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Sept. 13, 2023, 9:47 a.m. -  Pete Roggeman

I'm interested in the idea of ebikes making the sport 'too easy'. Of course it makes it _easier_, but one thing that's been made apparent over and over again when people around me take up mtn biking is how demanding it is to achieve even intermediate status. Cardio, strength, coordination, and courage for starters. Ebikes eliminate some of the cardio component (you could argue most of it, depending on how someone uses one) but the rest remain (and ebikes demand more strength and a bit more coordination). I'd agree that many people are attracted to eMTBs because they perceive it as being easier - I've heard lots of people say as much - however to ride that bike more than a handful of times requires the same perseverance that you need to transition from being a newbie mtn biker to an experienced one (minus, again, some or most of the cardio commitment). I don't think ebikes dramatically change the ratio of new mtn bikers who become regular riders, but that's entirely anecdotal. It would make an interesting study. Growth is a different conversation but no less interesting to me. With my nsmb hat on, I want more riders out there for several reasons. On a basic level, it means more potential readers, good for our business. Taken another step, more potential customers means economies of scale and lower prices and/or better tech development. Manufacturers, shop owners, and other related businesses (tourism, hospitality, travel) would all be in the same boat. With my industry hat off, I understand the desire for less crowded trails. However it's a selfish thought, and in reality the more people that use our trails responsibly (no matter how they use them), the more people there are to support those networks and benefit from what they provide: health and wellness, a good way to socialize and be part of a community, etc. Also, by encouraging more people to use and understand the trails, we have more chances to teach responsible trail use, so that the next generation of hikers and riders is courteous to each other, picks up after themselves, etc.

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