May 20, 2010 -- Today is National Bike to Work Day.
The day has been observed on the third Friday of May since 1956. The effort started as a way to promote the bicycle as a viable way to get to work.
Bicycles may be cleaner than gas-guzzling automobiles, but who wants to go into work after breaking a sweat on a bike?
Enter the electric bike.
Jason Kraft, who sells bicycle conversion kits, said today on "Good Morning America" that electric bikes are a viable alternative for people who want to cruise into work and then pedal home. He pointed out that electric bikes can actually be pedaled while their motors are running.
"E-biking" can be a fun, eco-friendly way to travel. While U.S. sales of electronic bikes may be modest, they're estimated to rise.
Pike Research, a Colorado-based firm that conducts market analysis, estimates that U.S. sales of electronic bicycles will likely hit 1 million by 2016.
Kraft said electric bike use would allow people of all ages and physical abilities to go green and commute.
Electric bikes are already an $11 billion industry, according to The New York Times.
Electric Bikes Worldwide Reports, an industry publication, estimates that 24 million electric bikes are made and sold each year. The worldwide number is expected to reach 100 million by 2020.
E-bikes are particularly popular in the Netherlands, Japan and Australia. They've long been a phenomenon in China, which has 120 million electric vehicles on its roads, according to the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.
Consumers who use electric bikes instead of cars can save at least $1,400 each year, Kraft said.
E-Bikes Are Widely Available in the U.S.
An average of 25 gallons of fuel is saved for every 500 miles that an electric bike is used instead of a car, according to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Kraft's kits cost about $399.
Walmart, Amazon.com and Best Buy have already gotten into the e-bike business online. Best Buy even carries kits in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.
If you'd like more information about bike to work events in your area, visit the League of American Bicyclists or click HERE.