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The first e-bikes of the season riding up Mountain Highway

Aug. 24, 2017, 11:58 a.m.
Posts: 1577
Joined: July 11, 2014

Posted by: bux-bux

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: Kevin26

Motor+bike=motorbike, even if they are disguised/marketed/feel like a mountain bike.

I've seen many people try and use that argument and line of thinking to equate a pedelec to a gas powered dirt bike. I think it's a major flaw to simply make a blanket generalization like that.

I agree with you, the Pendelec's aren't the issue tho. It's the others like mentioned before on LOTS with the throttle. Who regulates it?  Where is the line in the sand? It's a tough issue, those of us not down with the ebikes are mostly worried about trail access, having it taken away.

We will keep going around in circles on this thread. I really hope there is a solution.

The end game is that no one is going to regulate and enforce it because it's simply not practical to do so. The risk being that land managers throw their hands up and ban all things wheeled instead.

Agree though, not going to be solved in this thread. I just hope the majority of mountain bikers in BC do not accept ebikes and speak up when they see them on non-motorized trails (in an educational way, not an asshole-ish way) and tell the riders WHY they are a problem.

Aug. 24, 2017, 4:46 p.m.
Posts: 516
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: bux-bux

I agree with you, the Pendelec's aren't the issue tho. It's the others like mentioned before on LOTS with the throttle. Who regulates it?  Where is the line in the sand? It's a tough issue, those of us not down with the ebikes are mostly worried about trail access, having it taken away.

We will keep going around in circles on this thread. I really hope there is a solution.

Yes, I'm with you on the throttle aspect or people modifying their bikes beyond what they are regulated for. I also agree that the LOTS example is an issue. As was pointed out the trail is apparently signed as no ebikes so that clown deserves some sort rebuke/punishment. The regulation thing is tough too as enforcement of the regs is going to be difficult. The problem there is that the assholes are going to ride their toys anyway no matter what the rules are. I tend to disagree though with the idea that LM's will simply yank away all mtb die to issues with some ebike riders. I would say that there would be some intermediate steps before things got to that point and there'd be reduced access before a ban on access.

I see this like the heap paradox; there are a whole slew of reasons against ebikes being put out there, but as you start to critically examine those reasons many of them are lacking and in the end you're not left with much. That's not to say I don't think there have been some valid points made against ebikes, I just don't think on the whole they make a solid argument to not allow them at all. 

You're right that things are getting circular, but it would be interesting to hear any different viewpoints that haven't been presented so far. Thanks for the reasoned point-counterpoint by the way, far better than some of the muck I've seen in other places.

Aug. 25, 2017, 8 a.m.
Posts: 222
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: bux-bux

I agree with you, the Pendelec's aren't the issue tho. It's the others like mentioned before on LOTS with the throttle. Who regulates it?  Where is the line in the sand? It's a tough issue, those of us not down with the ebikes are mostly worried about trail access, having it taken away.

We will keep going around in circles on this thread. I really hope there is a solution.

Yes, I'm with you on the throttle aspect or people modifying their bikes beyond what they are regulated for. I also agree that the LOTS example is an issue. As was pointed out the trail is apparently signed as no ebikes so that clown deserves some sort rebuke/punishment. The regulation thing is tough too as enforcement of the regs is going to be difficult. The problem there is that the assholes are going to ride their toys anyway no matter what the rules are. I tend to disagree though with the idea that LM's will simply yank away all mtb die to issues with some ebike riders. I would say that there would be some intermediate steps before things got to that point and there'd be reduced access before a ban on access.

I see this like the heap paradox; there are a whole slew of reasons against ebikes being put out there, but as you start to critically examine those reasons many of them are lacking and in the end you're not left with much. That's not to say I don't think there have been some valid points made against ebikes, I just don't think on the whole they make a solid argument to not allow them at all. 

You're right that things are getting circular, but it would be interesting to hear any different viewpoints that haven't been presented so far. Thanks for the reasoned point-counterpoint by the way, far better than some of the muck I've seen in other places.

I guess after thinking about it for a while, the tech will get better, lighter, and prob in a few years a penedlec bike will only weight a few pounds more.  So there will have to be some kind of middle ground on trail use, because people love tech and gadgets and it will only grow.

I see this being a self governed issue, kind of like the SUP vs. surfers in the surf break a few years ago. It will sort itself out but will take time.

Aug. 25, 2017, 1:59 p.m.
Posts: 284
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Rode past a fellow today on a mountain bike trail in Whistler. He's a prime candidate for an ebike being over 70 and having lost a leg to cancer a long time ago. He rides a regular bike.

Aug. 25, 2017, 5:47 p.m.
Posts: 516
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: andy-eunson

Rode past a fellow today on a mountain bike trail in Whistler. He's a prime candidate for an ebike being over 70 and having lost a leg to cancer a long time ago. He rides a regular bike.

That's awesome.

Aug. 27, 2017, 12:58 p.m.
Posts: 735
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

last week a guy on an ebike joined our group ride. only 3 of us out and he asked to join. it was quite strange and put me on the spot. he was mid 50's and explained he had a heart attack last winter and doc recommended minimal heart exertion so he got an ebike. i'm an open and nice guy and didn't want to let my negative perceptions get in the way so said sure, no problem.

the funny thing is that the guy was exactly what one fears, like exactly. he didn't seem to have much self awareness of the fact that we spent the first 45 minutes climbing a fairly ugly road in the high heat, and he chattered the entire time about the details of his bike. the different modes, specs, and how he monitors his heart rate, etc, etc. it was like a play by play of him and his bike and he was rather taken with it all. we were so gassed on the climb in our own little worlds of pain that it was hard to remain neutral in my thoughts about this poor guy with the bad heart and all... on a technical root pitch up i had just cleaned the steepest punch and as i slowed down he was right on me, nearly running up my leg.
all and all a socially awkward dude who just talked about himself incessantly, i doubt he caught any of our names.

if he finds our ride and seeks to join again, i'm afraid it will be a different answer for him.


 Last edited by: JBV on Aug. 27, 2017, 12:59 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Aug. 27, 2017, 1:40 p.m.
Posts: 516
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: JBV

last week a guy on an ebike joined our group ride. only 3 of us out and he asked to join. it was quite strange and put me on the spot. he was mid 50's and explained he had a heart attack last winter and doc recommended minimal heart exertion so he got an ebike. i'm an open and nice guy and didn't want to let my negative perceptions get in the way so said sure, no problem.

the funny thing is that the guy was exactly what one fears, like exactly. he didn't seem to have much self awareness of the fact that we spent the first 45 minutes climbing a fairly ugly road in the high heat, and he chattered the entire time about the details of his bike. the different modes, specs, and how he monitors his heart rate, etc, etc. it was like a play by play of him and his bike and he was rather taken with it all. we were so gassed on the climb in our own little worlds of pain that it was hard to remain neutral in my thoughts about this poor guy with the bad heart and all... on a technical root pitch up i had just cleaned the steepest punch and as i slowed down he was right on me, nearly running up my leg.
all and all a socially awkward dude who just talked about himself incessantly, i doubt he caught any of our names.

if he finds our ride and seeks to join again, i'm afraid it will be a different answer for him.

Aug. 27, 2017, 5:01 p.m.
Posts: 1212
Joined: Dec. 3, 2003

There were a couple riding e-bikes above the 6th switchback today, which is fine in my book. Strictly city-style bikes. It would've been cruel for me to suggest a trail like Bookwus to them. So very cruel, mwah-ha-ha.

Aug. 28, 2017, 10:15 a.m.
Posts: 222
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Posted by: JBV

last week a guy on an ebike joined our group ride. only 3 of us out and he asked to join. it was quite strange and put me on the spot. he was mid 50's and explained he had a heart attack last winter and doc recommended minimal heart exertion so he got an ebike. i'm an open and nice guy and didn't want to let my negative perceptions get in the way so said sure, no problem.

the funny thing is that the guy was exactly what one fears, like exactly. he didn't seem to have much self awareness of the fact that we spent the first 45 minutes climbing a fairly ugly road in the high heat, and he chattered the entire time about the details of his bike. the different modes, specs, and how he monitors his heart rate, etc, etc. it was like a play by play of him and his bike and he was rather taken with it all. we were so gassed on the climb in our own little worlds of pain that it was hard to remain neutral in my thoughts about this poor guy with the bad heart and all... on a technical root pitch up i had just cleaned the steepest punch and as i slowed down he was right on me, nearly running up my leg.
all and all a socially awkward dude who just talked about himself incessantly, i doubt he caught any of our names.

if he finds our ride and seeks to join again, i'm afraid it will be a different answer for him.

All I see in this post is heart attack, minimal heart extertion. Ebike or not unless he is decending a  paved road down, is he not going to spike his heart rate on the decent? Maybe MTB isn't for you if a doctor has said minimal exertion? I guess at least you could hook a defib to the batteries in case of heart attack.

Congrats on cranking up that climb in the heat, beers all around I'm sure.

Aug. 28, 2017, 10:18 a.m.
Posts: 130
Joined: May 13, 2014

I don't believe that Ebikes have any place in the confines of what we would consider bike trails. I don't distinguish between electric or gas powered motors. I think debating this is not realizing the thin edge of the wedge and that is a red herring.

I think the focus of this debate, interesting as well, is the fact the real issues are not being singled out; that is, it is not the bike that is the problem but the trails, and concomitantly the riders thereof. Having ridden the Shore for decades, a brief history will clarify this.

Up to 10 years ago, say, trails were mostly tough, technical with little or no grooming. Bikes were made to handle such trails and were large, heavy and plush. Riding such trails was not a spur of the moment thing; mountain biking took practice, time and lumps (or cuts). It was the same for all and although some learning curves were shallower or steeper, we all had them. Even taking shuttling into consideration, the trails down were mostly demanding, physically and mentally. I remember it all very well.

But once the popularity of mountain biking became as it is, LMs had to take notice. More people means more problems, and the obvious risk of riding, which funny enough we all understood as par for the course, became a real wake up call. The litigious nature of bureaucracy meant one of two things: close the trails or make them more "safe". You could argue this would include trail work that made things more sustainable, and I agree, but there is a difference between trail work for preservation and trail work to smoothen something out. So it began. Seventh, Crinkum, Executioner, Kirkford, Espesso, Oilcan....a few were not touched and left natural but the ones that were worked on and groomed (with the moniker of North Shore Flow) became the most popular. No secret why; the trails were more user friendly and attracted a type of rider whom, generally, was less skilled and most likely newer to the riding. They most likely didn't have the legs and lungs to pedal up Fromme (or Seymour) but could do it well enough to get up. In old days getting up was not part of the equation; it was a necessary evil to enjoy the down. Any assistance in the up portion would of been nice but completely meaningless in the down portion. Electric motor assist would do nothing to help you on Upper Crippler, except make the bike hurt more when it hit you when you went OTB due to the extra weight. Fast forward to what we have today.

With the aforementioned trails and the lower ones around the parking lot it invites all users. And when trails are such that they require little in the way of experience or skill to ride them you get riders that are such. This is not to say experienced riders don't ride Bobsled, say, but generally there are far more riders now that would not of ridden 15 years ago. The entrance requirements now are far less than what it was, and now we have a sport that has a mandate of inclusiveness, at the cost of the trails themselves. I understand mountain biking is fun, exciting and a great sport; no wonder I have done it for so long, but I would have NO expectation to go on a tough mountain hike unless I was fit enough (mentally as well) to do it. I can't ski or snowboard; and I would have no expectation of being able to handle Whistler until I got myself to a point through practice and learning to be able to handle the skis and thus, the terrain. There are many recreational activities out there that are exclusive by nature, and it seems we all are fine with that fact (most anyway). I fail to understand why mountain biking is any different, but it is. Now, the NSMBA mantra is "trails for all, trails for ever". I can agree with only half of that myself. Essentially, biking on Fromme and Seymour, to a lesser degree, is inclusive to the detriment of the very trails that made us get out there in the first place. It is interesting that the very trails that put the Shore on the map, globally, are either dumbed down, gone, left to slowly die or deliberately fade away to appease the litigious mindset of LMs. No surprise but disappointing. After all, a simple warning on a placard on the top of a Double Black Diamond trail could be printed to state, in no uncertain terms, that it really is that tough and not for beginners. The best example of this is CBC. I cannot understand how the community at large allows this trail to be "passively decommissioned" (to coin another members' description) when it was the crown jewel of the Shore. I guess it is easier to do nothing. Granted, If Metro doesn't want it and doesn't allow the work, I guess it gets its way. And as I have posted before, once you make groomed trails commonplace, people eventually get used to it, then come to expect it. It becomes the new norm, and attracts the type of rider for whom this is their comfort zone and moving out of it is unlikely. Or for whom there is a low level of risk. I wonder if anyone thinks about this everytime they cross the street or gets into a car.

So back to Ebikes. I suspect the riders of such bikes fall into two categories: those whom are not committed bikers (not necessarily mountain bikers) and those whom are bikers that perhaps health or physicality are preventing them from participation, or at least full participation of the sport. Looking at the first category, it is easy to see this rider would most likely have little or no skill to ride the even entry level trails until they had some practice. On a traditional bike, they would have to hoof it up the road to get to Bobsled, say, and if even that was tough, they might have second thoughts about the whole affair. Now, with Ebikes, no effort whatsoever is required to get to any trail on Fromme, or Seymour. This part scares me. Even taking shuttling out of the picture, it was well understood you had to "earn your right" to enjoy the trail. Now, there is no cost, no effort, or consequence, to get to the trailhead. And without the requisite skills, toughness, practice and understanding of what it takes to ride trails, these riders are the prime candidates for injury. We can all say that; we have a bad day, bad crash....but we understand this comes with the territory. But for those whom without the use of the Ebike would otherwise not be there, I don't see this understanding. After all, it was easy going up; how hard could it be going down? This rider also is the type that since the bike skills are poorly developed or non existent once the down portion is engaged you get braiding, skidding and other activities that hasten trail use. True, we have all skidded or gone down trails on wet, slimy days, but I think the image of the 'newbie" ,if you will ,constantly on their brakes due to hesitation comes to mind.

The second user most likely has the skills, understanding and ability to ride the trails down, so one could be forgiven in excusing them for the use of a "cheat" if you will. But if we remove the legitimate health reasons for the bike (I will get to this later) and assume they are a user simply looking for an easier way up (or an easier way, period) we have a problem. Since they are able to come down trails with a modicum of success, they would be able, on one ride, to do far more than a person on a strict pedal bike could do. This essentially is what shuttling is, but shuttling means a total top to bottom run, and since most want to get the most bang for the buck, it means different trails to maximize variety. But theoretically, you could use an Ebike to go up to Espresso, then up to Bobsled, and do this twice without any real cost other than battery power. The pedal rider must exert on ever up section, and there is not an infinite supply of energy or legs for that. One on this board posited: does it cause more damage? Absolutely. One Ebike is essentially two riders if the full use of the motor is maximized. This is twice the wear, erosion and use that rider could give any trail system. Essentially, it doubles the ridership on any given hill. The best example of this is CBC. I know most riders got two or three shuttles on Seymour back in the day, and CBC was ALWAYS done, weather permitting. It showed.

And assuming the health issue: mountain biking is a physical activity, going up, down or across. If one does not have the health to go up you're not going to have the health to go down. I find my rides are just as exertive going down as up, and if one is using an Ebike to overcome a bad knee, heart, lungs etc. there is only going to be a false sense of security. I suppose if one were to stick to groomed runs this might not be such a problem, but then I remind myself that without so many groomed runs it would limit this user group, perhaps rightly so..........would you go running with a broken ankle, shin splints or chronic arthritis in the knees? I say this because although the electric assist may overcome the impediments going up it is going to do nothing on the way down, and if there is a crash, which could happen to any of us, the already existing health issue that required the Ebike in the first place is going to compound any problem from the crash. I am all for anyone getting out there and fighting adversity, but lets be real. I am a first aid attendant I do not want to have to give CPR to someone on the hill whom better judgement states they should not of been there in the first place. I realize this may sound a tad harsh but there is a difference between physical activity and exertive physical activity. Mountain biking, like many physical activities, is not for everyone. Same as cliff diving, skydiving, MMA, long back country hikes, mountaineering...I could go on. But apparently mountain biking is trying to buck that trend by not only making the trails easier to ride but offering assistance to get up this hill many otherwise would not have as an option.

For those of you whom hike or run, just wait until they invent hovershoes.

And what of evolution of the Ebike? You think it will stop here? Just wait until the bike is evolved to the point of having a regeneration system that runs on the spinning of the hub (or crank) that allows for very extended use. So unlike a light, which will wear down and go out, the 2hr battery could become 3 or 4 hours with a regen system. What happens when the batteries become lighter and still offer long run times? You can bet the rider will carry a spare. Taking this example to its logical conclusion, you could have and all day system with two batteries that would allow a rider to ride all day with minimal physical input. If you think any trail on Fromme is overridden now, just wait until this type of Ebike is mainstream, and it will happen faster than you think. I, on a good, rested day, do one lap of Fromme and perhaps an extra bit, say going up to do Lower Crippler. Imagine the day of being able to do 2 or 3 laps on Fromme, and half the ridership at any given time can do this. It used to be the difference was full suspension or not. I forsee the difference switching to electric bike or not.

And the Ebikes I have seen where I ride are not some CCM with a motor, but legitimate mountain bikes with E assist. The ones I have seen are from Germany and are well made and without the motor would be a fine bike by any standard. Speaking of where I ride, one other factor to consider is the length of the up portion. I ride Burke almost exclusively now. Most ride the lower portions as they are easier to get to, naturally. The trails higher up are not so ridden since the physical demand of going up is not something a newbie (or even an experienced rider) wants to do. Burke is the steepest hill to get up and the high up trails essentially ensure that only the committed get to them. I admit, some days, that an easy up would be nice, but that is the price of admission to the trails, and all whom ride there regularly accept this. The Ebike removes this cost, and makes the trails more likely to be ridden on a more frequent basis..........with riders that otherwise would not be the type to ride them or be capable or riding them successfully. Again, that natural barrier of exclusion is removed.

Most mountain bikers, especially those whom have been around for a while, take it for granted they can ride, most of the time without thinking about it. We can get up with some effort to enjoy the down portion that has been rightly earned. But there is a growing number where this is not the case and still expect to be able to take part. And there is no stopping anyone; like any consumer good the Ebike  is made to sell, and in numbers. There will only be a few now, but I remember when full suspension was new and in the beginning there were only a few. Now finding hardtails is rare. I think the same will happen with Ebikes.

When I look back on the last 10 years I think of the changes I have seen, and then when I look at the Ebike I can only think how far the edge of the wedge has been inserted. Technically, no motorized vehicles are allowed in any BC Park, but since Ebikes are silent, whom can tell? And the ability to be obscured and look like any other mountain bike makes this even more daunting. I don't mean this any less than what I say it as: essentially you might as well have a teleport system that takes people from the bottom to the top, as essentially this is how it is going. Places like bike parks have the lift assistance, but you pay for this and the park exists for the very reason as a business venture. But to have a system where ANY riding venue can be used with little input in the up portion....and I mean every one. And to think at one time shuttling or not was a debate.

Interesting times, indeed.


 Last edited by: blackfly on Aug. 28, 2017, 6:43 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
Aug. 29, 2017, 7:18 a.m.
Posts: 2095
Joined: April 2, 2005

Posted by: JBV

last week a guy on an ebike joined our group ride. only 3 of us out and he asked to join. it was quite strange and put me on the spot. he was mid 50's and explained he had a heart attack last winter and doc recommended minimal heart exertion so he got an ebike. i'm an open and nice guy and didn't want to let my negative perceptions get in the way so said sure, no problem.

the funny thing is that the guy was exactly what one fears, like exactly. he didn't seem to have much self awareness of the fact that we spent the first 45 minutes climbing a fairly ugly road in the high heat, and he chattered the entire time about the details of his bike. the different modes, specs, and how he monitors his heart rate, etc, etc. it was like a play by play of him and his bike and he was rather taken with it all. we were so gassed on the climb in our own little worlds of pain that it was hard to remain neutral in my thoughts about this poor guy with the bad heart and all... on a technical root pitch up i had just cleaned the steepest punch and as i slowed down he was right on me, nearly running up my leg.
all and all a socially awkward dude who just talked about himself incessantly, i doubt he caught any of our names.

if he finds our ride and seeks to join again, i'm afraid it will be a different answer for him.

how do you feel when you pedal up a shuttle road and some freeriders in their trucks are passing by? same feelings as towards this guy? or is this "cool" in your world because that's how you grew up in the mtb world?

Aug. 29, 2017, 7:36 a.m.
Posts: 222
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Posted by: Sethimus

Posted by: JBV

last week a guy on an ebike joined our group ride. only 3 of us out and he asked to join. it was quite strange and put me on the spot. he was mid 50's and explained he had a heart attack last winter and doc recommended minimal heart exertion so he got an ebike. i'm an open and nice guy and didn't want to let my negative perceptions get in the way so said sure, no problem.

the funny thing is that the guy was exactly what one fears, like exactly. he didn't seem to have much self awareness of the fact that we spent the first 45 minutes climbing a fairly ugly road in the high heat, and he chattered the entire time about the details of his bike. the different modes, specs, and how he monitors his heart rate, etc, etc. it was like a play by play of him and his bike and he was rather taken with it all. we were so gassed on the climb in our own little worlds of pain that it was hard to remain neutral in my thoughts about this poor guy with the bad heart and all... on a technical root pitch up i had just cleaned the steepest punch and as i slowed down he was right on me, nearly running up my leg.
all and all a socially awkward dude who just talked about himself incessantly, i doubt he caught any of our names.

if he finds our ride and seeks to join again, i'm afraid it will be a different answer for him.

how do you feel when you pedal up a shuttle road and some freeriders in their trucks are passing by? same feelings as towards this guy? or is this "cool" in your world because that's how you grew up in the mtb world?

Sethie,

We all know you ride one and want to be accepted.... to answer your coolness question : ebikes are as cool as segways, but just a bit cooler than rollerblades. Ya know because we are all so cool. Your insecurities run deep.....


 Last edited by: bux-bux on Aug. 29, 2017, 7:38 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Aug. 29, 2017, 10:26 a.m.
Posts: 2095
Joined: April 2, 2005

i never even sat on one dude, i live in berlin, there are no mountains here, at all. my fun these days are cyclocross bikes. i just work for a company that sells them while studying horticulture and needing to pay the bills. i dont even want to be in this industry any more as it just sucks. be it from the media side or now on the industry side, i've seen both. but e-bikes are here and they are staying, even more when the technology is shrinking more and more. and from my perspective there is no direct impact on trails just by having a motor instead of using your own legs to power your vehicle. at least with pedelecs, which are the only bikes that are legal here. electric mx bikes is what you should be concerned by, not some low powered e-bike...

Aug. 29, 2017, 10:29 a.m.
Posts: 11494
Joined: June 4, 2008

Do lift-accessed trails at bike parks need more maintenance than non-lift-accessed trails?

Aug. 29, 2017, 10:48 a.m.
Posts: 269
Joined: April 15, 2017

Additionally to that, lift accessed bike park trails usually employ a large staff and purchase equipment specifically to deal with maintenance. 

Most trail associations are dependant on community involvement

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