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ebikes on the Shore

May 6, 2019, 4:33 p.m.
Posts: 749
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Posted by: Ddean

I think that if I was pulling over endlessly to allow ebike riders by it would have ruined that beautiful climb for me.

I hadn't considered this possible future. This would be a major issue for me.

May 6, 2019, 4:43 p.m.
Posts: 1422
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Ddean

I was passed by an ebike going about 25kph on Old Buck below Bridal Path on Sunday. The (older) person riding it was polite and called out and if theres a place on the Shore I don't mind seeing one, its Old Buck (or Mtn Hwy or BLT). I don't know if the person turned into Bridal Path or stayed on OB, I hope it was the latter, because after he passed, he took off like a bat out of hell at way more than 25. 40? 45? 50? I don't know, but it was a rocket bike.

Personally, I was okay with it because the person on it called it and was on OB. Seemed like a bunch of fast people were out on Seymour yesterday and I was passed a few times by riders on the climbing trail - which is perfectly fine and I pull over. I think that if I was pulling over endlessly to allow ebike riders by it would have ruined that beautiful climb for me.

Perception of speed is much different when you're going at a walking pace and the pathway is narrow. The guy may have been doing the 32kph max but it just seemed way faster from your position. It's cool that he was courteous about the pass though, that's the way it should be. On a climbing trail I'd be much less inclined to pull over to let someone on an ebike pass me. Another pedaler would be fine, but someone on an ebike can just wait till there's enough space to pass as I'm not going to blow my climbing groove for someone who's getting assistance up the hill.

This sort of thing is why some sort of rider etiquette needs to be established and promoted by trail orgs so that people know what the protocol is and can refer to it.


 Last edited by: syncro on May 6, 2019, 4:45 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
May 6, 2019, 6:21 p.m.
Posts: 1651
Joined: Aug. 6, 2009

Posted by: craw

Posted by: Ddean

I think that if I was pulling over endlessly to allow ebike riders by it would have ruined that beautiful climb for me.

I hadn't considered this possible future. This would be a major issue for me.

That's my biggest concern.  It's rare on most rides that more than a couple or three people want to pass on a climbing route, and they're often in a single group, so I don't mind pulling over once.  But having to potentially do it multiple times going up a climb like GSM would definitely kill your climbing flow.

May 6, 2019, 9:06 p.m.
Posts: 1221
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: Ddean

On a climbing trail I'd be much less inclined to pull over to let someone on an ebike pass me. Another pedaler would be fine, but someone on an ebike can just wait till there's enough space to pass as I'm not going to blow my climbing groove for someone who's getting assistance up the hill.

This sort of thing is why some sort of rider etiquette needs to be established and promoted by trail orgs so that people know what the protocol is and can refer to it.

Exactly! Manners, courtesy, respect and common sense. An asshole rider doesn’t need a motor. In my opinion, and it’s just an opinion, but most of the anti e-bike rhetoric in this thread comes from but hurt elitists who are worried about their KOM’s. I may be mis or uninformed but the only people around here “banning “ e-bikes are trail organizations and not owners or managers. Sorry folks,the horses are out and the barn door is open. I don’t find many of your arguments to have a lot of merit.

May 6, 2019, 10 p.m.
Posts: 1781
Joined: Feb. 26, 2015

Posted by: FLATCH

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: Ddean

On a climbing trail I'd be much less inclined to pull over to let someone on an ebike pass me. Another pedaler would be fine, but someone on an ebike can just wait till there's enough space to pass as I'm not going to blow my climbing groove for someone who's getting assistance up the hill.

This sort of thing is why some sort of rider etiquette needs to be established and promoted by trail orgs so that people know what the protocol is and can refer to it.

Exactly! Manners, courtesy, respect and common sense. An asshole rider doesn’t need a motor. In my opinion, and it’s just an opinion, but most of the anti e-bike rhetoric in this thread comes from but hurt elitists who are worried about their KOM’s. I may be mis or uninformed but the only people around here “banning “ e-bikes are trail organizations and not owners or managers. Sorry folks,the horses are out and the barn door is open. I don’t find many of your arguments to have a lot of merit.

Why you don't see the issue. The issue is the negative perceptions to motorized vehicles on trails. Land Managers and other user groups think ebikes are motorized vehicles. LM's have policies against motorized vehicles. If ebikes go on bike trails they annoy land managers and other user groups and will jeopardize bike access. It's not about my KOM I could care less.


 Last edited by: Brocklanders on May 6, 2019, 10:12 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
May 7, 2019, 4:11 a.m.
Posts: 1221
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

Read my whole statement. Can you show me an instance where in our region a land manager has had an issue with e bikes?

May 7, 2019, 4:17 a.m.
Posts: 1221
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

Posted by: Brocklanders

Posted by: FLATCH

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: Ddean

On a climbing trail I'd be much less inclined to pull over to let someone on an ebike pass me. Another pedaler would be fine, but someone on an ebike can just wait till there's enough space to pass as I'm not going to blow my climbing groove for someone who's getting assistance up the hill

If ebikes go on bike trails they annoy land managers and other user groups and will jeopardize bike access. 

Province said thumbs up. When I see or read of any LM’s banning e bikes I might buy it. So far it’s only been self righteous trail orgs.

May 7, 2019, 8:30 a.m.
Posts: 23
Joined: Aug. 16, 2018

how dare those self-righteous trail orgs be against e-bikes!  give your head a shake and turn this around.  if e-bikers want to be represented it's time for them to form new organizations.  oh wait, right, they just want to ride on the backs of others.  the industry is great at making ads and paying riders to promote e-bikes, but actually putting any effort into advocacy?  not so much.  it's a joke.

unfortunately however, we're fucked.  in the long-run e-bikes mean more people, more parking issues, more conflict, and 100% without a doubt, more trails becoming side walks.  the trend in flow trails is only getting started and what do you think a massive influx of people will do?  anyone who likes riding techy trails should really think about the long-run impacts of the flood of riders that e-bikes will inevitably bring.  if the people who want serious tech trails on the north shore is say 25-50% today, just wait until it's <10%.  who do you think trails orgs are going to cater to?  and no knock on them, they have to follow the numbers and the where the funding is.

May 7, 2019, 9:09 a.m.
Posts: 13
Joined: Nov. 1, 2017

I've been following this thread with a lot of interest as I've been in the market for a new bike, and I just bit the bullet and got an ebike (pedelec) last week. I'm not an apologist nor do I get paid for shilling product, I just wanted to share my impressions to add to further discussion. For those who aren't into fitness elitism, it's a game changer. Instead of riding up the fire road, I spend that same time riding up the climb trail now. Instead of riding alone or with the few others who have similar fitness and skills to me, I can now ride with a wider variety of friends, staying together as a group. Moreover, this has brought over friends from the motorcycle riding realm who otherwise have had no interest in bicycles. These same friends are now enjoying better fitness and have become passionate about riding bikes - more people who will support trail organizations and our LBC's. 

Can someone put their bike on turbo/boost (highest level) and just easy roll it up the hills? Perhaps, but it's not as simple. That will quickly drain the battery on an extended technical climb, and it won't change the fact that one still needs a certain amount of skill and experience to hustle and wrestle a 50+lb bike up and over obstacles. Moreover, most of the systems when in turbo/boost aren't very smooth at applying power in those gentle pedal applications; they can be jerky and take away from one's ability to navigate around obstacles. Where the benefits lie are in these systems ability to help a rider maintain momentum, and being able to do so riding a bigger bike. Having not ridden the shore extensively since the 90's, I now essentially have a DH bike of yesteryear that climbs. For those who worry about trail erosion because of tires spinning etc, that's not how these systems work. If anything, you erode the trail less due to said momentum, compliant long-travel suspension, and typically plus-sized tires. I encourage everyone to try one for an extended ride, not just a few minute putter. Now I truly have my one-mtb quiver - it will do everything from a day riding shore tech-gnar, to a full-day adventure that will allow me to explore and cover significantly more distance than I otherwise would on a trail bike. Being that I'm not that skilled as a dirt jumper or 'sending it', I'm not particularly worried that it's not light and lithe enough for fancy jump poses to be posted on instagram or facebook. 

Now why did I buy one? It's made riding accessible and fun again. As per above, I now have the opportunity to ride with a more diverse group of people. Living 45-60 minutes away from the shore, it's also made it so I can get a satisfying ride in a short amount of time; I still work just as hard, I just get more trail time in a shorter period. For example, for 1:10 riding time on Sunday, I was able to ride up the climb trails from Dempsey, ride up to 7th, down 7th, Leppard, crinkum crankum, kirkford, cedar tree, then up the fire road up and then down expresso, lower expresso, and pennzoil. Now keep in mind that I'm pretty fit (Previous cat 1-2 road racer, FTP high 4W/kg) and that I was working hard using eco/trail mode, but that same route would've typically taken a lot longer. I made most of my time on the service road as I was drilling it around the same pace/effort I would on my gravel bike. Did I pass some people on the trails? Sure I did, but I did what I would've done in any other instance when I would've passed these same people 'on my own power'; wait slowly for them to clear their section and/or wait for a more appropriate manner before announcing my pass. Etiquette doesn't just disappear when one rides an ebike, nor can we assume that jerks won't also do jerk passes when riding a normal bike. 

I agree with many of the comments that we need more stringent policies to govern the application of ebikes and what constitutes appropriate use. Throttle controlled bikes are a no-go; these are essentially motorcycles as many of stated. But pedal assist bikes are very different in their behaviour; I ride motorcycles as well and the skillset used to ride either proficiently is quite different. Additionally, there seems to also be the argument that these ebikes will somehow open up the floodgates to inexperienced riders getting in over their heads. Think about this for a second - do you really think that the demographic who can afford a $6k+ e-assist mtb would really want to try to mangle themselves on the beloved shore trails we love? Most who will come to the shore will be old-skool shore riders who are older and may not have the same fitness of their youth, or people like me who are pressed for time, or others who just want to pound out epic long days on the bike. Recall there were very many naysayers as well as MTB's have evolved - people used to bitch about suspension, then full suspension, and disc brakes etc... Recognize that these e-assist bikes are yet another evolution in the process and I can only foresee them growing in popularity. I encourage you all to give an assist-bike a proper go one day, you may be surprised as to how they can augment your enjoyment of riding.

May 7, 2019, 9:23 a.m.
Posts: 23
Joined: Aug. 16, 2018

Posted by: Spandies
 Additionally, there seems to also be the argument that these ebikes will somehow open up the floodgates to inexperienced riders getting in over their heads. Think about this for a second - do you really think that the demographic who can afford a $6k+ e-assist mtb would really want to try to mangle themselves on the beloved shore trails we love?

thanks for confirming.  the shore as we know it will just get progressively dumbed down.  the NSMBA will either choose to follow the herd or will be told to support the herd by the land managers.

in current context of no new trails, dumbing down just means losing more of the classics and getting them turned into pablum.

May 7, 2019, 9:39 a.m.
Posts: 1640
Joined: July 11, 2014

Spandies thanks for sharing your perspective in a respectful manner, it is important to hear from actual real folks out there buying ebikes to help understand. Your argument seems to boil down to an ebike allowing you to get in more descending for the same effort/time and ability to ride with a more diverse group of people as you age. 

Although I have to disagree on the the suspension/disc brakes/modern tires = ebike motor false equivalency. Motorized vs. non-motorized is a line in the sand re: multi use trail access and a pretty standard one across North America. Using the ebike is closer to a bicycle than a throttle moto/trials bike could be a valid statement but as I always say, how is this going to be enforced? In B.C. you pretty much never seen land managers actually out at trails doing any kind of enforcement outside of rare activity by BC Parks. The risk (not a certainty but absolutely a risk) is that certain land managers throw up their hands and ban all bike/ebike access if conflicts occur. 

Re: another poster with the shuttle argument, I have no problem with ebikes going up Cypress or Seymour on the highway and dropping into trails. I honestly do not believe an ebike vs. a conventional mtb does any more damage to a trail surface ridden by the same rider. Ebike vs. conventional bike is also no different to other trail users (hikers, runners, dog walkers etc) on the descent. They approach at a similar speed and don't sound any different so these other groups are not surprised and know how to react. There could be an argument that ebike = more laps/volume = more overall wear on trails but really the issue is on climbs.

May 7, 2019, 9:42 a.m.
Posts: 118
Joined: Feb. 16, 2013

Sorry, responding to FLATCH here...

I honestly think you're purposely short-circuiting the logic here. Trail Orgs are acting on A) Their own ability to mitigate trail wear and user conflict, and B) Land Managers interests (primarily non-motorized use). The moment the LM's start banning things is the moment they stop allowing any bikes on their land. If you're waiting for that, you're waiting for the mtb apocalypse to indicate there might be an issue.

And to say that Trail Org's are self righteous, is pretty freaking ignorant. Pointing at KOM's is equally ignorant. Everyone knows ebikes are the golden ticket to KOMs;)


 Last edited by: mammal on May 7, 2019, 9:44 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
May 7, 2019, 10:02 a.m.
Posts: 872
Joined: Nov. 18, 2015

Thanks Spandies - I get where you are coming from but I do not understand why or how a fit former Cat1/2 road racer needs an ebike to ride the climbing trails. Those trails were meant for the general population to pedal up on normal bikes, and I think that No Quarter takes a similar duration to go up as Mtn Hwy so it shouldn't be a timing thing. To me it sounds like you are exactly the type of person who does not need an ebike to access the trails. 

I think that, while you sound like a well-reasoned person who Im sure is a great riding partner, your post supports many of the points those who are dead set against ebikes are trying to make. Im not against ebikes in general, probably because I realize that they will likely have a role in my future at some point (Im getting older and my kid is getting faster), but your post is a giant "I told you so" for the anti-ebike crowd.

May 7, 2019, 10:05 a.m.
Posts: 13
Joined: Nov. 1, 2017

Posted by: oldmanbuilder

Posted by: Spandies
 Additionally, there seems to also be the argument that these ebikes will somehow open up the floodgates to inexperienced riders getting in over their heads. Think about this for a second - do you really think that the demographic who can afford a $6k+ e-assist mtb would really want to try to mangle themselves on the beloved shore trails we love?

thanks for confirming.  the shore as we know it will just get progressively dumbed down.  the NSMBA will either choose to follow the herd or will be told to support the herd by the land managers.

in current context of no new trails, dumbing down just means losing more of the classics and getting them turned into pablum.

Perhaps I was not clear in my point. I suspect that the majority who can afford these e-assist mtb's most likely won't be riding the shore - they're the ones who will ride in the endowment lands or around easy trails in the GVRD; for many it's about status after all. It's no different than the dudes who buy $15k road bikes with deep carbon wheels; very few have the fitness to fully utilize the bike, nor do many of them race. But these are the people who pay big bucks and flip bikes often, supporting our LBC's and ensuring that guys like you and I have access to barely ridden premium bikes at significant discount when they're sold. As previously mentioned, I see a lot of ebike riders on the shore as either old skool riders who have injuries or who have lost fitness, guys like me who just want to get more riding in a shorter period, or for those who want to do super long days. 

As for following herds and the dumbing down of trails, having been out of the 'shore scene' for a long time, it was interesting to see the volume of riders riding up the service road doing loops of bobsled/floppy bunny on the weekend; must've been 30-40+ riding up in a group along with 10-15 people waiting at the top of the trail. Not one ebike in sight. And so, perhaps another perspective is that an e-assist bike may make it so that 'the herds' will more likely be interested in attempting the old-skool trails as their skills improve with the incentive of having an easier time accessing said trails. Or, it could spawn or expand upon a different type of riding - North Shore uphill tech-gnar; slower speeds, just as technically challenging, fewer dudes impaling themselves on gaps and skinnies.

May 7, 2019, 10:06 a.m.
Posts: 118
Joined: Feb. 16, 2013

Posted by: Spandies

I've been following this thread with a lot of interest as I've been in the market for a new bike, and I just bit the bullet and got an ebike (pedelec) last week. I'm not an apologist nor do I get paid for shilling product, I just wanted to share my impressions to add to further discussion.

I too would like to thank you for adding respectful, constructive dialog to this thread.

I fully understand the perspective advantages to ebikes, when it comes to less skilled or less fit riders. Also for those who would prefer to commute to the trails.

From your summary, the main issues I see are:

"I can get a satisfying ride in a short amount of time; I still work just as hard, I just get more trail time in a shorter period". This isn't just the case for you, but for every ebike rider in the trail system. If you estimate the long term growth of ebike use, based on the previous couple few years, you can clearly see a labor shortage coming for our local trail orgs. I've got a pro-level rider friend who can literally double his mileage when he borrows an ebike. Fun, sure, but who puts in the trail time. Not the folks who can barely make time for a ride as it is (huge selling point for ebikes).

"do you really think that the demographic who can afford a $6k+ e-assist mtb would really want to try to mangle themselves on the beloved shore trails we love?".  Absolutely they will. They'll drive their Land Rovers to the Fromme or Seymour lot, and cruise the increasingly smooth access trails over to the increasingly smooth flow trails. I love those trails too, but don't pretend the Shore is an intimidating monster like it once was. Every average Joe/Jane and their 8yo are out there these days. That's great, as long as there's a plan in place to deal with the mileage and maintenance.

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