will help you achieve your weight loss goal.
  5. “Condition the new patten until it’s consistent.” Here you want to form a habit of your new, weight-loss friendly activity.
  6. “Test it.” Does your new behavior actually help you drop pounds? If not, modify it and try again. You will be programming yourself for weight loss success.

Change What You Eat

It will be almost impossible to lose weight without changing your diet. But you need to be careful. There are many fad diets that will help you lose weight short term, but which may not be the best health choices overall. Take a little time to research health eating. Talk to your doctor about a healthy diet. And ask hard questions about the diet plans you are presented with.

Change What You Do

Finally, you also need to get more exercise. This is where riding an electric bike can help. You don’t have to treat your rides like a vigorous workout to be successful, rather ease into exercise. Commit to taking a three bike rides of 45 minutes each every week. Just enjoy getting out. Build a passion for riding, and the weight will come off.

Electric bikes will be given more access to U.S. public lands. That was the U.S. Department of Interior's August 2019 directive to the various land-managing agencies it oversees. But what exactly does that mean for e-bike riders?

As Noa Banayan, federal affairs manager at People for Bikes, explains, it could mean different things for each class of electric bicycle at each individual park, dam, or recreation area. So while this is good news for the electric bike community, it is nuanced. Noa took a few minutes to explain this new policy on The Electric Bike Podcast from EVELO. You can listen to that podcast and follow along with the transcript below.

People for Bikes

Armando Roggio: In August, 2019, the US Department of Interior laid out a framework that could allow folks riding electric bicycles, greater access to public land. Including lands managed by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. This could be great news for those of us who ride electric bikes.

My name is Armando Roggio and in this episode of The Electric Bike Podcast from EVELO, we're going to speak with Noa Banayan, who is the federal affairs manager at People for Bikes. Noa, thank you so much for being with us.

Noa Banayan: Yes, thanks for having me.

Armando Roggio: Noa, would you tell us a little about yourself and then describe what you do for People for Bikes?

Noa Banayan: Sure. Well, my name's Noa. I am based in DC. I've been working in policy for three years now and about only the past six months have been with People for Bikes. I am our federal affairs manager, so I have the past six months been learning anything and everything that has to do with federal policies pertaining to bicycles. Bicycle funding, how States get funding from the federal government. And a lot of that has been on the recreation side too. So, figuring out where we're bikes are allowed on public lands and of course the distinction between conventional bikes and electric bikes.

Armando Roggio: What is your organization's purpose or what is People for Bikes, "reason to be", if you will?

Noa Banayan: Our goal is to make every bike ride better and to make it a better experience for all people who choose to ride their bikes. We are a trade association for the bicycle industry, so our membership on that side are, bike companies and bicycle product accessories, dealers, suppliers, retailers. But we also have a foundation that has ... we have a grassroots network of over a million supporters across the country and our foundation does a lot. We offer grants to small projects that relate to biking and more advocacy too.

Electric Bike Access

Armando Roggio: The work People for Bikes does, particularly advocating for bikes, is one of the reasons that I asked you to join us, Noa. As you well know, on August 30th the US Department of Interior released a memorandum related to electric bike usage. Would you please talk a little about that, describe what it is and then maybe start to speak about its impact?

Noa Banayan: Absolutely. So yes, on August 30th, the Department of Interior put out a secretarial order. Basically this order, coming from the secretary of himself, Secretary Bernhardt, was a directive to the land management agencies within the Department of Interior. And I'll get into, the agencies and their separate missions in a minute. But the directive was, here's a framework for increasing access for e-bikes on our public lands.

Here are the ways that you can discern access on different types of infrastructure, whether that's a bike lane on a road, in a national park, or a national surface singled trail within BLM. Regardless of where it is, here are the tools that we are offering you and the framework that we're offering for each of these land management agencies to create their own policies for access and to decide where and what kinds of e-bikes are allowed on their biking opportunities. And because that was coming from the secretary of interior, that was a directive to the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Armando Roggio: Maybe define or describe those agencies. What are the different sorts of lands they manage?

Noa Banayan: Sure. So National Park Service, of course, national parks all around. They actually came out with their own policy, their interim policy, the same day on August 30th, wanting to lead the charge on this. So of course, major public lands in national parks, there aren't a lot of mountain biking experiences necessarily. Not a lot of natural surface single track. A lot more roads, gravel roads, fire roads, things like that where you might have a mountain biking experience but a lot more paved trails that you'll find in national parks.

Bureau of Land Management is the other really big one for mountain biking, and if you talk to any mountain biker, they'll have their favorite BLM spot. There's a lot of natural surface single track opportunities and experiences that you can find in BLM lands and those are mostly out West. The Fish and Wildlife Service has national wildlife refuges with some biking opportunities, and the Bureau of Reclamation is mostly known in the and the biking community for their reservoirs and sort of rim trails around the reservoirs. Again, mostly out west where their bike infrastructure has been built.

Individual Policies

Armando Roggio: Each of these agencies needs to create policies for electric bikes. Would you talk about those policies and what someone who wants to ride an electric bike on public lands can expect.

Noa Banayan: Within the secretarial orders from August 30th, there was a brief timeline that they originally put out. So by September 12th, these agency had to at least begin the process of figuring out their interim policy, what is the law of the land until we go through a broader process. What that process looks like is up to each agency. And it really comes down to the land managers and the superintendents of these pieces of land. So superintendents for national parks, land managers for other public land units, and they have a lot of authority over these policies because one national park is going to be very different from another, same with any parcel of land and their BLM or Fish and Wildlife. So giving the authority to each local manager to discern what process would take place in their unit.

It's something that we've seen a lot of. Maybe not a lot, but at least several public lands units, especially within the park service, recently put out there. Let's see, I have a list here of some of them, I think Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Bryce Canyon, Acadia, they've all sort of put out some of their own policies to manage e-bike access and discern, "Well, maybe we want class ones and maybe class two and three, they're not going to be okay on this national surface. But class one is allowed." So, we are expecting probably within the next few days to see what these finalized processes will look like, where there's going to be opportunity for public comment because part of the secretarial order was ensuring that these policies are subject to public notice and comment. And that's really important to us too. And in that we definitely spent a lot of these advocates and companies that wants to do right by their riders.

So making sure that the folks who actually are going to be writing in those areas, the local mountain biking community or e-biking community, I'm sure that will be a growing thing too in these days, has their opportunity to weigh in and say, "Well, we think class one would be awesome on this surface, but maybe not class two and three." But gravel road, it's a bit wide. We can put them all out there. There's more room and so that's the process we're in right now. We know that land managers and these agencies are busy collecting a lot of information from lots of their local communities, their riders, their local advocacy groups. Demoing e-bikes even. You have to ride an e-bike to know what it's all about. Right? So that's where we're at right now.

Electric Bike Class Recognized

Armando Roggio: Noa, it's interesting as you mentioned, the electric bike classes, -- class one, class two and class three -- that these definitions were recognized by the Department of Interior, is that correct?

Noa Banayan: Yep, they were.

Armando Roggio: You mentioned that some agencies are trying to decide when a class two electric bike will be allowed access to a given trail. Now, primarily the difference, as the listeners of our podcasts probably know, is that the class two electric bike has a throttle.

Now, many if not most, class two electric bikes are not some kind of commercial vehicle, but rather riders, many riders, especially new riders or riders with physical limitations or even older riders choose class two because it's easier to start from a dead stop and then pedal once the bike is moving. Or it can be a safety mechanism, if you get tired or if you get injured. In fact, limiting someone to class one when that's the only difference might be a form of age discrimination, right? So your organization, People for Bikes, are you trying to communicate with these agencies and explain some of the subtle differences that might not be perfectly clear from a technical definition of the classes?

Noa Banayan: Absolutely. We've been engaged in what has really been a public process for almost five years now. Each of these land management agencies, they know about e-bikes, they know there are people that want to ride them and they know that they require a certain amount of nuance and understanding how they work, where they make sense and who is using them. We have been participating in these round tables with several of these agencies alongside a lot of our partners and advocacy mainly to offer technical assistance and understanding the three different class systems, because it can get a little complicated if you're new to the e-bike world. And making sure that land managers that want to demo these bikes, have the opportunity. So we've even put on some demo events over the past few years.

Not the Wild West

Armando Roggio: That letter you sent to agencies, I believe you shared a copy with me too. It had some recommendations. Do you want to mention those?

Noa Banayan: Sure. And I'll just clarify. The letter I had shared with you is something we sent early August before this policy was announced. This was just to make our position clear as we had heard that this policy was something that would be coming soon from the Department of Interior. So, right. So we sent a letter up to Secretary Bernhardt, as well as the Forest Service, which you'll note I haven't been talking about. Forest Service falls under the Department of Agriculture. So while there's fantastic recreation opportunities in Forest Service land, it doesn't apply to this policy. So while that's a separate issue, our position doesn't necessarily change between DOI and then the US Forest Service. So, right. So, that letter that we sent up is just clarifying our position at the federal level, clarifying what we had been advocating for at the state level for the past five years or so too. And so trying to keep that consistent as to where we believe e-bikes should go on federal public lands.

Armando Roggio: So this new policy or new framework for electric bike policies, it clearly doesn't allow complete access to public lands. You can't just go out and start riding across the wilderness, right?

Noa Banayan: Right. I guess I've been so focusing on what the policy does, say it is really important in this specific issue to talk about what it doesn't say and what it doesn't mean. Because you're right, there has been a lot of misinformation, and I think there was a big media frenzy right after the announcement. Basically just saying that, "E-bikes are going to be allowed on all public lands everywhere right now." Which couldn't be farther from the truth. I stand by how I explained it before, that secretarial order was a directive. It provided a framework. It didn't say, "Okay, now the Grand Canyon is fully open to e-bikes, all classes, right now."

And so a part of what we've been doing in the past 30 days or so is making sure that distinction is very clear because it is pretty nuanced. Makes it harder to describe, but I think makes it really important so that all the sensitivities that come with mountain biking access and e-mountain bikes, and e-bikes are heard and considered. And part of the conversation.

Environmental Impacts

Armando Roggio: Noa, you mentioned the media coverage around this directive. One aspect of that coverage is centered around environmental impact. Some have argued that allowing electric mountain bikes, for example, on some trails will harm the environment. Did you want to speak to that a bit?

Noa Banayan: I can talk a little bit to that, sure. So we have ... and I can share them with you, but on our e-bikes information page in our website, we have links to some studies that have been done that have addressed that that concern, at least for class one e-bikes and e-mountain bikes. And basically the findings were that that class one e-mountain bikes don't have impacts to the natural surface, to the trails themselves, environmental impacts that are different from a conventional bike. I recently heard it referred to as an acoustic bike instead of an electric bike. And I also really like that distinction. So I keep thinking of that, but that's what those studies have found.

I think we can all agree that more studies wouldn't hurt, especially as it comes to class two and three and even more than the environmental impact, but the social impacts. And what is it like to have a trail where there are lot of e-bikes and e-mountain bikes even where conventional bikes have only been allowed for the past so many years. So we're definitely supportive of more information there. But for now our concerns are more on the social impacts than the environmental impacts, at least as it relates to class one.

Social Impacts

Armando Roggio: So what are some of the social impacts? Are these concerns about congestion? Or are there concerns about speed? What are the social impacts?

Noa Banayan: Yeah, I think that's what most people would say. Especially, your hardcore public lands bikers and mountain bikers. The idea that something might be passing you that has more power than maybe your legs alone does. I guess, it's a change. It's a shifting paradigm of how we ride on our public lands. I mean, I'll tell you from someone who has ridden an e-bike in these places and conventional bikes, it's not that different. It's really not. And congestion I understand is a concern. But I ride the C&O canal trail starting in Washington DC almost every weekend. And I don't see a lot of e-bikes on there to be honest. But it is a national park. It is very congested already, but that's pedestrians and cyclist alone.

So class one doesn't go above 20 miles an hour, and class two we know also maxes out at 20 miles an hour. With the throttle of course might be a little shocking to see someone move on a bike that isn't peddling.

But I don't think that's going to knock anyone off their bike. Class three maxes out at 28 miles an hour. And these are all speeds that anyone who regularly rides a bike can reach. Maybe 28's a little on the high end, but at least 20 miles an hour. You're on a flat roadway or going down a hill, you can reach that on your own. So I don't think that there will be a huge social impact when it comes to putting e-bikes where they make sense in our public lands.

Electric Bike Benefits

Armando Roggio: Noa, you mentioned that a strong or maybe just a good cyclist can reach 20 miles per hour or more without a motor. One of the great benefits I think of an electric bike is that it can be a leveler. You can find a balance between riders. I had been on rides or with riders where I might be the strongest one in the group, and I was able to turn down or turn off the pedal assistance, and we all rode together enjoying each other's company. And I have been the weakest rider, so that I had to turn up the pedal assistance to keep up. What do you think about that idea? What are some of the other benefits of an electric bike and do we include different social groups with electric bikes with this sort of policy we've been discussing?

Noa Banayan: Absolutely. And I think that's one of the things we're most excited about, is opening up access to these incredible public lands, basic riding experiences and landscapes that so many people wouldn't have access to without a little boost in their pedal.

E-bikes, they're the fastest growing sector of the bike industry and the main purchaser of an e-bike, the demographics, are baby boomers. So knowing that our baby boomers are either ditching a car or deciding to go further into a national park or a public land near them, they're getting more exercise. That's awesome. They're staying active. They're helping actually reduce congestion in parts where traffic may have been really heavy near a trail head or a visitor center by being able to go a little bit further without having to worry about having the energy or the ability to make it back. So being able to expand these opportunities so grandma can come for the ride, or a person who might not be able to push a bike in normal way.

Like you were saying, class two, the throttle makes it great for folks who might not be able to just get it started for whatever reason. We think that it is expanding those opportunities and creating more access for great rides is so important. And that's what e-bikes are really for. I mean if you just want to go fast, that's great too. We don't have any problem with that, but knowing that more people are going to get out in our public lands, experience why they're so special because of an e-bike. I think that's the best story out there.

Armando Roggio: This may sound funny, but I think an industry can make you feel good about what you do. And I think the electric bike industry is one of those. We are helping folks reduce car trips, enjoy the outdoors and stay relatively more healthy. It's just a good feeling to be involved with electric bikes. I hope you agree with that.

Noa Banayan: I sure do. I wouldn't still be here if I didn't, but I fully agree. Yeah. I think so many people are seeing our public lands through their nose pressed against the window of their car. And e-bikes are going to be the thing that changes that so you can actually smell the air around you and feel what's so special about them.

An Ongoing Effort

Armando Roggio: You've really given us a good overview of this framework and some of the resulting policies. Are there any things that I haven't asked about that are important for the listeners to know about this directive?

Noa Banayan: Sure, yeah. So like I said, this is an ongoing process. E-bike access opened up on August 30th on all public lands. And it's still going to take some time for your local BLM unit or your favorite national park to figure out exactly where and how bikes are going to have access in their lands. If you want to stay updated on how that process moves and be able to offer your input. I highly recommend checking out our website at PeopleforBikes.org, all one word. And signing up to stay alert on e-bikes. We have a specific e-bike news list that we've been updating with these announcements and as we hear from more parks units and other lands units, we'll be making sure that our lists are aware of opportunities they have to use their voice to talk about e-bikes.

And I just want to again highlight, it's awesome that the government's coming around to something that is being used and being integrated into so many of our lives with e-bikes. The fact that we are finally getting the federal definition as it relates to access right now, all of we've got before this policy was the consumer safety product commissions definition of an e-bike, which has nothing to do with where can anybody go. So this first step in making access more available to more people on bikes, it's not something we should take lightly and it's certainly something we're excited about and excited to see how it goes.

Armando Roggio: Noa, thank you so much for being on the podcast with me.

Noa Banayan: Thanks so much for having me.

Armando Roggio: I also want to thank you for listening to this, The Electric Bike Podcast from EVELO. I hope you learned something about this new US Department of Interior directive, and I hope you'll continue to pay attention to the policies impacting electric bikes. I would also like you to check out The Complete Electric Bike Buyer's Guide on the EVELO website. While you are there you can also get a free bike, fit consultation. Thank you again. Take care.

Electric bikes could enable a seven percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. For this to happen, Americans will need to replace many short car trips and commutes with e-bike trips.

“Most urban trips are less than 5 kilometers ; a short enough distance that it can be traveled by e-bikes and e-scooters in roughly the same amount of time as personal vehicles,” according to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), a New York-based cycling and alternative transportation advocacy group.

“Thanks to the boost in speed from electricity, these devices can cover more ground faster than traditional, non-electric bikes and scooters. Replacing cars presents significant climate benefits: if the mode share for e-bikes rises to 11 percent, we could see a 7-percent decrease in CO2 emissions from the urban transport sector by 2030, which is equivalent to taking 134 million cars off the road. Up to 50 percent of short-distance car trips in US cities, and up to 70 percent in UK cities, could be replaced by electric micromobility modes,” again according to the ITDP.

 

What Cities Can Do

The ITDP comments accompanied the release of a new informational graphic that outlines five steps city leaders can take to help encourage electric bike and e-scooter use. Here are the ITDP recommendations.
  1. Legalize electric bikes and scooters. Before there can be a significant increase in the number of electric bike and scooter trips, these modes of transportation must be legal. City administrators should regulate e-bikes like bicycles so that no license or insurance is required.
  2. Set speed limits and clearly mark lanes. The ITDP believes there should be standard speed limits and clearly marked bicycle and scooter paths.
  3. Design for micromobility. “Ensure cycle lanes are protected and form a complete network, safely accommodating low-speed e-bike and e-scooter riders in addition to pedal cyclists.”
  4. Manage bike and scooter sharing. E-bike ownership is important, but there should be ride sharing too. City leaders should work with electric bike and e-scooter sharing companies to ensure scooters and bikes are parked safely.
  5. Monitor to measure and improve. City leaders should monitor how many electric bike trips, e-scooter trips, and even automobile trips are being taken. As new programs and policies are tested or implemented the results should be measured to further improve transportation and reduce carbon emissions.
The ITDP infographic

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