Think tolerance for e-bikes is common? think again!

DDBB

Well-Known Member
Copied and pasted from a web article.. "
The long slow drone of a pack of electric bicycles (e-bikes) approaches us from behind. They sound like a swarm of bees gathering into formation - ready to strike. As they get closer the volume increases and my nerves jangle with anticipation of their attack.

Struggling slowly uphill in the midday sun I glance around, desperately searching for an escape route. The bike path is narrow. To my left a tight, winding road is hostile with traffic. It runs through yet another wonderfully picturesque town, but I have no time out from ensuring my own survival to appreciate its beauty. Medieval buildings rise up on
my right, built as close to the street as possible and leaving no room to swerve. Ahead, another swarm of e-bikes hurtles toward me down the hill. I try to hold my line, concentrating on the space ahead, hoping the pack behind will overtake before the ever diminishing gap in front of me closes. They begin to overtake - two, three, four ........ six in all. The last of the group cuts in just millimetres from my front wheel and with only seconds to spare before the downhill pack shoots pass. Both disappear into the distance. I am safe for now. I have a few precious moments before another group of e-bikes attack.

We are cycling the paths around Lake Constance (The Bodensee) one of the largest lakes in Europe. Bordered by Germany, Switzerland and Austria it is, or ought to be, a cyclist's delight. The path which circumnavigates the lake passes through quaint Medieval towns, market farms and lush fields. It meanders beside railway lines, across historic bridges, along back roads and sometimes next to busy highways. From time to time it dips down to the shore for scenic views across the water. There are places to picnic, hills to climb, views to appreciate and architecture to marvel at. Sadly there are also e-bikes, hundreds and hundreds of them, in great marauding packs swallowing up the kilometres like locusts in search of food.

Where once Europe's bike paths were the preserve of a hardy and adventurous few, now sexagenarians, septuagenarians and even a few octogenarians charge up their machines, pull on their lycra and hit the pavement. In our early sixties, David and I feel very much in the younger cohort of cyclists. With almost no effort on the part of their riders the bikes sail up hills, roar along flats and become kamikazes on the downhill. They approach from behind like teenage snowboarders, recklessly indifferent to wiping out anyone who stands in their way. Without the slightest decrease in velocity they duck and weave between other cyclists, cars and pedestrians. Worse still they use the size of their groups like battering rams forcing others to make way by sheer weight of numbers.

They never slow down. They don't have brakes - at least none that I can discern. Perhaps they are terrified speeding up again will run down their e-batteries. Nor do they seem equipped with bells or voices. There is never a warning signal, neither the tinkle of a bell or the polite call of 'on your left' as they pass. There is only ever the buzz of electric motors to warn of impending danger.

They arrive at their destinations untroubled by effort or sweat. With no need to stop and catch their breath at the crests of hills, they are strangers to the camaraderie among pedal-powered cyclists who have conquered the kilometres.
In our recent travels around Lake Constance and south-western Germany we found e-bikers everywhere. Priding themselves on their 'green' credentials their impact on everyone around them is enormous. To give some idea of the scale of the problem, in 2017 720,000 e-bikes were sold in Germany alone and the European Cyclists' Federation estimates that by 2030 there will be 62 million electric bicycles in the EU. Cities are overrun by them and towns, villages and previously quiet country paths are blighted by them.

Some e-bikes go as fast as 45 km/h (28 mph). In others the power assist cuts out at 25 km/h (15.5 mph). Some require the rider to pedal, others can be operated purely by throttle. Whatever the type e-bikes are capable of speeds normally associated with cars, yet the caution with which the average motorist approaches blind crests and curves seems almost universally lacking amongst the operators of these mechanical beasts.

The problem is exacerbated by the plethora of e-bike tour companies feeding the demands of an older generation to whom the idea of cycling even short distances was previously out of reach. No longer do cyclists need to start slowly, gaining fitness, and learning balance and other cycling skills before heading out on long treks. Now they jump on an e-bike and go, posing a danger to themselves and anyone else who happens to be in their path. "
 

Figs

Active Member
While the writer no doubt embellished much of it, there is a valid point. This is another reason I am against higher speed eBikes. I have a class 3, but see no valid reason to go over 20 mph. If a motorized vehicle is capable of going over 20 mph, it should be licensed, insured, and the operator have a drivers license. And of course not be allowed on bike/hike trails.

I had a Honda Express back in the late 70’s I used to run errands. I had to have a drivers license, tags...etc.... to ride it. My eBike goes just as fast via throttle, and faster with assist. Why should my class 3 eBike be treated differently?

If you want to commute on an eBike at 30 mph great. License it, insure it and ride. But don’t take it on a bike bath with baby strollers, walkers, and dogs. Sure, you world only go 15 mph because you’re a good person, but a lot of people aren’t. A good person could ride a motorcycle on a bike path as well.
 

DDBB

Well-Known Member
but the swarms of e-bikes use there groups as battering rams forcing others to make way by sheer weight of numbers.. What can be done about THIS? :)
 

David Berry

Well-Known Member
Region
Australia
City
Ipswich, QLD
I found it interesting to read the comments that readers of The Travelling Lindfields blog posted.

Quite a few tut-tutted something akin to "Oh, that's dreadful!" but no one politely suggested that their host was being even a trifle too enthusiastically extravagant in her exaggeration.

Hyperbole wins again.
... David
 
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DDBB

Well-Known Member
She also propagates the myth that e-bikers "don't have to work" to ride their bikes. As a rider of a class 1 e-bike I can attest to having to work on every ride and so can everyone else on this site. She makes her audience believe that e-bikes are loud, obnoxious and ridden only by rude people with a "get out of my way" attitude... Sad.
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
While the writer no doubt embellished much of it, there is a valid point. This is another reason I am against higher speed eBikes. I have a class 3, but see no valid reason to go over 20 mph. If a motorized vehicle is capable of going over 20 mph, it should be licensed, insured, and the operator have a drivers license. And of course not be allowed on bike/hike trails.

I had a Honda Express back in the late 70’s I used to run errands. I had to have a drivers license, tags...etc.... to ride it. My eBike goes just as fast via throttle, and faster with assist. Why should my class 3 eBike be treated differently?

If you want to commute on an eBike at 30 mph great. License it, insure it and ride. But don’t take it on a bike bath with baby strollers, walkers, and dogs. Sure, you world only go 15 mph because you’re a good person, but a lot of people aren’t. A good person could ride a motorcycle on a bike path as well.

I definately agree on the speed thing. I dont commute at the moment (work from home) so all my riding is for fun/fitness. I own a Bulls Evo 3 27.5+ hardtail class 1. While the 20mph annoys me many times, in reality its best for most of what I use it for. There are situations where 20+(non downhill) would be fun, in those situations, I just enjoy the scenery. If I was commuting and the situations allowed higher speeds I might think differently. I do spend alot of time at the 20mph limit though.

I am building an opensource TSDZ2 mid-drive conversion setup which will be a class 3 bike, it will be interesting how I end up using this responsibly.

So lets have a good ebike story:

I was doing an exploratory ride last week, basically doing a 45mile ride. So many options out here in the boulder/denver area. About 35 miles in, bucking a good 20mph headwind and rolling hills probably up to 8%, I came up on a roadie. Judging by his equipment and attire I would say he was pretty serious. I debated passing him not knowing what to expect. I decided to up the assist level to max and just go for it. He had no problems sticking to my back wheel for the next 10 miles(first time this has happened in 3 months of ebike use). Much of this was limited to 20mph(all against the wind) but it was still a ton of fun. Just before I turned off for my exit, we had a brief chat and he thanked me for the tow and was bummed I wasnt going to help him up the last hill into boulder.
 
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E-Wheels

Well-Known Member
I found it interesting to read the comments that readers of The Travelling Lindfields blog posted.

Quite a few tut-tutted something akin to "Oh, that's dreadful!" but no one politely suggested that their host was being even a trifle too enthusiastically extravagant in her exaggeration.

Hyperbole wins again.
... David
I’m embarrassed to say that she is an Australian (assumed as she resides in Sydney)
Her misinformed, biased and bigotted rant should be given the appropriate response it deserves
A reference to a body oriffice comes to mind?

Her blog should be renamed “The Travelling Luddites”
 
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PDoz

Well-Known Member
So am I reading this right?

Go to another country where hundreds of thousands of locals have moved on from oldbikes, then whinge because you can't cope?

She may live in Audtralia, but she's not an Aussie.
 
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PaD

Well-Known Member
She also propagates the myth that e-bikers "don't have to work" to ride their bikes. As a rider of a class 1 e-bike I can attest to having to work on every ride and so can everyone else on this site. She makes her audience believe that e-bikes are loud, obnoxious and ridden only by rude people with a "get out of my way" attitude... Sad.
It´s not what it used to be. That´s what the article says to me.
I have done the ride around Bodensee on an organised tour maybe 10 years ago, age of participants was 45 - 70, and can tell you with an e-bike on that tour you "don´t have to work". If that is bad or good I don´t know.

The description of the e-bikers in the article sounds very much like the cyclists ( no e-bikes but lycra and/or speedbikes) in Stockholm, Sweden. Not all are bad but a lot of them are terrible egoistic and reckless people.
I can understand the writer because on bike lanes like around Bodensee or along river Mosel there is no need for more speed. It´s not commuting. These are nice recreational routes in beautiful surroundings ( Mosel valley more so than Bodensee I think). E-bikes shouldn´t be a problem as there should be a EU speedlimit ( 25km/h) for e-bikes the bike lanes. Some of the riding around Bodensee was on public roads.
People on e-bikes have to use their brains but that´s not always the case.
I realize now I should be happy I did those rides many years ago. Just like the trekking in Nepal.
The introduction of e-bikes has of course helped increase the number of people on European bike routes. Good for some, bad for others.
 

Jerry LM

Active Member
So move over to the right and get out of my way!?This is nothing compared to the rants I hear from car drivers when they are behind a group of riders four abreast holding up traffic without consideration for traffic laws!
 

Jerry LM

Active Member
So, when they outlaw e bikes only outlaws will ride them! Typical whiners of which there are to many today. I love the whine of my bike when it’s cruising, at a nice pace..e bikes are here to stay and I make no apologies I love mine. So now she’s mad because older folks can ride as well? She probably drives a car at 40 in a 75 lane to and complains about the muscle cars. What we don’t need are any more laws and regulations, ie: politically fueled schemes to charge more fees and taxes. Live free and let be.
 
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6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Northeast Pennsylvania
I must be missing something. Are ebikes really that noisy? I can barely hear my Pedego hub drive even at full speed. I've passed and been passed by many others on the trail and never noticed a noise issue. It's been my experience they can't be heard more than a few feet away.

I have to add that I've been intimidated several times when overtaken by groups of spandex clad riders on conventional racing bikes. I just pull over and let them pass. This article shouldn't be a condemnation aimed specifically at ebikes. I suspect the author would feel the same way about handicapped people in electric wheelchairs if there were enough of them.
 

AZOldTech

Active Member
She also propagates the myth that e-bikers "don't have to work" to ride their bikes. As a rider of a class 1 e-bike I can attest to having to work on every ride and so can everyone else on this site. She makes her audience believe that e-bikes are loud, obnoxious and ridden only by rude people with a "get out of my way" attitude... Sad.
Well... you may "want" to work to ride your ebike but others don't. She is talking about those that don't.