Posted by: RAHrider
Nice to have you as a new member. I think you have summed up the pluses of an ebike nicely. It sounds like a great activity for you. I think the issues with ebikes are not adressed by your post though.
1-you point out that you like it because you can ride so much more so much faster. That means substantially more trail wear. Do uphills and flat corners need to be built like a flow trail now with bermed corners to account for ebike wear and tear? I think motorcycle enthusiasts would say the exact same things about their KTM's that you said about your ebike (different workout due to weight, can go so far, everything is so fast and fun) but there is a reason we don't let motocross bikes on mtb trails - they cause too much wear. Bike trails are largely made by bikers for bikers on a volunteer basis. Allowing people doing a different sport to use (and wear) the trails is not a forgone conclusion, but the bike industry certainly pushes ebikes as just a better bike and assumes access without finding solutions for the issues such as right of way, climbing a descent trail, increased trail maintenance etc.
2-many riders find the advertising of ebikes as the "evolution of the bicycle" simply wrong. The bike industry uses this argument to assume access for their product to mtb trails. It's frustrating to have to argue against the industry and ebike owners for the sake of trail maintenance and access all the time. You yourself point out that "e-biking is a different bicycle sport than XC, enduro or DH." What would you say if you were riding your DH bike at whistler and an XC rider was climbing the trail? You probably wouldn't appreciate that? It would be nice if the e-bike enthusiasts could have consideration for the decades of hard work that has gone into gaining access and developing the amazing trail networks we enjoy by not assuming access, bringing solutions to the table and not claiming their ebike is the evolution of the bicycle.
This all being said, I am glad you enjoy your ebike. Sounds like the right choice for you. As for your question as to what I would like to see on the shore. I think hiking is a great activity, low impact and should be welcomed. That being said, I don't think they should hike up downhill trails. Same as I shouldn't ride down hiking trails. As for multi-use trails, bikers should show more respect to hikers IMO. Horses are horrible for trails IMO. Luckily they don't love going down the trails on the shore. I have no issue sharing multi-use trails with them either. I put ebikes in with motorcycles. I don't mind them but I wouldn't mind if they were on their own trails either. Again, wouldn't mind sharing multiuse trails with them but I do have concerns about how they will develop (increased power) and how that will affect trails and safety.
Sorry I don't go on the forums every day so please accept my apologies for not responding quicker.
Thank you for pointing out very important information to consider.
1-regarding riding faster on flat and uphill, please understand that if you try to pedal past the motor cutoff at 32 km/h, it is a substantial effort and the damage caused by a regular MTB and an E-bike are pretty much the same, how do I know this? I have ridden dirt bikes for a number of years and you can't get an e-bike to roost no matter what you try because they are pedal assist. I have also been trail building for 20 years (I'm showing my age here!). The biggest challenge as a trail builder is water erosion/water management. If you think that it will increase traffic, that's probably true on easy to medium difficulty trails, however, you still need skills to ride up technical climbs or technical descents so I don't see too many e-bikers going for a black diamond trail unless they know they can ride it, which usually mean that they have ridden it before on a regular MTB. I would certainly take 1000 e-bikers on my trail before I would let a single horseback rider or a dirt bike on the trails as the damage by those is so much greater.
Where I build (Moose Mountain west of Calgary) our challenge is flash floods when it rains as usually we get really good rainstorms! so after 20 years of working on the same trail, I know that the e-bikers are not the problem, water does so much more damage!
2-evolution of the bike my ass! it's a different sport. Since most of our trails are multi-use and rideable in both directions (in most areas that are either crown land or provincial park) when I ride downhill, I have come across hikers that thought it was a good idea to go up a trail that they see has jumps wooden features and berms. I had to tell them that it was not a good idea (while my inner voice just wanted to scream at them for their sheer stupidity. Most people who buy an e-bike already mountain bike and know very well not to go up a DH trail unless they want to get hurt. I do like your point that e-bikers must come to the table and bring solutions to trail access and trail maintenance. I wish the majority of MTB riders would also come to the table!
In Moab, they have restricted access to certain trails and I think that kind of works but I would sure like to see how we can increase the number of trails period as opposed to a divide and conquer type of approach.
If you look at where the e-bike community is at right now, I would compare it to when websites like NSMB and Pinkbike started as there is not really any kind of organized group to promote educate and connect e-bike riders. There is plenty of work to do on that front. If you are willing to spend thousands of dollars on an e-mtb, it should be a no-brainer to get them to buy a trail association membership. But it's not the case!
I see the biggest challenge remains that the percentage of MTB riders (electric or normally aspirated) that are members of an MTB association compared to the population around is the biggest challenge. Our trail association president made the comment this summer that there is a Facebook group for the trail conditions around Calgary and it has 6000 members, our association this year had its best year with 600 members and Calgary has a population of 1.2 Million. As much as I hate to admit it, we will probably need to rethink our approach to recreation and we will probably have to pay a fee if we want access to the outdoors. We are already having to this for Federal parks, i'm pretty sure our Premier Kenney and his budget cutting ways will figure out that this is an untapped source of revenue.