SunPedal Riders Stop in Chicago on an Epic Cross-Country Ride to Promote Solar
By Kevin Borgia
Many of us in the renewables business enjoy biking and the outdoors, but rarely do you meet people willing to pedal over mountains, prairies and deserts to promote solar.
But that’s what Sushil Reddy and Luis Fourzan are doing right now as they chart a course across the interior of the US. In a little over four months, they plan to ride across at least 21 states on their solar-powered eBike. Their circuitous route began in North Carolina, then up to New York and across the Appalachians to Chicago, where ISEA caught up with them a few weeks ago.
“The idea is to raise awareness about solar energy, electric mobility and sustainability in general,” says Sushil. “We’re also having conversations with people along the way, and these kind of conversations are really what the ride is all about.”
This isn’t the pair’s first cross-country ride on an eBike, they previously rode across Iceland and France, and Sushil completed a similar ride across his home country India.
The custom-made bike includes two, 50kW Sunpower modules, a 400 watt-hour battery and a 750 watt front-mounted electric motor. “All in, I can get about 70 miles on a nice sunny day,” Sushil says.
After leaving Chicago, they headed to Minneapolis, then it’s on to Seattle, San Francisco, LA, San Diego and Texas. (See approximate route above.)
These guys are no strangers to solar, Sushil previously worked in solar engineering in India before going to business school in Paris. Similarly, Luis has worked as a Sustainability Consultant in his native Mexico as well as other countries.
With sponsors including Mitsubishi Power, Pittsburgh-based solar developer Oriden, Octopus Energy and others, they have been able to bankroll their trip across the country. And thanks to their partnership with Radisson Hotels, they were able to bunk up at the stunning Radisson Aqua Hotel. Not bad accommodation for a bike tour!
Still, all these things cost money, so interested people can donate to their trip on PayPal at: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/thesunpedalride
And although they were only in Chicago for a single “rest day,” they did get to see some of the city. Aside from meeting with ISEA Board Member Kevin Borgia and Contractor Anson Moran (both big bikers), they also met with Divvy and the Active Transportation Alliance, and of course fueled up with some Deep Dish Pizza.
Says Sushil, “It’s been a good experience. It’s a very bike-friendly city!”
Watch Sushil describe how the bike works in the video linked here!