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Washington State Bans E-Bikes on Trails - March 9, 2018, 8:25 a.m.

e-bikes work for some and not for others. I'm in the latter camp, but I also understand people wanting to use them. I happen to also think that they pose a massive risk to sustainable access rights for the mountain bike community, but I will try to stay as objective as possible here.

Full transparency, I am an instructor for Evergreen here in Washington. I do not pretend to represent the organization's views nor do I have a right to claim that I do, but I am fully on board with the legislation that they have been supporting, especially given our local climate here in WA.

Mountain biking has been exploding here in recent years, and Evergreen has been at the forefront of the construction of new world-class trails. For those of you that have ridden or heard of the trails on Tiger Mountain just outside of Seattle, Evergreen is the sole reason those exceptional trails exist in the form that they do today.

We are fortunate to have places like Tiger that are on DNR land. We are also fortunate to have places like Tokul, Galbraith, and others that are on privately owned (or leased) logging land. Access to the privately owned land can be precarious, and that is the primary reason that I think we need to take this e-bike debate with a slow, steady hand.  Call me paranoid, but I can imagine land owners who have granted access to horses and bikes in the past seeing other trail systems grappling with e-bikes, and shuttering trail access to their trails entirely for not wanting to deal with the grey area.

I think the title of the article may be a bit inflammatory, and is probably the cause of a lot of these negative comments that appear not to understand the article or what has actually been done. e-bikes are not banned by the legislation - they must be given permission by land managers to be ridden. If land managers do not want to open their doors to e-bikes, that is their choice. While that sucks for e-bike riders, it protects the access rights of other trail users while we grapple with this introduction of new motorized bikes out onto the trails.

Specialized & the E-Bike Dilemma - Dec. 24, 2016, 9:49 a.m.

I should have qualified my argument further…I agree that the argument that e-bikes are solely for that population is BS. But is anyone possibly going to argue that members of the injured, ill or disabled group DO NOT stand to benefit from e-bikes? Because that's also BS. Specialized is unfortunately in a situation where if anyone calls them out saying that these bikes are not really for those populations, or that those populations won't benefit from them, the person who did the calling out can be easily made to look like a self-righteous prick by Specialized's legal team, PR people, etc. I totally understand your argument and agree, but the fact that a marginalized and disadvantaged subset of the population can benefit from e-bikes is not only a great thing for those people, but consequently a good thing for Specialized and other manufacturers who can use that logic to slang these things in mass quantities to the rest of the market, all the while making folks who argue against this point look like insensitive pricks.

4.5 random things Dave wants for Christmas - Dec. 23, 2016, 8:28 a.m.

Great brew - I'm fortunate enough to be from 30 mins away from the brewery, so my dad knows to pick up a couple of 4 packs when I come into town. If nothing else, it's a great excuse to go ride Santa Rosa - some great trails around there.

Specialized & the E-Bike Dilemma - Dec. 22, 2016, 8:44 a.m.

Glad this discussion is happening, but Specialized's responses sound like a cop-out to me. Specialized keeps referring to the IMBA study (which they funded) almost like it's a green-light for these things. I don't like pulling extreme comparisons, but let's think about self-driving cars for a minute. Self-driving cars have been observed, in some studies, to drive more conservatively and more "safely" than your average human behind the wheel. But just because a study on average safety came out with some favorable things to say about self-driving cars doesn't mean that they're suddenly road legal, or even a good idea in their current form. Instead, there's an extensive, continued review going on that has revealed some other issues in reacting to random adverse situations that may not be revealed in normal testing.

In the case of e-bikes, Specialized is also basically saying "all we do is sell the things, it's up to the shops and consumers to make good choices". Bullshit. That really does sound like an NRA argument. Back to self-driving cars, it would be like Google saying - "ok, let's partner with Ford and sell these through their dealership network. Sure, lots of people have concerns about their legality and safety on the road, but ultimately its up to the dealership and consumer to know how and where to do use them appropriately. Not our fault". I realize the stakes are a lot higher with self-driving cars (endangerment of those around you, for example), but the example applies in it's blind ignorance of the consequences of innovation with an eye toward profit or being the first mover.

One of the things that does make it hard, though, is the argument about getting folks who can no longer ride back on the trail. I think that's great. So while I'm not going to wish universal death to e-bikes everywhere and on all trails, I'm again pleading that consumers and advocacy groups (usually without much money or influence, really) hold manufacturers (usually with lots of money and influence) accountable for making sure that these things are actually ok to ride, rather than dooming trail access rights in blind pursuit of a few bucks.

Has the Coastal Crew Sold Out? - Dec. 16, 2016, 11:33 a.m.

As someone living the Pacific Northwest who grew up in the SF Bay Area riding scene, the spread of e-bikes scares the hell out of me. I think this article is spot on in that, rather than chucking marketing dollars at e-bikes, Specialized and other major companies should be leveraging their size to support advocacy attempting to define a clear line for trail protections around e-bikes. In the Bay Area, I saw great trails - MTB LEGAL ones I might add - torn down because a rider scared or collided with an outspoken hiker or horseback rider. In the Seattle area, we're spoiled by great legal riding options, but continued access to these lands is contingent on mountain biking remaining the same sport that it has been when those rights were negotiated.

I don't care if it's just an electric assist - an e-bike is now a motorized bicycle. It is no longer exclusively human powered, and that creates major grey area opportunity for larger, richer advocacy groups that don't like to share trails with mountain bikes. Private landowners graciously granting land rights to human powered pursuits (hiking, mountain biking) are common here in the PNW, and I have grave concerns around what they might think of mountain biking as a whole if they start to see "motorized bikes" on their trails that are explicitly off limits to motorcycles, etc.

I'm all about giving people access to the trails and helping folks who would have otherwise lost the ability to pursue their passion for riding, but my experience is that e-bikes have been marketed to and perceived by the consumer as the equivalent of a mountain bike. Without expressed agreement from the agencies that give us permission to actually ride our bikes on our favorite trails, that's very, very dangerous.

SILCA Tools Make Me Swoon - Sept. 21, 2016, 10:08 p.m.

I want a 29er version of the Metric. Stiff, awesome finish, and built to last. Gimme

Hope Tech 3 E4 Brakes Reviewed - Aug. 27, 2015, 8:30 a.m.

I have and love these brakes. I came off of Shimano SLXs and while they were quite impressive in their power band once on the brakes, I really didn't like the initial lever bite, especially in treacherously wet or dry conditions. I will be the first to admit that I was fairly terrified the first time I rode the Hopes - they have so much less bite off the line that I was under braking into corners quite badly. Some fiddling with the reach and bite point knobs got them to a slightly more familiar feel, and so far things have been rosy. Loads of power, uber consistent (something the Shimanos were not), and dead reliable.

The biggest difference for me, and the one I really think sells these brakes, is the last one. I had 2 sets of Shimano brakes, and both were incredibly unreliable. Maybe it was the pads getting easily contaminated, or maybe it was something to do with bad fluid, but either way, I bled both pairs of brakes at least once a month and would still have either the front or rear lose almost all biting power in the middle of a ride. My riding buddy has had the same issues with his, and he has now gone through 3 sets of rotors and even more sets of pads trying to mitigate the unexpected loss of bite power. This has never happened to me with the Hopes, not once, and they have not been bled for 7 months and counting.

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