Human Powered or Motorized?
So I came across something interesting today if not controversial (at least in my mind). After I finished a loop of Caldera at Bootleg I sat in the parking area to watch three guys coming up Girl Scout. From a distance I could see they were hauling a$$ so it caught my attention. Then as they started getting closer I noticed they weren't pedaling. At first I though maybe they were coasting, then I am sure I had the "RCA dog" look on my face with my head tilted as I realized nothing is flat or downhill coming up Girl Scout. They were on electric, full-suspension bikes which make a weird whirring sound. They definitely were not pedaling on most sections but were still moving uphill fast. When they got to the parking lot, they stopped to troubleshoot one of them which was "slipping" or not functioning correctly, so I took a quick pic with my phone (my fat finger was in the way).
On my way down West Leg, I saw a couple more guys heading up the lower section of Girl Scout, so I stopped to watch them. They were running off the trail around corners and had to stop at one point to laugh as they got out of control. That did not sit well with me.
I went down into the lower parking area and found the "E-Rides" van parked with a rack of a few of the electric bikes. I stopped to chat with the folks there to get more information.When I asked the main guy running the operation what was going on he asked if I wanted to demo one of the bikes. I respectfully declined and asked if they had a permit from BC to be out there. Another guy responded saying "we are all just friends out here riding and we are not charging any money so we don't need a permit." I asked the main guy if he understood all the trails in BC were human powered only and non-motorized. He responded with "these are electric assist only". I told him I saw a couple riders running off the trail and tearing things up. I explained I was not trying to be confrontational and respect the technology behind the bikes but asked him to be respectful of the trails. I also added that as locals we would appreciate if the stay on the trails and not cause any damage.
Was I completely out of line here? I have trouble seeing how an electric bike is different than a motorized vehicle. I also think this technology will evolve. Who is to stop someone from having a 1000 watt e-motor on what is essentially an electric motorcycle?