Independence drive

Hancock man objects to reliance on oil by riding his electric bicycle

For Carl Karush, patriotism involves a simple, four-letter word: bike. The 60-year-old Hancock resident will tell you that he is fed up with paying exorbitant gasoline prices, so he has adopted a method that saves him nearly $8 each week: He rides his bicycle to work. But Karush’s bike isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill, foot-to-pedal gadget. When Carl sits on his bike, he sits on an electric bike.

Electric bikes work by assisting a rider’s pedaling with a small motor attached to the frame. The average rider pedals 10 mph on a regular bike. With a motor, that same rider can expect to go 15-20 mph, according to an industry Web site. This isn’t a moped – federal law defines an electric bicycle as any bicycle with a maximum speed less than 20 mph. The average moped has a top speed of 30 mph.

Karush’s reasons for riding an electric bicycle go beyond saving money, though that’s icing on the cake. On the rear of his bicycle, his mantra is displayed. A pole protruding from the rear wheel grasps two flags: the flag of the United States and a flag that proclaims “Freedom Ride” above a crossed out icon of a gas pump. Freedom from dependence on oil drives Karush to ride his bike.

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