Meet Ryan Hersh, Atlanta's Head Pedal Pusher

This bike creator hopes to offer Atlanta a salve for its traffic woes.

Atlanta is infamous for its traffic—"Baby Driver,"anyone?—but Edison Electric Bike Co. has a bright idea on how to change that. Creator Ryan Hersh is blazing the trail, and he slowed down long enough to chat about speed and Southern hospitality. Take a joy ride on an Edison for yourself inside Citizen Supply inside Ponce City Market or at Edison's shop in Kirkwood.

Ryan Hersh, founder of Edison Electric Bike Co.
Ryan Hersh, founder of Edison Electric Bike Co. (©Edison Electric Bike Co.)

Where is your favorite place to ride in Atlanta?

I love my city. It’s hard to pick just one place. Making use of [PATH Trails] and Atlanta BeltLine networks is incredible. I can get from my home in Kirkwood to Ponce City Market in minutes. A few more minutes on the Beltline and 10th Street and I’m on the Westside—trips that would otherwise take forever by car.

How do you imagine our city in 10 years?

We’re doing a lot right, which is reflected in our matchless population growth. Regarding transport; previous generations developed an infrastructure that was all about getting people in/out of the city. I see a bright future that is going to prioritize Atlanta’s inhabitants while likely disincentivizing car commuting. Communities will be more dense and rich with diversity, culture and Southern hospitality. I’m honored to be a part of it!

What makes an Edison Bicycle unique?

Integration. All electric bikes have three components that make them 'electric:' battery, motor and controller.

What really makes Edison special is that we started with those components and built an amazing bike around them. The result is a sleek, polished and unassuming electric bike. Another point of note is that Edison is assembled with love, right here in the Atlanta.

How does pedaling on an electric bike compare to a traditional bike?

Empowering, You have to try one! You get all of the joys of riding a traditional bicycle, but Edison gives you the freedom to go farther and the power to get there faster. A recent Edison customer best said it: 'It makes Atlanta as flat as a pancake!' Riding an Edison is the exercise equivalent to a brisk walk.

Bridge to Atlanta BeltLine at Ponce City Market
Bridge to Atlanta BeltLine at Ponce City Market (©Jamestown)

Are there places that electric bike riders should avoid?

Nope! Edison’s purpose is to go where others can’t. They’re also great for covering the first/last mile when using MARTA.

Edison rider and Atlanta skyline
Edison rider and the Atlanta skyline (©Edison Electric Bicycle Co.)

What is the best element of an Edison?

Integration and quality components. Our goal was to build something that people can rely on and love. We wanted to do this while keeping costs in check.

What is a common misconception about electric bikes?

I frequently get asked the question, 'Why would I want a bike that I don’t have to pedal?' It’s simple. We’re selling transportation. I contend that these bikes are the fastest way to move about our great city.

Here in the U.S., bikes are often stigmatized as a recreational novelty; we want to reposition that to be viable means of transport first and foremost. Because of this, I was very hesitant to even use the word 'bicycle' in our name.

A closer look at an Edison's handlebars
A closer look at an Edison's handlebars (©Edison Electric Bike Co.)

Additionally, our primary target market isn’t current bike commuters; it’s all the car-caged folks that would adopt an alternative, provided it’s convenient and affordable. One last point and I’ll hop off my soapbox here; Atlanta is doing an excellent job in making biking and bike safety a priority. We’re investing heavily in bike/pedestrian infrastructure, but we’re not making Atlanta any flatter. Edison removes the final hurdle.

How far can an Edison travel?

Twenty to 30 miles on a single charge. Charging takes 4 hours on a standard wall outlet and costs a dime in electricity.

An Edison rider breaks for coffee with a friend
An Edison rider breaks for coffee with a friend. (©Edison Electric Bike Co.)