Old 07-26-16, 12:08 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Albany, OR
Posts: 689

Bikes: Co-Motion Divide

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
How, exactly, is using a bus/train to skip a boring section riding 100% under their own power? It is skipping parts of the tour they don't want to do under their own power.
It is commonly understood by bicycle tourists that you can take alternative transport to skip sections that you don't want to ride for whatever reason - e.g. road works, dangerous traffic, time constraints, or just that it's boring and you want to get past it. This is acceptable for anything you are calling a "bicycle tour", but it is also an unspoken understanding (unspoken because up to now it was just completely obvious) that the bits of the tour that you ARE riding are done under your own power, on a bicycle. Not another motorized vehicle.

So, what that means is that the exceptions are ok by other means - the non-cycling bits. But the actual riding bits are via bicycle (i.e. self-powered, no motor etc), otherwise it's not considered a bicycle tour.

Not to argue from authority, but I am someone who has been having to consider "what is a bicycle tour" on a daily basis for the last 16 years, running the largest bicycle touring website out there, at least in terms of content (the forums here on bikeforums are almost certainly more active than those on crazyguyonabike, but the 12k+ journals are what require classification and filtering by me on a daily basis). What I'm getting at is that I've been required to think deep and hard about "what is a bicycle tour" for a LONG time. You are fully entitled to disagree with me, and I accept that you have a position that boils down to "it's no big deal, just include everybody", but from my viewpoint it is quite important to nail down exactly what a "bicycle tour" really is (and isn't). The way I (and, I think, most others) see it is that interludes by train etc are fine, because they are a natural part of any tour and something that nobody in their right mind quibbles with (unless the interludes start to dominate, in which case the journal author may get a gentle email from me). Motorized bikes are not fine, because it really changes the whole game. Once you add motors into the equation as being "ok", then it really opens up a can of worms that will be hard to put limits on down the road, when e-bikes have developed into much more capable machines than they are today. The problem is, it'll most likely be gradual, incremental improvements in the motor power and battery capacity, so there will probably be no obvious place where you can say "ok, this is getting silly, it's no longer really about bicycle touring, we should really distinguish between self-powered and e-bikes", which is what I'm trying to be prescient about here, ahead of time. I think I'm right, you don't think so, I guess history will prove who's on the mark. I'm betting on technology constantly getting better, which is a pretty safe bet, unless The End Of The World As We Know It comes sooner than expected, in which case I doubt any of us will be concerned about online forums. We'll be too busy running and screaming and bartering for ammunition, but that's for another discussion.

I really don't care how one does their tour, or what aids they use. I'll sit down and enjoy their stories all the same. It is THEIR tour. I had no problem personally using some trains and ferries and not caring. I just find it hypocritical that people bash on others for the aids they choose to use, while using their own aids and coming up with any number of justifications as to why their choices are OK but others should be condemned.
The problem with your argument here is that you are conflating tour interludes with the tour itself. Interludes are the bits in between the touring - e.g. getting to or from the starting or end point by train or whatever, or skipping ahead to the next stage by bus in order to make a deadline or whatever. Those are interludes, everybody does it and it's fine, and it doesn't invalidate the actual touring you're doing. The tour itself is what you are doing on the bike, and it's generally assumed that on a bicycle tour, it's self powered. This is not bashing or hypocritical, it's a simple matter of definitions. It's been commonly understood for, well, ever, that one of the defining characteristics of a bicycle is that it doesn't have a motor.

For example, the definition of bicycle by Merriam Webster: Bicycle | Definition of Bicycle by Merriam-Webster

"a 2-wheeled vehicle that a person rides by pushing on foot pedals"

Or from the Oxford Dictionary: bicycle: definition of bicycle in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)

"A vehicle composed of two wheels held in a frame one behind the other, propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars attached to the front wheel"

See, all it talks about is "propelled by pedals". No mention of motors. It has been assumed for many decades that the defining characteristic is that the rider does all the work. Slap a motor on there and you have something else.

I can understand that some people are getting annoyed by talk that includes words like "lazy" and "HTFU". I think this arises from a certain perception that many times, e-bikes are used by able-bodied people who could ride a regular bicycle, but just choose not to because they don't feel like putting the effort in. There are, of course, other riders who are using an e-bike because of some disability. This creates a very muddy debate, because people are just talking past each other from different perspectives. To be clear: Of course e-bikes are a perfectly valid way to get around, if you choose to ride that way or are compelled to by your physical limitations. But you need to understand that just arguing from a position of "have some empathy, let's include everybody, why should you care etc" is never going to get rid of the lingering dissonance that having a motor on the bicycle generates for many cyclists. Also, this is not an existential debate (should e-bikes exist, and if they do, should anybody ride one), but rather one of classification (should e-bike discussions be conducted over on the e-bike forum, or is it ok to include them here). Conflating the existential arguments with the categorization debate just results in people talking past each other without really getting anywhere, since the other person isn't even on the same page. Very frustrating, obviously. My perspective is that we gather here supposedly under a commonly understood umbrella - bicycle touring. Up to now it has been pretty simple and universally understood what that means. Now we have some people coming in and trying to change that definition, and some of us don't like it. So we argue, and maybe something will come out of the arguments, maybe not. Maybe we just keep going around in circles restating our own filtered viewpoint and ignoring what the other person says, I don't know. But it's a debate that is happening, and one that is going to keep happening, I think, as long as people try to push motors on bicycles as being exactly the same as traditional bicycles.

There is nothing fundamentally different about an ebike frame that means the advice one would be asking about is any different than a regular bike, and it would certainly be ridiculous to ask for advice on a motorcycle forum.
I agree, e-bikes are a different form of motorized bike from "motorcycle". There is a commonly understood meaning for "motorcycle", just as there is one for "bicycle". E-bikes are their own thing, and certainly deserve their own forum, which they have. Everybody can be happy if we keep the e-bike discussions to the e-bike forum, and the bicycle touring discussions here. Aspects of touring that are common (camping etc) can by all means be discussed here without rancor, since there really is no reason to make that "about" the e-bike if that's what you are using.

Sorry if I'm too inclusive and accepting for everyone here. I've just never understood how anyone gets so worked up about things that do not affect them further than accidentally opening a thread about an ebike and not getting those couple seconds of their life back.
It's already been explained multiple times that bringing motorized discussions into a bicycle forum is always going to irritate some people who don't want discussions about motorized transport intruding into this space. This thread is a witness to that. Maybe you don't mind if the signal to noise ratio is affected by off-topic discussion that really should be conducted elsewhere, but some people believe that a "bicycle touring" forum should be reserved for non-motorized travel. And again, I want to emphasize that this is not an existential debate, but rather one concerned mainly with categorization, and what it means to remain "on topic" for a forum that is ostensibly about "bicycle touring".


p.s. I really feel that I have explored this about as deeply as I care to here, so I'm going to try to let it be. It takes quite a lot of effort to do this, and I have other things I need to be getting on with. Have fun with the debate.

Last edited by NeilGunton; 07-26-16 at 12:45 AM. Reason: p.s.
NeilGunton is offline