When I read comments on articles and such that are published about electric bikes, there are almost always one or two people who are extremely negative on the idea. They are often defensive of their road or bike path “turf” and seem personally offended that people would choose an electric bike. I even saw a post recently on a road bike forum, where the apparent roadie personally attacked some poor guy who happened to be riding an ebike slowly in the bike lane, apparently blocking said roadie’s progress and forcing him to go around.
Really – are these kinds of things necessary? We’re all riding bikes people, and that should be a good thing whether the bike is a road bike, mountain bike, cruiser, ancient falling apart bike, electric bike or whatever. If you’re a biker and offended by someone else riding a bike, doesn’t that strike you as a bit hypocritical?
I think that in many cases, these people are actually offended because they view biking as a physical challenge and take pride in being able to be up to the challenge. I think it’s awesome that people ride bikes for physical exercise, I mean, we could obviously use more physical exercise in our culture. And many of those people are in far better physical shape than I am – an accomplishment for sure.
But there are more uses for the bike than just a physical workout, and can we please get over that attitude?
Today, when I was riding my electric cargo bike, bucket full of kids, over my 6 mile hilly commute, my battery gave out (apparently because I forgot to charge it fully – oops). After finishing the commute sans batttery, here were my comments:
It’s not that this kind of bike ridding cannot be done without assistance (many, many people do it), it’s just that having a little help makes it easy, so I don’t have to be up for a huge workout every morning when I just want to get the kids to school and get myself to work. That’s when most people take the car – and if you drive, you get zero exercise (not to mention, you burn a bunch of fossil fuels and create a bunch of pollution).
If I had to do the huge workout every morning, I would think twice about it every morning, and many of those times I’d decide I was too tired, in too much of a hurry, or just plain feeling lazy that day. Adding the assist makes riding a no-brainer and easy to make into a habit. I really think of this bike more akin to a highly efficient, lightweight electric vehicle, which technically it is. It’s just an EV that you can also pedal.
So, if you’re one of those people that is somehow offended by ebikes, please reconsider the bigger picture here. Would you rather have that slow person in the bike lane be driving a car that’s passing you and polluting the air you are breathing? Or is there room for another biker on the road, even if they aren’t in it for the exercise?
In pursuit of a more congenial world…..
Go By Bike is a daily video series that talks about how to be green by riding more and using your car less, including electric bikes, electric kits, cargo bikes, bike safety, and getting motivated to bike
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