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  1. #1
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    Pedal-Assisted bike spotted at Boggs - thoughts?

    Saw an older (late 50s?) guy coming off of Gails into the parking lot on a pedal-assisted mountain bike.

    I didn't want to give him crap about it or start any drama, so I just silently judged him as he rode away.

    What are your guys thoughts on these contraptions on the trails?
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  2. #2
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    I have heard a theory/interpretation that e-bikes can be regarded as "other" power mobility assist device under ADA, and anybody stating a disability (statement is sufficient) can ride it anywhere - including wilderness, PCT etc.. I wonder if that interpretation had been tested.

    I will certainly buy one once I can not ride a regular bike far enough due to age or illness.

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    Re: Pedal-Assisted bike spotted at Boggs - thoughts?

    You're talking ebikes right? Personally I think mountain bikers should take the lead on getting these things explicitly banned with signage (at the city , county and state park level) before the anti bike hiking groups start using them as a lever to get all bikes banned, park by park.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ddprocter View Post
    You're talking ebikes right? Personally I think mountain bikers should take the lead on getting these things explicitly banned with signage (at the city , county and state park level) before the anti bike hiking groups start using them as a lever to get all bikes banned, park by park.
    I'm with you on this. I feel like they're a bunch of bad apples that WILL spoil the whole bunch if left unchecked. (yeah, E-Bikes).
    East Bay Parks AKA East Bay Cattle Ranches

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    I thought all bikes are "pedal assisted". Without pedals you don't get anywhere.

    I would think that an electric power assisted bike's impact on the trail is about the same as a regular bike. As long as the rider doesn't take all the Strava uphill KOMs I'm not sure we should push to prohibit them, but please educate me why an older rider on an ebike is a "bad apple".
    Also known as Menso's dad.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JL de Jong View Post
    I thought all bikes are "pedal assisted". Without pedals you don't get anywhere.

    I would think that an electric power assisted bike's impact on the trail is about the same as a regular bike. As long as the rider doesn't take all the Strava uphill KOMs I'm not sure we should push to prohibit them, but please educate me why an older rider on an ebike is a "bad apple".
    Yes, if you would like to be painfully literal, all bicycles are pedal assisted. However the bikes in question are not solely powered by the rider. The rider's pedaling is assisted by a small electric motor. We all know what happens when you put down too much power in a limited traction environment, and as many of us know, there are already NUMEROUS signs out at Boggs forbidding motorized vehicles. And motorized vehicles are not allowed on most trails that we all know and love.

    I don't think the riders age has anything whatsoever to do with the issue at hand, and that bit of info was only used to set the scene for my encounter. But I do think they are bad apples in that they are a motor vehicle that looks like a mountain bike. And as ddprocter said, I think it's important to distance ourselves from them before anti-bike groups use them as leverage to get all bikes banned from everywhere.

    Long story short, I think they're pose a threat to future of "normal" mountain bike access.
    East Bay Parks AKA East Bay Cattle Ranches

  7. #7
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    I've seen this coming for a while now and I think it's going to be really interesting to see where it heads. If there's one thing we know it's that technology does not wait for the decision makers to catch up. Look at what's happening with drones/UAV's right now.

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    Re: Pedal-Assisted bike spotted at Boggs - thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL de Jong View Post
    I thought all bikes are "pedal assisted". Without pedals you don't get anywhere.

    I would think that an electric power assisted bike's impact on the trail is about the same as a regular bike. As long as the rider doesn't take all the Strava uphill KOMs I'm not sure we should push to prohibit them, but please educate me why an older rider on an ebike is a "bad apple".
    First and foremost, because their presence is more threatening to hikers than non-motorized bikes, and thus could be used to a ) rally anti bike movements among hiking groups all over and b ) influence council members and trail access decision makers to ban all bikes.

    Anti-bike activists will use ebikes as a pandora's box argument, making the case that the long term goal of the biking community is to open access to all kinds of motorized vehicles. This could tip the balance of the debate towards banning bikes and cause lots of lost access to existing trails.

    Secondly, e-bikes WILL cause more trail damage because the same rider, given an ebike, can put in more hours on trail overall. This weekend I rode Watson lake and Watson creek single track outside of Tahoe City, and the weekend prior I rode Northstar and livewire/boondocks etc. The difference in the state of the two trail systems, less than a mile from each other, was enormous. At Northstar, Boondocks and other lift-served downhill trails, were a chopped up moondust mess, and this was opening weekend. Watson lake area single track, which is not lift served and requires some climbing, and has been open since the snow melted weeks before, was in extremely good condition by comparison. The difference is the amount of traffic the two trails get, and, ebikes will significantly increase the total miles logged, degrading trails faster.

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    OK, I agree that an ebike is a motorized vehicle and it shouldn't be in areas where it is clearly stated these are prohibited. The power to weight ratio of batteries keeps on improving and before we know it an ebike could have the same impact as a small dirt bike. Breaking the clearly stated law does make someone a "bad apple". I see your point there.
    Also known as Menso's dad.

  10. #10
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    I met someone a while ago who had an ebike (emountain bike? whatever). He was an older guy, and was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to share a riding experience with his younger, healthier son. I wouldn't want to deprive anyone of that experience, and frankly, banning them sounds pretty darn able-ist. But I can also see how MTB opponents might engage the "slippery slope!" argument. Sigh, just another baby boomer mess that my generation will have to clean up...
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  11. #11
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    Out on a run in the Marin Headlands I watched this guy wearing moto pants and a full face pedaling up one of the steepest single tracks (illegal for bikes) out of Pirates Cove. It did leave me with this sinking feeling, but I couldn't help but cheer as he went past.

    Dunno?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piranha426 View Post
    I met someone a while ago who had an ebike (emountain bike? whatever). He was an older guy, and was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to share a riding experience with his younger, healthier son. I wouldn't want to deprive anyone of that experience, and frankly, banning them sounds pretty darn able-ist. But I can also see how MTB opponents might engage the "slippery slope!" argument. Sigh, just another baby boomer mess that my generation will have to clean up...
    G'luck with that. So far your generation has only succeeded in tidying messes into politically correct piles that obscure the original issues.

  13. #13
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    Pedal-Assisted bike spotted at Boggs - thoughts?

    Can't wait to get one and wreck havoc on the strava boards...finally my ego will be satisfied!

    In all seriousness, I think there's room and a place for them, but not anywhere/everywhere. Are they really any worse than a horse or an 8" travel downhill bike tearing up the local illegal ST? For those with disabilities I am open to them, for some areas.

  14. #14
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    What if these bikes looked basically the same as a "normal bike" under brief inspection and the noise was negligible. How would you even know that somebody was using one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by plantdude View Post
    Are they really any worse than a horse or an 8" travel downhill bike tearing up the local illegal ST?
    Yes they are worse - with an unmotorized, 8 inch travel bike, with the exception of shuttle-able rides, you must lug it up before you go down. This naturally limits the number of runs that I can do on my DH bike, which slows the rate of degradation of the trail. With a motor on it, that equation changes. Someone who could do 1 or 2 runs in a day can now do 4 or 6. Plus, more people who were too lazy to ride before will be drawn to the trails, further increasing the traffic. So, the trail gets f*d up way earlier in the season, requires more maintenance, and is less fun for everyone because of the congestion.

    Quote Originally Posted by plantdude View Post
    For those with disabilities I am open to them, for some areas.
    I don't think this will work. We see 'service dogs' everywhere now, for all sorts of people who have zero real disability or need for a true service animal. When you ask these people what service the dog is providing, they smirkingly share that they got their doc to write up a prescription for the dog, it provides them 'happiness'. Don't get me wrong - dog lover here. But its an example of how people will bypass the original intent of rules to get what they want. If your local Chevy's was open access to all dogs I think everyone could imagine what it would look like on a Friday night.

  16. #16
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    probably illegal at boggs

    22 miles of unimproved roads and more than 14 miles of non-motorized use trails

    CAL FIRE - Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest

  17. #17
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    Pedal assist bicycles... I've gotten to ride a few now. I think they are super interesting and every year, the progress is impressive.

    Laws and prejudice in the US will make it very difficult for these bikes to get going here.

    They will grow in popularity and acceptance for sure. Probably the first areas are:

    - Commuter bikes. It's just a no-brainer for longer commutes and weaker/older riders.

    - shuttle trails, lift assisted. Downieville, Northstar, etc are mostly assisted trails. A pedal assist bike is closer there to current use.

    - big/wide america and the world. Trail access is not as crowded or contentious as Norcal. So pedal assist will probably start getting used in the wide open spaces in the US and the world.

    So, it will be a slow and interesting process/debate for these bikes.

    fc
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by plantdude View Post
    For those with disabilities I am open to them, for some areas.
    This raises questions for me. Clearly, any cyclist can fall, get hurt in the woods, and be stranded. But if I pop my chain, or bust a wheel, at least I can walk out of the park with my bike. If a handicapped person falls, or even encounters an obstacle that is intimidating them, what are they going to do? I don't think these things belong on ST, especially if the rider is handicapped. This is no prejudice from my end, just food for thought.
    East Bay Parks AKA East Bay Cattle Ranches

  19. #19
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    Pedal-Assisted bike spotted at Boggs - thoughts?

    I thought they were called mopeds?
    All out of S**** and down to my last F***
    I think I strained a pucker muscle

  20. #20
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    Pedal-Assisted bike spotted at Boggs - thoughts?

    Ebikes do not belong on trails that prohibit motorized vehicle usage. I don't like hearing motors buzzing around, or people blasting their music.
    Last edited by shredchic; 06-16-2014 at 08:20 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredchic View Post
    Ebikes do not belong on trails that probibit motorized vehicle usage. I don't like hearing motors buzzing around, or people blasting their music.
    Most high end hubs are exponentially louder than an ebike.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Most high end hubs are exponentially louder than an ebike.
    yeah, or what about avids? heavy breathers? squeaky bottom brackets? porkstacker?

    i don't think there is anything inherently wrong with an ebike. if a bike could delivery X supplemental watts two riders of different strength to weight ratios could ride together up a climb at the same perceived effort. there are a lot of applications where this could be beneficial.

    i also get the objections to having "eMotorcycles" out on trails alongside hikers and bikes. in ca, motorized bicycles are categorized as delivering < 1000w and going < 20 mph: V C Section 406 Motorized Bicycle why not have a classification that imposes lower limits? even a 100w boost would be huge for most folks and that's no where near enough to have it be considered emoto.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Most high end hubs are exponentially louder than an ebike.
    No, actually, they are not.
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    I dunno.

    I don't like them, although I can't really articulate why. It's just a gut reaction to something that seems deceivingly innocuous. It's kinda like when jet skis--or kayakers--starting showing up in the surf lineup.

    Or when e-cigarettes popped up. Or when sharks starting being equipped with lasers.

    You just know that things will never be the same...
    Last edited by dirtvert; 06-17-2014 at 11:18 AM.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by modbog View Post
    if a bike could delivery X supplemental watts two riders of different strength to weight ratios could ride together up a climb at the same perceived effort. there are a lot of applications where this could be beneficial.
    Beneficial how? Would the e-bikers get participation medals too?

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