E-Bikes Are Not Bicycles V: Gloves Come Off

Previously, on Cycling Unbound, I was acccused this for my original anti-e-bike post: “It manages to cram in almost every anti ebike sentiment I have ever heard to the point of being just plain funny. Can anyone else smell the stench of inadequacy from the poster?”

Not by a long, long shot! :)

But I will rise to the challenge now that the guantlet has been thrown down.

I can show you how e-bikes are the ugly duckling of transportation. No matter what the advantages of e-bikes there’s something else that does it better.

Yes, I know it seems unfair to compare every vehicle to e-bikes. Too bad. It’s unfair to lie to people about a shitty form of transportation. It’s unfair to claim to sell these things to “increase mobility in those who are unable to ride a bicycle” then have the bike paths illegally over run by 20 something assholes who can ride a regular bike but choose not to because they have been decieved by unethical advertising. It’s unfair that e-bikes tell people that they will be healthy then they wind up sitting on their ass and getting fat anyway.

Also, e-bike riders think that they are superior to all modes in all ways so they beg me to make this kind of comparison. I oblige.

1. E-bikes are slower than everything else on the road including bicycles:

“…a reasonably fit rider can ride at 50 km/h (30 mph) on flat ground for short periods.” Similarly, a scooter does 30 MPH. Does that make e-bike riders feel “inadequate and jealous”?

E-bikes are throttled, by law, at 20 MPH and are thus slower.

2. Greenwashing. Bicycles shift pollution from the street to “dirty coal” power plants while cyclists generally get their energy from food which they grow themselves using compost from their toilets.

3. No crash protection unlike a car which has air bags and crumple zones.

4. Can’t read while riding an e-bike unlike what I do on buses and on my bicycle on bike paths.

5. No protection from rain.

6. Too fast for bike lanes and they are banned from bike paths.

7. Lack of excercise. Just as bad for you as sitting in a car, but wastes more time on your commute as they are vastly slower than cars thus you waste even more time in transit. Hello obesity.

8. No sex appeal. Cyclists look dorky on our bikes but our bodies are to die for. Motorcyclists are sexy. And you can fuck inside of all but the smallest and messiest of automobiles.

9. Promote bad values.

a. Impatience and hurry sickness. Not all the references on how much faster their commutes are compared with regular bicycles. Note a typical e-bike rider is slow on a regular bike because they are out of shape while average daily cyclists soon adjust to their commute and become stronger and faster every day they ride.

b. Laziness.

c. Dishonesty and cruelty. E-bike riders like to pretend they have a normal bicycle then they laugh at us while they zoom up a hill. I like to mock people in lycra, too, but I don’t go around lying to them. Also, the seldom used peddles are there to pretend that their under-powered e-scooter is a bicycle.

Summary: When it comes to downsides, e-bikes have all the same downsides of bicycles. When it comes to upsides, bicycles have more upsides than e-bikes. Most of the virtues of e-bikes are shared by higher powered motorized vehicles which share little to none of the downsides to e-bikes.

Get a smart car if you don’t want smog (next to you, the power plants still make it to power smart car). If you want to go fast get real motorcycle. If you want to pretend you are riding a bicycle and saving the planet while really riding a dorkier and lower powered motorcycle then get an e-bike.

6 Responses to “E-Bikes Are Not Bicycles V: Gloves Come Off”

  1. Steve A Says:

    While I do not own an ebike, it seems that electric assist would be useful for a cargo bike being operated in a hilly locale with heavy loads.

    • Fred Says:

      There’s all ready a way to make it easier to climb up a hill. It’s called “gears”. If gears aren’t good enough for you then you really don’t want a bicycle. As soon as we admit these things, the easier things will be for you.

  2. Charles Says:

    I use my ebike to reduce the psychical output to get to my 10 hr a day 40 hr a week extremely physical job. It’s nearly 20 miles in hilly terrain. I still get a light workout by sharing the ride with my motor. I do pedal…and I do it continuously without “ghost pedaling”. My wife and I find no need to own two cars. This option makes her life significantly easier as I am at work for those 40 hrs a week. It affords me to warm up for a long day of physical labor while not tiring myself out as a bicycle would with the hilly terrain.

    A car would simply increase our daily costs significantly and the maintenance costs of my e bike are extremely low.

    I do not want a scooter or motorcycle because I still want the warm up and cool down periods of light cycling effort to and from work.

    I also have a knee that can give out under continuous stress. At work it’s not an issue as my movements use multiply parts of my body allowing me to reduce the effort of said knee if it acts up, and i can sit down briefly if it really acts up. My only choice on the bike is to stop or slow to a crawl. With a 20 mile ride I would rather not have to leave the house at 3 in the morning to ensure that I can make it to work by 6 if my knee acts up…I can simply increase the motor output or stop pedaling and cruise until it has time to rest.

    The failure of your arguments are the presumptions you assume. You presume that the motivations you claim are the reason people use e bikes. You are wrong. I was afraid to do any long distance cycling anymore due to the risk that my knee might give out. But now with careful planning and a spare battery I don’t need to worry if that happens. I just up the throttle and head on home.

    So take your self importance and hatred of non-traditional methods that don’t fit with your view of “this is how things should be done” and listen for a moment to those that clearly do not fit into your straw-man arguments.

    • Fred Says:

      OK, I listened. I think you made a lot of valid points. Thanks for sharing.

      You realize that the law is what it is, and I don’t make it. So if you want to buzz through peaceful bicycle paths with your e-scooter then that’s between you and the government.

      Also, much of my post was my personal opinion. I have no idea why you care so much what one blogger thinks especially one who is uninfluencial as myself, but I do appreciate all the attention. Thanks.

      • Charles Says:

        Yes. And when one puts their personal opinion (especially when it involves the choices of a specific group) they leave that opinion open to support and criticism.
        I happened upon this page while looking into an e bike appropriate for my wife’s needs.

        Also. Your claim of laws is limited. Such bans on paths do not exist in all states. The state I live in uses the federal laws with no additional restrictions. That means my low power electric bicycle is allowed on paths as per federal law; the low wattage and speed require it to be treated as a bicycle.

  3. Steve A Says:

    In Texas, municipalities may BAN human-powered bikes. They have LESS latitude to restrict electric bikes under the Texas Transportation Code. The law does not specify how negligible the electric motor can be. See http://dfwptp.blogspot.com/2013/11/more-on-signs.html for an example where an electric bike would be legal whereas without any electricity it would not. I’m not saying this makes sense, but it IS the law down here.

    We’re really a LONG way from being at a point where cyclists of good spirit should be arguing about infrastructure details.

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