Douglas Benton

Co-owner, Wheels 4 Tomorrow, Alcoa

You opened a high-tech bike shop with your wife Trysh nine weeks ago—how's it going?

Our bike for rent service has been terrible. We wish we could get more people off the couch and onto our bikes. But people love the chainless technology—I've sold nine chainless and eight battery-assisted or battery-powered bikes since we opened, and that's blowing me away.

What exactly is a chainless bike?

Okay, a 21- or 24-speed bike has a thing called a derailer that changes the chain from one sprocket to another. These go out of adjustment very frequently, maybe once or twice a year.

But your bikes don't have chains?

Correct. They have a shaft drive like a BMW motorcycle. And they don't require any follow-up maintenance.

But you don't get as many gears?

They have seven gears that span the range—that's 90 percent of the range of a 24 speed bicycle.

Do people mostly ride them around town?

They take them in the mountains, too.

What do you mean by "battery assisted?"

Battery assisted is a bicycle you have to pedal for it to help you. So it doesn't help going downhill, but it pulls you up the hill. We've also sold some battery-powered three-wheel trikes with big baskets on the back to little old ladies who say they'll ride to Wal-Mart and do their shopping. For those, you can hold your feet up in the air, twist the throttle and go about 18 miles an hour.

Are you constantly recharging batteries?

You can go about 30-35 miles on one charge of the battery.

Can you ride the battery-powered bikes in the mountains?

No, just around town.

Do you still ride a traditional bike?

Oh no, never again. I'm selling my Trek—practically giving it away—for $100. I'm all chainless now.

Corrected: Price of bike