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Invasion of the E-bikes!

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Invasion of the E-bikes!

Old 10-07-19, 10:08 AM
  #1  
FlashBazbo
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Invasion of the E-bikes!

Funny experience this weekend. In our area, I'm not sure any of us had ever seen an e-bike. But this weekend, a bunch of us traveled to a very nice organized ride through the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee. GREAT place to ride.

One of the surprises was the number of e-bikes participating. Again, none of us had ever seen one in the wild, so it was a bit of a curiosity. No big deal. Not offended in any way. Just different. Until . . . one of our crew was having a rough day. We came up on one of the steeper climbs and he was having a hard time hanging with the group. A couple of us accelerated around a couple other bikes on the climb but, before the guy having a rough day could get around them, they accelerated away from him. It seemed effortless . . . and it blew his mind. As if he weren't having a hard enough time, this just buried him. He's not accustomed to being dropped on climbs. (He didn't realize they were on e-bikes.)

Eventually, about 10 miles later, he passed the e-bikes on a flat portion and realized they were e-bikes. He's no luddite, but after being dropped by them (thinking they were regular bikes), let's just say he didn't express appreciation for the type.

Again -- I'm not offended by people using e-bikes. But I was pretty surprised so many of them showed up for an organized metric+ bike ride. None of those riding them were geezers. In fact, most appeared to be in their 20's or early 30's. It definitely challenged my presuppositions about who uses e-bikes and how they use them.
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Old 10-07-19, 10:13 AM
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If I ever had an ebike I would totally pace people up climbs as a public service
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Old 10-07-19, 10:24 AM
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My experience was seeing a maybe 250 lbs gentleman using one in the French Ballones (spelling?) mountains. I was just cruising up at a a chill tempo and passed e-bike guy. That guy could enjoy and make it around with that thing, when otherwise he couldn't. I felt good knowing he could share the experience that lovely day.

Someone having a tough day climbing an un-assisted bike might be ascending at only like 4mph. I couldn't in good reason say an e-bike couldn't go on by at 8mph or something because I'm toasted.

What makes is suck is that there will always be the dual nature of e-bikes:

-a world in which they are infinitely util for a user

-a world in which there are always people who relish in achievements for which they did not do any real work

That dual nature means these conversations are always fun.
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Old 10-07-19, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
if i ever had an ebike i would totally pace people up climbs as a public service
ftw 😃
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Old 10-07-19, 10:36 AM
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Old 10-07-19, 10:48 AM
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other good ebike tricks: pacing people on the flats, then slowly accelerating and seeing if peoples instincts kick in and you start a keirin race
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Old 10-07-19, 11:08 AM
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Had an e-bike with us in the front pack at a recent charity ride. Dude was in his 60s and partially disabled, the e-bike allowed him to still get out and ride and hang with a pretty fast group. I was still able to drop him, but overall he did really well. I loved that it allowed him to still enjoy cycling and stay active.
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Old 10-07-19, 11:17 AM
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Us ebikers refer to everyone else as dino bikes, acoustic bikes, or people in clown suits
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Old 10-07-19, 11:42 AM
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I don't get the getting pissed off cause you got passed by someone on an e-bike. What's the big deal? Is it that he thinks that people will not realize that other bike was motorized and that he is just really slow?
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Old 10-07-19, 11:51 AM
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I foresee a day when group rides (although not mass participation rides) will be categorized as either ebike inclusive or specifically excluded. The egos must be protected.

On a related note, I am told my Orbea M30 arrives this Thursday; looking forward to the sneers and other sordid glances.
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Old 10-07-19, 11:58 AM
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Quite a few of the Strava KOM's near my place are/were held by a ebike. When I first moved to this area I was browsing around the Strava scene and kept seeing the same name on top of the leaderboards. I learned later on that the fast guy is actually a mediocre rider on a $7000 electric Domane. I've been doing my damnedest to take as many of those KOM's as possible, but there are a few that, try as I may, just can't quite reach. It's usually the 2-3% grade 5+ minute climbs that require the better part of 450W out of my analogue legs.
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Old 10-07-19, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg View Post
I don't get the getting pissed off cause you got passed by someone on an e-bike. What's the big deal? Is it that he thinks that people will not realize that other bike was motorized and that he is just really slow?
If you're talking about the guy in my story, you misunderstood. He didn't get pissed off because somebody passed him on an e-bike. (Nobody passed him at all.) He was frustrated because he was trying to catch and pass somebody he thought was on a conventional bike, but couldn't. Only sometime later did he discover they were e-bikes. The joke was on him.
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Old 10-07-19, 12:13 PM
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I think the geezer riding an e-bike because it's the only way to keep up is cool. On this ride, though, it was almost as if the use of e-bikes brought a lot more YOUNGER people out for the ride. Let's face it, at organized rides, people in their 20's and early 30's are pretty under-represented. At this ride, there were a lot more than usual -- and a lot of them were on e-bikes.
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Old 10-07-19, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
If you're talking about the guy in my story, you misunderstood. He didn't get pissed off because somebody passed him on an e-bike. (Nobody passed him at all.) He was frustrated because he was trying to catch and pass somebody he thought was on a conventional bike, but couldn't. Only sometime later did he discover they were e-bikes. The joke was on him.
I have so been that guy.
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Old 10-07-19, 12:23 PM
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I live in seattle, including e-bike bike shares I'd estimate ~10% of people are now on ebikes, from everything to low powered casual cruisers that help people get up hills to cargo e-bikes with kid seats to full on essentially electric mopeds. I'm a racer and in relatively good shape(top 5% for most notable strava segments in the area) and I get passed by all manner of e-bikes. You just get used to it, and I certainly don't hold it against them. The more the merrier as far as I'm concerned even if some of them lack the skill and etiquette that usually takes a long time to develop to operate in mixed traffic at the speed they do.
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Old 10-07-19, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
Quite a few of the Strava KOM's near my place are/were held by a ebike. When I first moved to this area I was browsing around the Strava scene and kept seeing the same name on top of the leaderboards. I learned later on that the fast guy is actually a mediocre rider on a $7000 electric Domane. I've been doing my damnedest to take as many of those KOM's as possible, but there are a few that, try as I may, just can't quite reach. It's usually the 2-3% grade 5+ minute climbs that require the better part of 450W out of my analogue legs.
Uhmmm, if folks know for sure.......just flag it. If the person can't provide pretty solid proof, Strava won't reinstate. Then the person has to try it again.

Nobody can really get offended at a flagged effort on shorter segments. If you can really do it, you can do it again.
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Old 10-07-19, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Uhmmm, if folks know for sure.......just flag it. If the person can't provide pretty solid proof, Strava won't reinstate. Then the person has to try it again.

Nobody can really get offended at a flagged effort on shorter segments. If you can really do it, you can do it again.
I dunno, man...there's something so tasty about sending "Uh Oh" emails to someone that KOM'd with a motor. I just gotta get good(er).
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Old 10-07-19, 01:03 PM
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Time to get one of these and mount some freewheeling dummy cranks/pedals on the sides. Ain't gonna be no E-biking Geezers blowing past me!

https://ridecake.com/bikes/
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Old 10-07-19, 01:07 PM
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I played with a cruiser style ebike the other day when I was buying my youngest son his first geared bike (Raleigh Talus 27.5 inch wheels), and I really can see the advantage to them for someone like me who has a heck of a time climbing hills.

My problem with hills is that my heart rate gets too high and I start feeling like I am not getting any air. Living in the NE Oregon desert I really don't have hills to practice with as it is pretty flat out here. My only way to practice on real hills is to ride my smart trainer on a route that has hills.

I ride an Orbea Orca in 61cm (2013 model).
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Old 10-07-19, 01:09 PM
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I've mentioned in other threads that I'm not a fan of ebikes. Maybe I will when I'm old(er). For the most part, it doesn't matter - I haven't encountered one more than a couple times on group rides. But...

I do think, as was mentioned, rides should be noted as ebike friendly or not. On most group rides, there are climbs, sprints, etc. that riders go after. I could see someone getting bent out of shape burying themselves to snag the sprint line or summit, only to find out they're trying to out-sprint someone using a throttle.

I do love the idea of the ebikes playing the domestique roll - pacing riders back up.
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Old 10-07-19, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
I dunno, man...there's something so tasty about sending "Uh Oh" emails to someone that KOM'd with a motor. I just gotta get good(er).
You said like 2-3% grade? 4 to 5 minutes? That's still TT bike territory right there. Certainly at 2% you'd be over 20mph.

My equivalent is sending somebody an "uh-oh" notification when they got it as some part of a "team practice" ride. Having a solo guy bag your KOM.
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Old 10-07-19, 01:31 PM
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What kind of charity ride was this? Century? Do e-bikes have the range to complete a hilly century with a large rider without a trailer full of batteries?
Asking for a friend.
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Old 10-07-19, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
What kind of charity ride was this? Century? Do e-bikes have the range to complete a hilly century with a large rider without a trailer full of batteries?
Asking for a friend.
The good ones do. A friend of mine did a few days in the Alps this summer. His wife rented an e-bike so she could ride with him and she never came close to depleting the battery during a full day's ride. (Their impression was that the downtube was essentially full of battery.)
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Old 10-07-19, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
What kind of charity ride was this? Century? Do e-bikes have the range to complete a hilly century with a large rider without a trailer full of batteries?
Asking for a friend.
It depends on how much assist you use. If you only need 100 watts of assist to do a 5 hour century, a 500 watt-hour battery is required and is very common on factory ebikes. If you want 200 watts of assist, you can use two batteries.
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Old 10-07-19, 02:31 PM
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I'll just put this right here for your amusement... I love it that the new world champion was in on this.


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