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Why did you buy an e-bike? PSU (and the bike industry) wants to know

Posted by on May 5th, 2017 at 10:27 am

Family Bicycle Transportation Day - Oregon Manifest-15

E-bikes help regular people do amazing things.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

E-bikes are everywhere in Portland. Dealers report strong sales, they scored great press in the Willamette Week’s latest bike issue, and I have a feeling that in a few years we won’t remember what our bikeways looked like without them.

Like many trends in the U.S. bike scene, Portland is leading the way. We have a cottage industry of sellers, makers, and tinkerers who are pushing e-bikes into the mainstream. We also have an academic brain trust at Portland State University that has become one of the nations leading places for e-bike research. Portland State University has been researching e-bikes since at least 2011.

Now they’ve inked a partnership with national nonprofits People for Bikes (an advocacy group funded by the bicycle industry) and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association to learn even more about the e-bike market and push it further along into the American mainstream.

PSU’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) has teamed up with the University of Tennessee to conduct a survey of e-bike users in North America. Since the study is funded by product suppliers, the survey aims to glean insights into what influenced people to buy their e-bikes. They also hope to learn how the bikes are being used and what features are most valued by riders — and what types of upgrades they might want on future models.

This isn’t new ground for PSU. In 2013, they conducted the first ever national survey of e-bike owners in North America. That survey was a start, but with just 553 responses it offered limited data. By partnering with two major industry groups (one of which has direct access to lists of e-bike buyers directly from manufacturers), PSU will have access to a much larger swath of respondents.

If you own an e-bike, you can take the survey online. It should take about 15-20 and there are 10, $50 Visa gift cards up for grabs if you complete the whole thing.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

173 Comments
  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty May 5, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Awesome photo!

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Andrew Kreps May 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Big, Swoopy Stoke-monkeyed Dummy FTW!

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  • Matt S. May 5, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I tell ya, the solution to Portland’s traffic congestion is bike boulevards and e-bikes!

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 5, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      An e-bike is just a quiet motorcycle.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. May 5, 2017 at 12:22 pm

        Great, because I can’t stand loud motorcycles!

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm

          Harley Davidson is working on an electric motorcycle. For those to become more fashionable than the ones that sound and smell like garbage trucks won’t be soon enough for me.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. May 5, 2017 at 3:04 pm

            Agreed, I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve been woken up way too early by some inconsiderate Harley or crotch-rocket rider. Oh the joys of living on a busy street…

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            • Monkeysee May 5, 2017 at 6:52 pm

              Move.

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              • Alex Reedin May 5, 2017 at 7:53 pm

                You must be aware that housing units on busy streets rent and sell at a huge discount. Or, put another way, that housing units on quiet streets cost way more. So, your suggestion that Adam just up and “move” without any consideration of whether he can afford to is classist. It’s stated rather rudely, as well.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 5, 2017 at 8:29 pm

                What Alex said. The house I live in currently was pretty much the only place I could afford (that wasn’t falling apart) inside of 82nd that was reasonably bike-friendly. Keep in mind that I do not drive, so walkability/bikability/transit-friendliness was high on my list of priorities. If I were looking today, I could not even remotely afford anything in my neighborhood. That and my street was not this busy when I moved here. It’s gotten significantly worse over the last few years.

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              • SE Rider May 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

                It’s actually not as big of a discount as you think. Appraisals usually only list it as -$5K to -10K if you’re buying. But that does depend on how “busy” the street is. 4 lane Powell is a bit different than Division, Glisan, or SE 52nd.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 8, 2017 at 12:40 pm

                The nice thing about owing your own house is that in a few years you’ll be able to move to a house you previously could not afford, perhaps one that’s not on 52nd. Having a supply of lower cost houses is important to helping people build some financial stability.

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              • SE Rider May 8, 2017 at 4:03 pm

                I’ve ridden to work on SE 52nd every day for the last 6 years (including over 3 years without bike lanes). In my view, there has not been a substantial increase in traffic on 52nd between Powell and Division in that time. If anything I actually think it has gone down a bit in the AM with the diverter at Division (and the new signal cycle there). There might be a slight increase in the PM going south (with diverted traffic from the long light at Powell and 50th).

                If someone has actual counts, though I would love to see those.

                Kitty, there is a problem with that thinking in Portland right now though. Lots of people are not “upgrading” housing (even though they have a lot of equity in their homes) because everything they want to upgrade to is really expensive and it’s very competitive to get your offer accepted). Many have opted to just stay put, or build additions to their own homes. It’s a great time to sell if you’re leaving Portland though.
                But yes, you’re completely right, having all kinds of price points is important (for sure lower cost and starter homes included).

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm

                “Upgrade” housing is more expensive, but your house will also fetch a higher price, so it should more-or-less balance out. Nonetheless, buying a house is stressful, and moving is a hassle, so even in a more buyer-friendly market, staying put can be a good choice.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 8, 2017 at 4:50 pm

                Heh, that’s funny. I couldn’t even afford my own neighborhood if I was buying today, let alone a “better” one. Houses down the street from me are going for $800K (all of which are your supposed “existing affordable houses” which you lament when they are torn down).

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 8, 2017 at 5:35 pm

                Looking on Zillow, there are very few houses valued as high as $800K anywhere near 52nd & Division. However, I did see a couple at under $300K, and many under $400K, so maybe there’s hope yet. As for things on the market? Only one over $500K, the rest lower. Still very expensive, but not quite as bad as you were suggesting.

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              • Matt S. May 8, 2017 at 10:29 pm

                Redfin as of now: 435, 600, 700, 615, 489. And this doesn’t include bidding wars. Pretty darn unaffordable for the first time home buyer.

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              • SE Rider May 9, 2017 at 7:30 am

                Kitty, Zillow is notoriously incorrect with listings. I”m guessing the sub $300K ones you saw were “pre-foclosures”, which means they aren’t actually for sale (and I will guarantee they won’t go for that price in the open market). My wife is a real estate agent and it would be impossible to get into that area for under $400K right now (and even that would likely be a fixer). A key point though is that we’re talking about highly desirable Richmond neighborhood. Other areas of outer SE (still within 82nd) are more affordable and you can get houses on “quieter” streets for less than what you will pay in Richmond.

                The point is that it doesn’t really “even out”, because, while your home may have gone up in value the house that you couldn’t afford 3 years ago went up the same amount too. So it will still be unaffordable but now you just might have a bigger downpayment. This is one of the major reasons the inventory has been so low in Portland over the last few years. People just aren’t moving around in the city.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 9, 2017 at 8:55 am

                Super expensive, yes, but not $800K. I noted which prices I quoted were houses actually on the market vs. Zillow estimated value, which I agree need to be taken with a grain of salt, but are better than nothing.

                I am quite sure there are houses in Richmond selling for $800K. It is, as you said, a highly desirable neighborhood. It would not be my first choice if I were looking for something that cost less.

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          • Peter Strauhal May 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm

            Kyle, not trying to be confrontational, but do you own an e-bike? The reason why I ask is that most of your comments about e-bikes are not accurate.

            How do I know? I own an e-bike. Just saying, once you own one of these machines, I found my own assumptions prior to ownership were wrong as well.

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            • Kyle Banerjee May 6, 2017 at 8:28 am

              I do not own an e-bike but I have test ridden cargo, fat tire, upright, and MTB e-bikes with hub, inline, and crank power using pedal assist and throttle. All of them were fun to ride, especially the fat bike in snow.

              I’ve been fascinated with e-bikes for years and suspect I will someday get one. However, four things get in the way: 1) Limited range; 2) The bike I want to build would cost almost as much as a car; 3) Regular bikes are faster for me than e-bikes for most rides; 4) “Real” rides help me maintain strength and cardio base which I need for other things I like to do. #4 is really the controlling factor.

              My negative comments are based on outliers. In NoPo, I see a lot of people moving heavy bikes (kid haulers, cargo bikes, etc) with assist. On Marquam Hill, the people I see are also among the more dedicated cyclists who are good to ride with. A growing number of “normal” people using them to get around in flatter areas. All of these groups do well and mix in fine with other cyclists

              But I increasingly encounter knuсkleheads operating at speeds that shouldn’t be possible while applying little or even zero (i.e. throttle only) effort. 100% of these people are younger men using these bikes as motorcycles rather than as getting a boost so they can ride. I personally don’t care about the legality issue, but I do care about the safety issue as well as the negative attention they bring for all cyclists.

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              • CaptainKarma May 6, 2017 at 1:24 pm

                Absolutely. I see likely perfectly able-bodied e-bke users blatantly speed past my house often, while children are playing. They are very quiet compared to cars and motorcycles. Not acceptable.

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              • Matt S. May 6, 2017 at 1:39 pm

                Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

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              • chris May 8, 2017 at 9:15 am

                I don’t think the pedelecs are comparable to motorcycles, as their speeds top out at 20-25 mph, and there is no actual throttle involved. Perhaps these people have to commute further than you and have to work up from a state of total lack of fitness after years of inactivity? Gotta start somewhere Any use of two-wheeled vehicles is a plus, IMO, in terms of stemming congestion.

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        • Monkeysee May 5, 2017 at 6:49 pm

          Too bad .

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      • CaptainKarma May 5, 2017 at 12:48 pm

        …and should take the lane.

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      • Justin M May 5, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        Not true! Generally they are limited to 20 miles per hour and most are pedal-assist. There are different types of e-bikes.

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 5, 2017 at 2:27 pm

          I can see some argument for keeping legal ones in the bike lane. Though it seems like a lot of the non cargo ebikes tend to go way too fast around peds. A surprising percentage of the ebikes here seem to go way over 20 without pedal assist — those ones functionally are motorcycles.

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          • Matt S. May 5, 2017 at 9:05 pm

            They’re pedal assist up to 20mph, after that it’s all your energy. I can ride my road bike well over 25mph, but not as long as I can with an e assist.

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          • Phil Richman May 8, 2017 at 9:55 am

            There is a bike shop downtown that sells the Specialized Turbo w/ assist up to 28MPH. 28MPH is the California standard top speed for a Type 3 e-bike. Oregon has no such classification system and state law limits all e-bike speeds to 20MPH.

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        • John Lascurettes May 5, 2017 at 4:22 pm

          More argument for a city-wide 20 is plenty speed policy on all but the largest arterials.

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          • joel domries May 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

            john- however even most regular bikes go past 20mph on clinton, ankeny, 42nd, 52nd.

            i have a single speed surly 1×1 and by nature i cant go that fast. however i definitely exceed 20mph on the greenways because they are the best avenues that i can stay away from cars on.

            im all for limiting cars of death speed- but 20 is silly for a bike. unless you say 20 but mean 25mph.

            20 is plenty but really 25mph for a bike.

            ?

            we should also think about speed of traffic- like a car. when i drive im very slow these days but man i get up to 23 mph on those greenways.

            best best-joel courier coffee

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            • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 3:38 pm

              I’m not sure that’s such a great idea.

              Downhill on Clinton, it’s super easy to hit 25 and a number of people do. However, Clinton is crowded, and there are a lot of kids and less experienced riders as well as peds. Mediocre sight lines don’t help.

              Bikes don’t have the same stopping power as cars and this gets worse as you increase speed. Those who enjoy riding fast are better served on faster roads. By curious coincidence, I had to take Macadam twice today (once to run an errand, and then another time when I forgot something and had to return). Much faster than the path or side streets. A road like that will get your blood pumping.

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      • X May 5, 2017 at 5:12 pm

        Don’t get old.

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      • Peter Strauhal May 5, 2017 at 6:15 pm

        From Wiki:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle

        “Depending on local laws, many e-bikes (e.g., pedelecs) are legally classified as bicycles rather than mopeds or motorcycles, …”

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        • CaptainKarma May 6, 2017 at 1:28 pm

          They should be mo-peds. The only difference is they burn coal or hydro generated electricity.

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  • Ray Atkinson May 5, 2017 at 11:44 am

    “By partnering with two major industry groups (one of which has direct access to lists of e-bike buyers directly from manufacturers), PSU will have access to a much larger swath of respondents.”

    Awesome!

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  • Barb Lin May 5, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I have had my new E-bike for only a week and I’m loving it! I’m 49, live up a hill. The e-bike takes away any disincentive (sloth usually or not wanting to get sweaty before or after work) that may have frequently kept me from biking. Theres no reason not to bike now! If I don’t have to factor in the hill at the end of the day I can bike anytime and I can also choose any route – that’s freedom. Its an amazing way to expand bike use for all kinds of folks everyday if you can make the initial investment.

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    • Matt S. May 5, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Brag to all your friends about how great your e-bike is! For things to change considerably regarding ridership and reduction in cars on the road, one needs to be able to stand at the corner of Williams and Skidmore and count more e-bikes than conventional ones. I envision droves of e-bikes cruising down Williams in the auto lane, controlling car traffic and speed.

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  • Justin M May 5, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I wish I had one. I’m sure I’d drive a lot less. Generally I only take the car when I’m tired or late. This would solve both problems. A little off topic, but does anyone else find it weird that Shakira has a Spanish accent now even tho she’s from Colombia?

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  • Jessica Roberts
    Jessica Roberts May 5, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Tangentially related: I read an interesting piece today about objections to e-bikes and toxic masculinity…I really enjoyed it. Check it out?

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    • BB May 5, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      My objections to ebikes involve oblivious operators who pass too closely at speed and can’t be bothered to call out or ring a bell, though I’m just a white male so that should probably be misinterpreted to state that I’m disenfranchising someone.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. May 5, 2017 at 2:33 pm

        This is a problem not unique to e-bikes – plenty of people riding non-e-bikes do this as well.

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        • Justin M May 5, 2017 at 3:10 pm

          Very good point Adam. Tho I wonder if the reasons for doing so differ. I imagine the bespandexed “avid cyclist” who passes too close and too fast really just doesn’t care about people who bike more casually (tho maybe i’m wrong on this one), and less experienced cyclists with e bikes probably just don’t realize how startling it can be to be overtaken so quickly and close. A lot of our e bike customers were not regular riders before getting an e bike. I must admit, I’ve never thought to talk to them about proper cycling etiquette. I’ll have to start making an effort to do so.

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        • BB May 8, 2017 at 9:31 am

          Not anywhere near the same ratio, so far off as to be not worth mentioning.

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      • Matt S. May 5, 2017 at 9:08 pm

        Can’t that be said about people that drive cars. Least an e-bike has a lot, lot less chance of killing you if they side swipe you.

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        • BB May 8, 2017 at 9:30 am

          Of course, but then most cars don’t get as close as most ebikes do. And then there’s the whole thing that this article is about ebikes specifically..

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          • Matt S. May 8, 2017 at 3:46 pm

            You felt compelled to reply, thanks for staying on topic…

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        • SE Rider May 8, 2017 at 4:07 pm

          Cars also tend to be a lot louder than ebikes so you are more likely to hear them coming at least (even hybrids and e vehicles still make a fair bit of noise from tires/etc.).

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 5, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      I couldn’t care less if someone uses a motor to help. I’ve help set people up with electric systems and recommend them for people who need assistance.

      But e-bikes that are not legally configured (i.e. no electric assist after 20mph) don’t belong in the bike lane. And people who use them to ride at speeds they lack the handling skills and judgment for are a menace.

      I have no issues with electric motorcycles capable of high speeds. But they should be in the traffic lane.

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      • dan May 5, 2017 at 3:56 pm

        Kyle Banerjee
        But e-bikes that are not legally configured (i.e. no electric assist after 20mph) don’t belong in the bike lane. And people who use them to ride at speeds they lack the handling skills and judgment for are a menace.
        Recommended 1

        Yeah, this. Just like it’s a bad idea to give a sports car to a teenager with limited driving experience, giving a non-cyclist an e-bike is likely to lead to poor behavior towards other people on the road. I have seen some egregiously poor judgment by people on e-bikes who clearly lacked the handling ability to ride safely at the speeds the motor allowed them to attain.

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    • soren May 8, 2017 at 11:14 am

      What a fantastic blog. Thanks for sharing, Jessica.

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  • MaxD May 5, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    I am happy to hear that E-bikes are getting more popular and I am happy to share bike infrastructure with them. My only gripe is that e-bike riders tend to pass way too close, especially on uphills. When I pass another bike, I leave the bike lane (take the adjacent lane) and give 3′. I would expect the same from other riders whether they are e-bikes or other. I seldom experience this, but when it happens it is usually an e-bike. I hope that as their prevalence grows, a cultural of safe passing develops.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Most people who pass me too closely at speed are riding racing bikes, not e-bikes.

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 5, 2017 at 2:53 pm

        This is inconsiderate of them, but they’re probably less dangerous than e-bike riders since racers are accustomed to close riding and tend to have better skills. Though they could still startle and wreck you.

        Some of the guys that pass you are probably all bаlls and no brains — definitely a menace.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm

          I have been hit by racers; I have never been hit by an e-bike rider.

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          • Kyle Banerjee May 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm

            Some racers are idiоts. I don’t trust any cyclist who is willing to trust me without knowing how I ride first.

            I don’t know how closely you monitor what’s going on behind you, but when you see people like that coming up on you, drifting left so you can create some usable space right before the pass might help.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. May 5, 2017 at 3:07 pm

              I almost never look behind me unless I am about to turn or shift lanes.

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              • Justin M May 5, 2017 at 3:14 pm

                I envy your confidence. I’m always looking back to make sure my pannier hasn’t come off. It never has but I can’t stop checking.

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

                I’m a huge fan of mirrors — much more important to safety than a helmet IMO. You can tell if people see you, it’s an awesome defense against the right hook, you can time movements and signaling, identify and mitigate hostile/dangerous drivers, plus it’s useful for communicating with motorists.

                I feel naked without mine. I crashed a couple years ago and the car behind me rolled over my mirror :'( First place I went was to a shop so I could get a new one.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 5, 2017 at 3:27 pm

                Justin M
                I envy your confidence. I’m always looking back to make sure my pannier hasn’t come off. It never has but I can’t stop checking.

                Hah, I do that too sometimes.

                Kyle Banerjee
                I’m a huge fan of mirrors — much more important to safety than a helmet IMO. You can tell if people see you, it’s an awesome defense against the right hook, you can time movements and signaling, identify and mitigate hostile/dangerous drivers, plus it’s useful for communicating with motorists.
                I feel naked without mine. I crashed a couple years ago and the car behind me rolled over my mirror :'( First place I went was to a shop so I could get a new one.

                I tried a mirror for a while. I found it too distracting – I was constantly either looking into the mirror or trying to adjust the mirror, rather than look where I was going.

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              • John Liu
                John Liu May 5, 2017 at 7:09 pm

                Better situational awareness would be a good idea. Whether one is riding a bike, an e bike, a motorcycle or driving a car, being oblivious is a bad survival trait.

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              • Alex Reedin May 5, 2017 at 8:13 pm

                John, I disagree. Cycling is already extending Adam’s life tremendously on average. Need he be constantly on edge, checking behind him for drivers that have a tiny chance of running him over in order to make an already extremely life-extending activity marginally more life-extending?

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 5, 2017 at 8:21 pm

                In my case, adding something to distract my attention away from the road ahead (a mirror) actually reduces my situational awareness.

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              • Stephen Keller May 8, 2017 at 9:03 am

                I use a mirror, but I get Adam’s point. I had a similar experience with a helmet mounted mirror, it proved so distracting I lost track of the road. I find a bar-mounted mirror affords enough opportunity to keep track of what’s behind when I need to, but not so much as to get in the way of the ride. When it comes to situational awareness, my hearing is much more important to me. These dead-silent electric cars give me the willies, and I don’t understand at all how cyclists can feel safe with earbuds in and cranked.

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    • soren May 7, 2017 at 9:34 am

      To the best of knowledge I have never been passed close by an e-biker. Idjits cat-6 “racing” drop bar bikes not so much.

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      • X May 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm

        Yeah. I definitely agree with the comments about e-bikes doing 20+ belonging in the car lane, but the people passing me close (without leaving the bike lane) or on the ¡curb side! seem to be on conventional bikes. Hooray for cycling season! If somebody gave you a dirty look for setting up on the curb side at a stop, that was me. Hope your realize your line goes through that parked car.

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  • Alan 1.0 May 5, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Why did you buy an e-bike?

    I haven’t yet, but when I do it will be to go farther faster and more easily, and with more load, just like why I would buy any vehicle.

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    • Matt S. May 5, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Exactly. To be resistant to e-bikes is to be for the status quo on the current state of bike committing.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu May 5, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Alex Reedin
    John, I disagree. Cycling is already extending Adam’s life tremendously on average. Need he be constantly on edge, checking behind him for drivers that have a tiny chance of running him over in order to make an already extremely life-extending activity marginally more life-extending?
    Recommended 1

    The chance of Adam being hit by a car on almost any street in Portland is very small, but he seems to think it is substantial.

    Here is what mirrors help you do:
    – Be aware of cars approaching from the rear. This allows you to comfortably ride in, for example, a narrow street without a bike lane (example: SE 20th from Hawthorne to Sandy), because you know where the cars are, when you need to hug the parked cars or curb, and when you can safely take the lane. Without a mirror, you’re either hugging the parked cars all the time (bad) or camped out in the lane all the time (bad).
    – Be aware of cyclists behind you. Knowing when a faster cyclist is catching up to you on a narrow path, you can move over and let them by. This avoids the close pass that seems to frighten some here.

    A mirror mounted on your helmet or glasses works best, as you can glance at it without taking your eyes off the road ahead, much as you can glance in the rearview mirror of a car without losing sight of the road ahead. It takes awhile, but you’ll be subconsciously monitoring the rear without thinking about it. Mirrors mounted on handlebars are very much inferior.

    Let’s put it this way. When you drive a car, the chances of being killed by an impact from the rear are very,, very small. But a good driver is still checking his mirrors and aware of what is around him in all directions. Cyclists need to be even more situationally aware than drivers.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 6, 2017 at 1:16 am

      My brain doesn’t work that way. I can’t focus on two things at once (what’s ahead and what’s behind). What I am good at is immediately focusing on the latest stimulus when riding, so I can quickly divert my attention to that driver revving their engine behind me or that kid crossing the street and immediately react to it. But I just simply can not focus on multiple things at once and a mirror is just something to divert my attention away from the road ahead.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 6, 2017 at 9:31 pm

        Look! A squirrel!

        Seriously… If you can’t track more than one thing after once, take the bus.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 8, 2017 at 10:03 am

          Stop being such an ableist.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty May 8, 2017 at 11:16 am

            If you aren’t able to ride your bike safely, you shouldn’t do it. Maybe the reason you think everyone is trying to run you (and only you) off Clinton is because you don’t know what’s going on around you.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu May 5, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Adam H.
    In my case, adding something to distract my attention away from the road ahead (a mirror) actually reduces my situational awareness.
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    Not after you get used to it. Skills take time to learn.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 6, 2017 at 1:06 am

      Sorry, but my brain just isn’t wired that way.

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      • El Biciclero May 7, 2017 at 8:51 am

        Don’t answer, but how do you know that? One thing I did before using my glasses-mounted mirror for riding in traffic is wear it around the house to get used to looking in it, get used to the extra space I needed (very minimal) to avoid bumping it into things, etc. Also, just having a bar-end mounted mirror like I have on our cargo bike doesn’t mean I have to use it, but it can be a convenient way to do a preliminary check behind and avoid the real attention-diverter of doing a full shoulder check. If the rear-view mirror is clear, do a shoulder check, if there is something there, wait a few seconds and check again.

        I also rely on my rear-view “hearers” a lot—and used to do so exclusively, outside full shoulder checks—but now with so many vehicles running on electricity, and my ears aging rapidly, it has become harder and harder to rely on sound alone.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

          I am the premier expert on my own brain. Trust me on this one. 😉

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          • El Biciclero May 8, 2017 at 11:27 am

            I wouldn’t make that claim about my own brain; I know what kinds of habits I have, and what my mind tends toward, but I would bet there are things I could change with the right info and training; I just don’t see the need to go to that amount of effort for anything currently, and the ability to use a mirror probably isn’t worth that kind of hassle.

            Anyway, I apologize for being presumptive and nosy.

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    • soren May 7, 2017 at 9:58 am

      stop being so patronizing.
      just because mirrors work well for you does not mean that they work well for everyone. a case in point from, perhaps, one of the most skilled cycling demographics is the fact that most bike messengers do not use mirrors. perhaps austin horse has less “situational awareness” than you or kyle:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-Hh3JdmVgU

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 7, 2017 at 6:48 pm

        I would argue he has less situational awareness even if he may have better technical skills. I know where approaching from behind are down to the inch. I know if they see me, their speeds, spacing, and everything else about what’s going to happen when they reach me.

        I do not get surprised by what’s behind me any more that I get surprised by what’s in front of me. What’s more, mirrors are very use for herding cars — a technique people who ride busy two lane roads know, but is unknown among people who believe they’re at the mercy of vehicles.

        Austin horse knows none of those things which won’t cause problems here because he’s the fastest one on the road in the video. However, as soon as he’s not, he has a problem even if he perceives things very quickly. To ride in heavy fast traffic, knowing what’s going behind is absolutely critical.

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        • soren May 7, 2017 at 8:24 pm

          i guess i stand corrected …. kyle does have more “situational awareness” than austin horse!

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          • Kyle Banerjee May 8, 2017 at 7:12 am

            Post a video of him in heavy high speed traffic and I will change my mind. Slaloming through mostly stationary stuff only requires good control and the ability to look ahead. Not the same as situational awareness.

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm

                Much better, particularly the section of highway on the bike messenger race after the 5 minute mark. The two things I would observe is that you can do very different things in a spread out group than you can solo and those are the world’s nicest and most tolerant/accommodating drivers.

                I’m surprised you find this a positive example. These guys are bad with all other road users — particularly vulnerable ones — and make all kinds of assumptions regarding what couldn’t possibly be seen.

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              • soren May 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm

                i’m making a point about mirrors and situational awareness, not defending the treatment of vrus during alleycat races.

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 4:27 am

                I’m not totally convinced of the point. These guys are obviously good at reading and responding to what’s ahead of them which is clearly all about situational awareness.

                But in all the films including the one where they take the highway, it is not clear at all that they can perceive or respond to constantly changing threats from behind that a mirror would be useful for. But these guys’ riding conditions and style are such that mirrors would do very little. It’s a different story for someone who is constantly being overtaken.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 8, 2017 at 10:02 am

          As I explained before, I tried a bar-mounted mirror for a while and could not help looking at it and constantly fiddling with it to get the angle right instead of watching the road. I feel much safer without one.

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 7, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        Regarding messengers, skill and optimum decisions don’t necessarily go together. A lot of them also ride FG bikes.

        There is no way a bike with no front brake can stop as fast as I can no matter how good they are. FG also has reduced handling options in emergency situations.

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  • Andrew May 6, 2017 at 4:53 am

    Ebikes are awesome. I built one last fall and get a kick out of it every time I ride it. Honestly I don’t ride it nearly as much as my regular bike, in fact it’s not even close. It is nice for longer distances. More importantly, I let my brother take it for a spin and he was hooked. He ordered a kit shortly afterward and now uses it every day to get to work and to visit friends. He’s a bit on the portly side but riding every day has been helping him slim down. I’m proud of my bro and glad there’s one more car off the road!

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  • Mike Quigley May 6, 2017 at 6:17 am

    Before you buy an Ebike check the cost of replacement batteries. You’ll eventually need one sooner rather than later, and the cost will surprise you.

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  • Mossby Pomegranate May 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Getting a little tired of these e-bikers ripping by me in bike lanes without any kind of warning at all. They are usually doing about double my speed and you never hear them coming. Show a little courtesy maybe?

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  • Peter Strauhal May 6, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Mike Quigley May 6, 2017 at 6:17 am
    Before you buy an Ebike check the cost of replacement batteries. You’ll eventually need one sooner rather than later, and the cost will surprise you.

    Not an issue. Plenty of non-e bike riders drop $1000 on a power meter, or multiple fancy carbon wheels without a second thought. $300-400 on lycra kits, $500 on a GPS, $10k on multiple carbon bike builds…..See a pattern here?

    As survey results conclude, e bikes are closer to cars as far as maintenance costs. I have found this true as well in my own ownership. Because I now rack up miles closer to a car spending $800 on a new battery every 5 years is completely worth it. Heck, I dropped $900 on a new set of tires on my car, and I have to do that every 3-4 years.

    Also keep in mind millions of hybrid owners don’t blink about battery costs either. Comments about batteries with hybrids (and e bikes) are more about fear mongering than actual facts.

    BTW: comment about e bikes passing non-e bikes: you should hear what pedestrians/hikers are saying about bikes passing them too fast. Also, shouldn’t you criticize the rider and not the bike?

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    • Matt S. May 6, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Exactly, bike commuters on the e-bike issue regarding passing too close sounds a lot like the hikers in Forest Park.

      The traffic, congestion, and unsafe roadways come from people having to commute 10-15 miles in their cars for work. These people aren’t going to switch over to conventional bikes for their commutes. But they might on an e-bike.

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  • Peter Strauhal May 6, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Kyle Banerjee May 6, 2017 at 8:28 am

    “I’ve been fascinated with e-bikes for years and suspect I will someday get one. However, four things get in the way: 1) Limited range; ”

    – Where do you need to go? e bikes range is 20-100 miles. If range is an issue, then you are prob driving a car

    “2) The bike I want to build would cost almost as much as a car; ”

    – Vanmoof, Faraday, Stromer, Specialized all have bikes under $3k. All of which are luxurious, fast, and feature packed. So not sure you understand what e bike builds are offering. You are prob not aware Stromer offers a $10k e bike if you want to match car prices.

    “3) Regular bikes are faster for me than e-bikes for most rides; ”

    – So you can maintain 20mph up hills loaded with gear AND ride at 20-28mph consistantly. Strava results show that e bikes are definitely faster. Even better, do you have Strava results to prove your pace? I have never been passed by a regular bike going uphill, btw.

    4) “Real” rides help me maintain strength and cardio base which I need for other things I like to do. #4 is really the controlling factor.

    – Wrong, you can get a workout on an e bike as well. Just turn off the motor and u are pushing around a 40lb bike.

    “My negative comments are based on outliers. ”

    – Thats my point, your comments are an opinion and not facts. Challenge yourself to link sources from publications, academic sources to verify facts. You will see that your “opinion” is in the minority and are generally mis-leading.

    “100% of these people are younger men using these bikes as motorcycles rather than as getting a boost so they can ride.”

    – See survey results: most e bike owners are 40+ men. Primarily use for commuting, not for moto. Also, my own experience with e bike shops confirms this as well.

    -And…. e bikes are like bikes and not like motorcycles, which defined by law.

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 7, 2017 at 10:49 am

      To address your specific points, range has improved dramatically over the past few years and is certainly sufficient for a normal urban commute and a short errand, but you still need to be careful about advertised ranges since battery performance drops with use and in cold temps.

      I’m willing to ride further than most people on a workday. For example, I’ve ridden over 100 miles RT to attend meetings on workdays. And yes, I can hold over 20mph average solo for long periods of time — lots of people can. In town, regular bikes allow you more flexibility because you can sprint much faster to time/catch lights or draft in traffic at dramatically higher speeds than you can even sprint.

      On hills, I’m obviously slower. But I do sometimes overtake ones that I suspect only have 250W motors on hills. A powerful motor and a good battery enables someone to go noticeably faster than me up, but only on the climb itself and even then it doesn’t save that much time (though their HR is probably way lower)

      I don’t do Strava — I only use wired computers because they’re simpler, respond faster, and the batteries last many years. However, if you want an idea of how I move on different kinds of bikes, here’s a video I shot a few years back when doing the Crater Lake Century https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaVQK48mC6A and here’s one from a longer ride with 16,500 feet of climbing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaVQK48mC6A I like longer rides and have done more solo rides > 100 miles than I could ever count. If I were using assist, I’d want to do things like ride to Mt. Hood or the coast and back.

      As far as exercise and cost go, I know I could get an awesome workout pedaling a 40lb bike up Marquam Hill every day. But heavy bikes just aren’t fun for me on roads. I like being nimble and aero plus my tastes are minimalist which means I think practically all bikes are way overbuilt and I think most gear is overkill. I will go custom when I pull the trigger and it will be designed for the specific type of riding I do at that time. Plus, I’d probably want a second one (cargo bike) if I still live in Portland. My car is worth less than 3 grand.

      As someone has already suggested, it’s the rider rather than the type of bike that’s the problem. The reality is that cycling etiquette in general here is bad. There is lots of unclean passing and people riding closer to strangers than they should. And since e-bikes are faster than most people, it makes it seem like a bike thing.

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      • dwk May 7, 2017 at 7:44 pm

        “And yes, I can hold over 20mph average solo for long periods of time — lots of people can. ”
        Well pro european cyclists can, if you can you should join them…

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      • soren May 7, 2017 at 8:34 pm

        “I can hold over 20mph average solo for long periods of time — lots of people can.”

        is that you john forester?

        pretty much the only people who can ride 20 mph for an extended period of time — say a few hours — are racing org members or serious enthusiasts. both demographics make up a tiny fraction of the people cycling in portland.

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 8, 2017 at 5:36 am

          First of all, I put in over 200 miles/week year round for many years which got me a base which is stronger than most. I’ve climbed more than 15K feet in a day many, many times. If you saw that one video linked to in another post, you may have noticed I was wearing an Everest Challenge jersey. That ride has over 29,000 feet of gain, and I’ve done others as well where no one who can’t maintain a decent pace will make the cutoffs. I also do other high output activities. I got invitations to join racing teams into my mid 40’s and while I’m not what I was, I still can move. I ride roads and distances people here won’t touch.

          So yes, I should qualify as a serious enthusiast. I don’t understand why that should be so unbelievable since there are quite a few in a population this large.

          Whether anyone here believes any of that doesn’t really matter. 20mph is not fast on level ground, and it is nowhere near Cat 1 level as was suggested in another post.

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          • dwk May 8, 2017 at 8:08 am

            The tour de France peloton only averages a bit over 25 mph.

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            • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 3:02 pm

              They ride much further and over serious terrain. This is crazy fast.

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          • soren May 8, 2017 at 4:03 pm

            i’m not challenging your personal claim, kyle.

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            • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 3:27 pm

              I didn’t mean to come off as so defensive.

              I guess I was surprised people would think 20mph is fast for urban distances on level ground. There are a fair number of strong cyclists in the area. The last time I did the RondePDX, the crowd seemed quite large and many finished in a respectable time — speeds like this would be no problem for them. I see a lot of people going to/from PIR that would also have no problem, and there are undoubtedly many more that don’t do events.

              What I would say is that as speeds climb, the bike really matters. Holding 20mph on the type of bike most people commute on including most of the drop bar bikes you see would be very hard for a significant length of time and is beyond my capabilities. It’s way easier on a properly set up race bike.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. May 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

                Are you seriously comparing a freaking bike race to commuting? Surely you must understand the difference.

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 4:25 pm

                A small but significant percentage of people out here commute on race bikes — I’m one of them (most of the time). It works way better than most people would think.

                If road conditions are really bad such as they were during the ice and snow, I pull out my trike http://photos.alptown.com/images/Oregon.2016.TrikeOnIce.jpg It’s also good for hauling groceries.

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              • Matt S. May 9, 2017 at 4:44 pm

                I hope it’s an older retired race bike, Portland weather and road grime will eat up your Camp groupo real quick. Sure is nice to have intergrated shifters for all those stop signs and climbs over the Willamette river 🙂

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 5:18 pm

                My slop weather commuter is actually quite nice — there’s just more joy in a day where you get on a bike you truly love rather than a beater that you only have because you don’t care about ruining it.

                Having said that, I downgraded the shifting on that bike from Rival to DA DT — I got tired of having (expen$ive) integrated levers failing every few years even though I love the shifting and ergonomics. For commuting, DT works just fine and is underrated as a way of shifting.

                The road grime chews destroys wheelsets and tranny components but I consider that operational expense worth the enjoyment I get out of even if it’s significant and I hate paying for it. The way I figure, what’s the point of earning money if you don’t ride what you really wanted? For slop, I ride nice tires mounted on budget race wheelsets ($200-300) and 105 level stuff. For nicer weather, I have lighter bikes with better wheels and components.

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              • soren May 9, 2017 at 6:09 pm

                i switched to disc brakes ~14 years ago because i got tired of eating through a rim every few years.

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm

                If I had any idea I’d be living in PDX, I would have switched years ago myself. They’re the only thing that makes sense on these hills in slop.

                Unfortunately, road discs weren’t ready yet at the time I built my ride. Plus, I had a long highway commute against brutal winds so I had it built as tight as possible — I told the builder not even to give me room for more than 23’s so getting a new fork that would take a front brake would wreck the aesthetic.

                If I were building my bike today for my Portland commute, I definitely would have gotten discs. They’re better in every way for what I need.

                On the plus side, wrecking wheels so frequently eliminates the need for me to worry about maintaining them…

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              • SE Rider May 9, 2017 at 10:16 pm

                Adam, the Rhonde isn’t a bike race.

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              • Matt S. May 10, 2017 at 9:14 am

                I agree, have an old Surly with downtube shifters. Have had various wheel sets, have rebuilt the stock Deore wheels a couple times, 4 cranksets, 2 bbs, 3 sets of brakes, fenders a few times. I have close to 30k worth of miles on this bike. The longest commute I’ve done was 22 miles rt for several months to Vancouver, wa. Not too far, but the transition across the river is terrible. That’s when I wish I would of had a Faraday.

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 10, 2017 at 9:45 am

                I’d almost certainly have an ebike if I would have started out with the commute I have now because what I take for granted wouldn’t have seemed reasonable. At the time I started a 40+ mile RT commute, I really wanted an ebike but nothing at the time had the range and the offerings weren’t nearly as good as now which would have met my needs then. But once you have the base, everything becomes accessible.

                A few things jumped out at me about your stats — you really seem to go through the cranksets and the BBs. Are you actually going through cranksets, are we talking rings, or is the cost of a set of rings that you wear out together for you comparable to a new crank? Also, what kind of BB are you using? I assume you have discs — I’ve never gotten anywhere near that kind of mileage out of brakes (I use Koolstop salmons). I assume you’ve gone through a number of cassettes as well

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              • Matt S. May 10, 2017 at 12:13 pm

                Had the stock deore wheel set, then rode a nicer set for a while, rebuilt that couple times and then went back to the Deore and rebuilt that couple times. No disc. Had avid vbrakes then upgraded to Paul and then went back to Shimano. Replaced countless brake pads. Replaced original crankset with new three ring for touring and external bb. Eventually replaced with double and swapped out bb again, downgraded if that makes since – moved to other bike. Just put new chain rings on, we’ll used purchased from City Bikes. Many chains and cassettes over the years. Especially with new cranksets/rings. I push all my components to the very end.

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 10, 2017 at 1:54 pm

                That all makes sense.

                By curious coincidence, I just replaced a BB on my workhorse. However, the entire tranny is trash so I’m going to run it into the ground because the next time I do the chain, I also need to do the very overdue rings, cassette, and pulleys.

                That reminds me — one of the things I noticed is that a huge percentage of people here don’t know how to work on bikes (even basic stuff). Seems like it would lower barriers to riding if they felt more in control and could maintain their bikes much faster and cheaper.

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              • Alex Reedin May 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm

                I think you have an idiosyncratic idea of what will ever be normal barring huge societal changes. Most people don’t know the first thing about maintaining their cars, not even how to change their oil or put on a spare tire. Why would it be any different for biking? Similarly, most people are not going to ride a 28-mile round-trip commute on a regular bike. Yes, people are capable of change, but let’s be realistic about the level of change that’s really going to happen culture-wide.

                Personally, I know a little about bike maintenance and repair but am just not that good at it. I’ll lube my chain and pump my tires until the cows come home, but anytime I try something more difficult (adjusting shifters, fixing a flat tire) even though I read up on it and end up successful, it’s a stressful ordeal that takes literally 10 times as long as a good mechanic would take to do it. With two young kids at home, I have little free time and less free emotional energy. So I just take my bike to a mechanic. It works really well for me.

                I’m all for people learning how to do things themselves, it’s often easier, faster, and more rewarding than hiring someone to do it (for example, cooking is awesome!). But everyone has their own set of aptitudes, and different things have different levels of suitability to learning on the job. Taking a long time to make dinner or messing it up means I have a cranky family, but it’s done in an hour or two anyway. Taking a long time to fix a bike or messing it up means I won’t have my primary mode of transportation available the next day, which was a big deal before we got a second car even though we do have transit (waiting with 2 kids for a not-all-that-frequent bus to move them 1 mile is not really my cup of tea… And walking a mile with a three year old while pushing/carrying a 1.5-year-old is awesome on the weekend but hell on a weekday morning).

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 10, 2017 at 3:49 pm

                I agree that there are many reasons a lot of people may not want to learn to maintain their bikes, especially since there are a lot of good shops in the area.

                The reason I was thinking about it is I find that many people are intimidated by bike shops and I believe this is a disincentive for them. Also, I’ve seen customers think shop staff are jеrking people around when all they’re really doing is trying to help them and everything is legit.

                Even if you never intend to do any work yourself, a basic understanding goes a long way to building confidence and is useful for asking the same questions. And as someone who knows how to work on bikes and cars, knowing what’s involved helps you appreciate where your hard earned cash is going.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 10, 2017 at 3:56 pm

                For me it was the opposite — I won’t even fix my own flats most of the time these days… I can get it done for $12 down the street, and it’s well worth the money, though I usually ask for my old tubes back and eventually fix them.

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              • El Biciclero May 10, 2017 at 7:32 pm

                RE: maintenance/repair. Just as I was arriving home the other day (yes, in the car with my two kids), I saw a guy walking his bike past our house with an obvious flat tire. I said, “Hey, got a flat?” and he told me he was walking to the nearest bike shop at least a mile away. I asked if he wanted me to take a look at it and he said, “you know how to fix a flat?”

                Anyway, he had a Walmart special, but we threw it up on my stand and took the rear wheel off (my first experience since I was 12 with horizontal drop-outs, even though it was a six-speed rear cluster). He told me that he had a spare tube, but after we got the bad one off and discovered that it had split along the seam on the rimward side of the tube, we discovered his spare was a 20″ tube which would not fit on his 26″ wheel. I attempted to patch the split, explaining every step along the way so he could maybe fix his own flat next time. At every turn, I noticed something terribly wrong with the bike: bottom bracket had more play than a kid at an arcade with a pocket full of quarters, the riveted front derailleur cage had come un-riveted and was useless, the cable ferrules were separating from the cables—and he said he had bought it brand new “a couple of months ago”. Well, either the patch didn’t hold, or a new split developed so that by the time we got everything put back together and I adjusted his rear derailleur a little bit, he was right back in the same boat, except that in the course of sitting there untouched, his front tire had gone flat as well.

                I felt terrible about all the time we spent not fixing a thing, but maybe he learned a little bit about flats. But this guy’s barrier was not necessarily maintenance, but just having a bike that was in such bad shape (after a “couple of months”! ), that it was virtually unmaintainable.

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          • pdx2wheeler May 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm

            I’d often average 20 mph from NoPo to South Waterfront…, but I had Greeley downhill and the ride averaged 20 minutes, so it was more of a sprint. Regardless, I was getting crushed by others on a daily basis when I comparing my segment times on Strava.

            Keep up the good work Kyle!

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 8, 2017 at 6:04 am

          I just realized why I’m such an outlier here.

          Despite this being a bike blog, there’s practically nothing here about cycling. People don’t discuss training, technique, gear, mechanics, nutrition, or events such as the latest at PIR. Rather, it’s almost exclusively advocacy for a very limited type of casual riding. There are other types of riders out there.

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          • Matt S. May 8, 2017 at 7:17 am

            Advocacy for the majority type of rider, the daily commuter.

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            • VTRC May 8, 2017 at 9:34 am

              But it’s not really. It kind of starts that direction then it segues into 8-80 with the emphasis on making everyone comfortable, and then staggers into 8 and 80 where separation and comfort for the least confident riders becomes the preferred infrastructure and the people who want to get to work go back to playing in traffic.

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            • SE Rider May 8, 2017 at 12:49 pm

              I would guess the “recreational rider” is by far the majority rider in Portland. Think about how many friends you have who don’t bike commute but have a bike in their garage that they use once in a while. Even just riding to a bar or event once a month doesn’t make some one a “daily commuter”.

              And there is a pretty substantial population of “racers” or “enthusiasts”, many of which also happen to be “commuters”.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. May 8, 2017 at 10:07 am

            I’m glad no one here cares about “training, technique, gear, mechanics, nutrition”, etc. Bicycling.com exists for those who do care about that stuff.

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            • El Biciclero May 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm

              Kyle said “don’t discuss“, which is different from “don’t care“. I care about that stuff; I just don’t have the time to apply it to anything other than a 25-mile (RT) commute. But I still think about things like keeping foot pressure on the outside and hand pressure on the inside when I’m cornering, I enjoy a 40-mph descent or two on my way to/from work, I prefer tops to drops for aero positioning, I notice the difference a banana makes in how I feel on my way home, I consciously try to recruit specific muscles for specific types of pedaling, and when I get some basic conditioning back, I’ll probably throw in some high-intensity sprints along the way.

              Of course, all of that stuff is often preempted by crappy traffic or sharing of paths with pedestrians and dogs, because I also care about things like safety and being a decent roadway citizen. The same bike on which I enjoy 40-mph descents has lights for visibility, and a bell to provide an audible warning to pedestrians after I’ve slowed from 30 to 10 to pass them.

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 4:36 am

                Exactly. I think those topics are mostly irrelevant for commuting because they simply don’t matter. But there’s all kinds of cycling for which it does.

                On an aside note, most afficionados consider Bicycling.com to be total fluff.

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    • Bay Area rider May 8, 2017 at 9:54 am

      So you don’t think you can get a workout on an ebike? That a look at this video a guy did comparing his ebike commute to his drive commute on Friday afternoons on a 20 mile commute home. During the hour ride his average heart rate was 160. The video includes his heart rate and power output on his ride. The video is sped up so the hour commute takes 15 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHM9HY5bMO4

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 6:15 am

        You absolutely can. Just pedal it over 20mph which makes the assist totally kick out so you’re doing more work than you’d ever be doing on a regular bike — especially since his weighs well over 40 lbs more than a lightweight commuting setup and has way more rolling and aero resistance to boot.

        Anyone who keeps an average HR of 160 should be able to ride 20mph unless they are out of shape or working against hills/wind (which didn’t appear to be the case in the video but may have been). I wonder how the same rider would have done on a regular bike.

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  • SD May 6, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    I am trying to be patiently optimistic about increasing ebike traffic in the bike lanes. However, this doesn’t stop me from waking up in a cold sweat because of nightmares of my kids one day telling me that they have switched to ebikes 🙂

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    • Matt S. May 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      What if your kid is 32 years old and has a 28 mile round trip commute from east Portland to the downtown city center five days a week, year round. He/she saves on gas, time and money. Plus, he/she isn’t so tired from bike committing that he/she can engage in the after work trail run in Forest Park or the swim meetup at the community center. Oh, the 50 miler road ride on Saturday and the 14 mile hike in the Gorge is no sweat. Did I mention that the house out east cost 100k less than what it would have been if purchased within 42nd and Skidmore. My nightmares involve 1 hour commute times on 84…

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      • SD May 6, 2017 at 2:44 pm

        Obviously, this is not the case, but good for you- enjoy your ride.

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 7, 2017 at 11:10 am

        In reality, this commute is also very practical on a regular bike for riders considerably older than that. And if they’re not in shape, they will be after awhile with plenty of energy left for the other activities.

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      • Alex Reedin May 10, 2017 at 4:02 pm

        Kyle, I noticed your phrasing “riders older than that” doesn’t have any qualifiers (all riders, many riders, most riders, some riders, a few riders…). What percentage of the Portland population of people older than 32 do you think could and would do a 28-mile round-trip commute without electric assist on a regular basis given a little encouragement and cultural change?

        My 22.5-mile round-trip commute makes me thankful I have an e-bike, and I am 31 and in better shape than 90% of my age-group peers. The majority of people do something very close to zero exercise. Getting from that to 28 miles round trip unassisted is something like a Mt. Hood of physical conditioning.

        Also, I think some people have a limit for how much of a single form of exercise is healthily sustainable for them. I have a friend who used to ride about 20 miles round trip unassisted. He did it for 1.5 years, but but he found it took so much of his energy that he ultimately opted to stop. He’s quite healthy and active, and better off than while he was doing a long grind (for him) of a commute. Personally, I sort of dream about moving to another city where I have a short (most likely car) commute and can use the additional hour per day of free time to do varied kinds of exercise (trail running, weights, yoga, etc.) instead of mostly one (during the week).

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        • Matt S. May 10, 2017 at 4:33 pm

          Yes, an obligatory ride of 20 miles rt sucks most of the time. Who likes to spend two hours riding everyday during the week. 10 miles isn’t so bad, but it becomes a quick grind due to inefficient bike infra: stop sign after stop sign, lights, shared paths, dangerous roads, poor lighting, unkempt bike lanes, flat tires, greasy hands, cold weather, rain, BO all the time, etc. .

          It’s very different than a 20 mile ride, say out on the Columbia Historic Hwy.

          It was a memorable time of my life, though.

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 10, 2017 at 4:36 pm

          I don’t know how many would. I personally believe that the percentage of people that could is actually a majority of able bodied people. Most people are capable of more than they realize.

          Though people need to look forward to something if they’re going to enjoy it. The e-bike strikes me a great gateway drug in situations like this since most people would need a few months to build up a base that wouldn’t leave them wiped out. If they don’t enjoy the ride, it’s going to be hard to stay motivated to do it.

          The reason I threw out the “older than that” phraseology is I notice that a lot of people who’ve barely cracked 30 feeling old — I give my coworkers like that some guff. If you look at who is looking really good on a bike in a variety of conditions, you’ll notice a high percentage of riders with gray. There are a lot of reasons why someone might not want to ride that particular commute, but I hope age wouldn’t be among those reasons until they’re way older than that.

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        • dwk May 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm

          I am 63 and ride 26 miles roundtrip.
          It is fairly flat, the SW Barbur route from NE.
          It is not that hard and I am not gloating.
          It takes about 50 minutes door to door. Anyone who commutes by car from the east side to Beaverton cannot do it that fast.
          That is why I do it.
          It is good for me and by the way, Two coworkers in the last year have become everyday commuters with similar commutes.
          It just takes a bit of commitment and common sense and good weather gear.

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  • Peter Strauhal May 7, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Kyle Banerjee May 7, 2017 at 10:49 am

    “but you still need to be careful about advertised ranges since battery performance drops with use and in cold temps.”

    wrong: been commuting straight thru snow/ice storm, and there was no concern about range.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/electric-bikes/788711-lithium-ion-polymer-batteries-cold-weather.html

    “And yes, I can hold over 20mph average solo for long periods of time — lots of people can.”

    that’s why you can prove it on Strava. Holding 20mph is hard even for cat 1 folks, and starva results show that is the case.

    “In town, regular bikes allow you more flexibility because you can sprint much faster to time/catch lights or draft in traffic at dramatically higher speeds than you can even sprint.”

    wrong- e bikes accelerate much faster than regular bikes and that is a fact proven time and time again.

    “On hills, I’m obviously slower. But I do sometimes overtake ones that I suspect only have 250W motors on hills. A powerful motor and a good battery enables someone to go noticeably faster than me up, but only on the climb itself and even then it doesn’t save that much time (though their HR is probably way lower)”

    wrong- climbing 20-28 uphill on an ebike saves a tremendous amount of time. Do the math, a regular bike should be around 10-15mph (at best). Most of my in town commute has at least one hill. Hence, why you simply need to own an e bike to dis-credit mis-information like this.

    “I don’t do Strava — I only use wired computers because they’re simpler, respond faster, and the batteries last many years. ”

    Your comment hints that you are not aware how to use Strava: simplest way to use Strava is via app on a smartphone and hit record. No bike computer battery issues.

    “If I were using assist, I’d want to do things like ride to Mt. Hood or the coast and back.”

    Just to be clear, this thread has been about commuting, not about long distance rides. Commuting on e-bikes are both faster, and efficient than a regular bike. That’s a fact. But yes, you can ride an e bike to the coast, see WW article.

    Also, Trek touring offers e bike rentals on their long distance tours which I witnessed overseas. Tour guide told me that 20% of clients are choosing e bike rentals over regular bikes. So long distance touring on e bike is already a thing.

    “As far as exercise and cost go, I know I could get an awesome workout pedaling a 40lb bike up Marquam Hill every day. But heavy bikes just aren’t fun for me on roads. I like being nimble and aero plus my tastes are minimalist… ”

    wrong, heavy bikes are fun to ride as well. Being nimble? turn on motor. Minimalist? Vanmoof and Budnitz. Most people don’t realize I’m riding an e bike on my vanmoof.

    “As someone has already suggested, it’s the rider rather than the type of bike that’s the problem. The reality is that cycling etiquette in general here is bad. There is lots of unclean passing and people riding closer to strangers than they should. And since e-bikes are faster than most people, it makes it seem like a bike thing.”

    Glad you are staring to make some sense. It’s important that cycling community refrain from BS statements that can’t be backed up with fact or research. Plenty of motorist accuse cyclist as uneducated and we need to take the high road and prove we are smarter and practice a culture that encourage “inclusion” and mobility for all.

    That’s why all the hate for e bikes is just plain silly. We are better than this.

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 7, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      I have no hate of ebikes (which I believe to be the subject of this thread rather than commuting). I think they’re a great choice for some people but not for me.

      I disagree that a legally configured one is faster than a fit rider on a regular bike in town. Since you mention Strava, it seems like you could look up any sufficiently long segment you wanted to get an idea of what is reasonable. Presumably, the people near the top are “racing” (another reason I don’t care for Strava — competition should be in controlled conditions where this can be done safely), but go down a bit and you should see what is reasonably doable.

      Your hill speed estimate for a fit rider is in the zone. But the e-bike does not blow by the rider unless the motor is at least 350W. I specified 250W (which many people have) and a heavier rider on a heavy bike with only 250W assist doesn’t have the power to hold 20mph on a decent grade. A short climb like Interstate from Greeley to Overlook Park is only a quarter mile or so and can be covered in about a minute on a regular bike so the few seconds you get ahead even if you hold the full 20 will be erased on the flats within a quarter or half mile. PSU to OHSU is less than a mile and a half with a potential gain of maybe two minutes tops over a regular bike even going up the whole thing at 20mph on an e-bike. It takes a lot more climbing before the difference gets noticeable. Light timing is where the biggest gains are rather than speed anyway.

      As for what is fun, that is for everyone to decide for themselves. Loaded down heavy bikes are not my thing and people who do like those often don’t care for lightweight racing bikes.

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      • Matt S. May 8, 2017 at 7:31 am

        The whole idea of an e-bike for committing is to get people that normally wouldn’t commute, to actually hope on their bike and ride. The idea of lightweight minimal gear, riding to the office in lycra doesn’t apply here. Think work attire, lunch, equipment, tablets, laptops, groceries, etc. An e-bike commute is to car commute whereas road biking is to racing.

        Sounds like you center your life around cycling, most bike commuters do not.

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      • Nony May 8, 2017 at 8:07 am

        Kyle Banerjee
        I have no hate of ebikes (which I believe to be the subject of this thread rather than commuting). I think they’re a great choic…

        ^^this person has never ridden an e-bike^^

        ^^this person does not know how to use strava or even know who uses strava^^

        Plenty of commuters use Strava as well.

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm

          I have ridden many e-bikes. See original post. I don’t use Strava, but I got a logon once just to see what it was about following some hoopla. For the heck of it, I decided to do it for a couple days and really pushed it on a couple segments where I thought I had an edge.

          https://www.strava.com/segments/9922341

          My opinions of Strava stand and using a phone as a bike computer is ridiculous

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          • Nony May 8, 2017 at 12:42 pm

            Kyle Banerjee
            I have ridden many e-bikes. See original post. I don’t use Strava, but I got a logon once just to see what it was about followin…

            uumm, that’s not how Strava works. Believe that e-bikes are slower? Then pick the same route as someone who rides an ebike and hit record on your end. Same route, different bikes, I’m gonna guess you will be slower than an e bike.

            I see that your max speed climbing is 11mph? Were you having a bad day or are you actually a normal rider like the rest of us?

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          • dwk May 8, 2017 at 5:01 pm

            You seriously posted that you finished first on a DOWNHILL run……

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            • Andy K May 9, 2017 at 11:23 am

              the only way to settle this is for Kyle B to race dwk in real life

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          • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 5:26 am

            Since you guys know are such serious cyclists, please tell me what the point of using Strava is in town? To figure out how far you went on a ride they do every day? For “train” or “race” in conditions that vary dramatically? To exercise your cell phone battery?

            I tried the app out just because some guys on another blog where whining about segment poaching. I didn’t realize “racing” in uncontrolled variable conditions on really short stretches was something anyone would take seriously, so I decided to have some fun and steal one from someone.

            I can climb if I want to, but I’m not strong enough to get any segments. However, I can descend particularly well. That particular stretch requires a lot of hard cornering and pedaling so that even if a downhill segment is a joke, it should be pretty evident I can move a bike. Try that section yourself and you’ll see how much leg and handling it takes.

            As far as the questions to my uphill speed, a few things. I was on my way to work meaning I’m wearing work clothes. If I stomp up Marquam Hill, I’ll be a mess when I get to work and I have no way to clean up. I can ride harder when it’s cold. And because my purpose was to mess with people, not to train, track or impress random yahооs on a bike blog with too much spare time, I was saving my legs for that section. Lastly, I do my real activities on the weekends. Torching your legs on a low value commute isn’t too bright if you plan to do something in the middle of nowhere that takes all day.

            I posted it only because it was suggested I didn’t even know what the app was.

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            • Matt S. May 9, 2017 at 8:19 am

              “Torching your legs…” This is the whole point of an e-bike, so you don’t wear yourself out on low volume commutes day after day, week after week. I don’t like to consider my commute as exercise. It’s not a replacement for a run, swim, etc.. I do this stuff after work, after my commute.

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              • Nony May 9, 2017 at 8:32 am

                ^^^Exactly,^^^^^ riding in work clothes and I’m still pulling 250 watts/20mph on an ebike….all day long.

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 9:10 am

                An e-bike does effectively offer a guaranteed bottom speed on a commute as well as greater comfort and the ability to haul more stuff. And it offers a number of other advantages in an urban environment such as better movement/parking than a car with low (or less effort). By a global benefit perspective, they certainly are better than cars for personalized transport.

                If you want a truly great application for e-bikes, how about bike share ones that go to the airport? Getting to the airport isn’t bad and being able to park in the terminal erases the benefit of a car even under optimum traffic conditions. However, hauling luggage is an issue as is theft/vandalism.

                Like I said earlier, I may get one someday. In the meantime, using my body when I can makes it easier to do other things.

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm

          Strava in town where conditions are so variable is ridiculous, and cell phnes are not bike computers since they only can be used for the shortest rides, are fragile, and have inappropriate controls.

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          • Peter Strauhal May 8, 2017 at 6:01 pm

            Kyle Banerjee May 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm
            Strava in town where conditions are so variable is ridiculous, and cell phnes are not bike computers since they only can be used for the shortest rides, are fragile, and have inappropriate controls.

            Wrong: Phones are more accurate
            (distance) (error)
            iPhone 5 (Strava) 2.5019 0.08%
            Garmin Edge 500 2.5334 1.34%

            Source:
            https://www.singletracks.com/blog/gps/gps-distance-accuracy-test-smartphone-apps-vs-dedicated-gps/

            “shortest rides” 117mile recorded starva ride short enough for ya? I’ll let you tell Ryan his milage is off.

            https://www.strava.com/athletes/404697

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            • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 4:50 am

              Phones are not more accurate than a dedicated wired device. GPS is acccurate to about 10′ and relies on triangulation bounced on satellites. In their test (which they didn’t bother to repeat) on a track with an clear of the sky, it did fine. They didn’t even test wired which are more precise unless misconfigured, don’t get thrown off when you don’t get a clear view of the sky, don’t kill your cell battery (you’ll consistently go more than 5 years without replacing/recharging anything), work great in sub freezing and wet temps.

              Who the hесk uses a cell phone as a serious bike computer, and are you seriously trying to suggest that a guy who rides distances isn’t using a proper device?

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              • Nony May 9, 2017 at 8:12 am

                “Phones are not more accurate than a dedicated wired device.”

                yeah, .08% less accurate is worth debating.

                “Who the hесk uses a cell phone as a serious bike computer, and are you seriously trying to suggest that a guy who rides distances isn’t using a proper device?”

                http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/product-news/turn-smartphone-bike-computer-270647

                phones as serious bike computers:
                https://www.amazon.com/Quad-Lock-Bike-iPhone-Plus/dp/B00X3LNYG0/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1494342362&sr=8-8&keywords=quad%2Block&th=1

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              • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 9:49 am

                It’s not 0.08%. It’s 0.08% in when you have a clear view of the sky on a path that’s very trackable. It will be even more accurate for long straight paths and become progressively less accurate as the turns become tighter and more numerous and GPS signals become less reliable.

                That article that you pointed to that’s supposed to convince me that smartphones are good bike computers recommends putting it in your pocket when it’s really wet. What is the point of having a bike computer if you’re not looking at it other than to have pretty graphs to peruse after the ride? Kind of hard to manage/monitor effort that way.

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      • Peter Strauhal May 9, 2017 at 12:23 am

        “I disagree that a legally configured one is faster than a fit rider on a regular bike in town. ”

        PSU study source:
        http://trec.pdx.edu/blog/are-e-bikes-faster-conventional-bicycles

        “These initial studies show that e-bikes are indeed faster on average than conventional bicycles ”

        But let me guess…you still disagree with proven research.

        “Since you mention Strava, it seems like you could look up any sufficiently long segment you wanted to get an idea of what is reasonable. Presumably, the people near the top are “racing” (another reason I don’t care for Strava — competition should be in controlled conditions where this can be done safely), but go down a bit and you should see what is reasonably doable.”

        I’m gonna still conclude you have no clue how Strava is used. Oh, and your strava link hints that you were racing down Mitchell at 31mph, no? Is that an example of how you should be in controlled conditions where this can be done safely?

        “Your hill speed estimate for a fit rider is in the zone. But the e-bike does not blow by the rider unless the motor is at least 350W. I specified 250W (which many people have) and a heavier rider …”

        Example of you passing an ebike is not proper evidence in your case. eBikes can throttle down and cruise at a lower speed. If you have actually ridden an ebike, you would know this.

        In the end: you still only own a conventional bike. I own a conventional bike and have 2 full years of ebike ownership and experience. You have zero ebike ownership experience. I’m satisfied over the last few days I have successfully and intelligently re-butted every one of your odd and illogical statements about ebikes.

        I’m inviting you drop the toxic masculinity and own an ebike….today.

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 10:31 am

          Your “proof” consists of studies of other people riding other bikes. Saying an e-bike is faster than a conventional bike makes no sense since there are so many different types of bikes and riders. Try your theories in a forum dominated by road cyclists or tri gееks rather than commuters on uprights and see what happens.

          You seem unable to understand that people have different riding preferences and goals. As much grief as I give Adam, I’m never going to try to turn him from the slow Dutch cruisers he loves because that’s the right choice for him. I’m not going to try to tell those who are happy with their fixies, delta trikes, or hybrids that they’ve got it all wrong even though none of those are my cup of tea. And that an e-bike is right for someone else doesn’t make it right for me.

          From what I can tell, I have ridden more e-bikes than you and in more environments than you, not less even if my total mileage is less.

          And yes, I consider bombing down Mitchell as I did to nab that segment unsafe and unwise. I did it only to have some fun with the people on Strava, and don’t intend to do anything of the sort again. And BTW, that 31mph is an average speed. Speed tops out well over 40. Try riding that section on an e-bike with any kind of motor or even a car. You’ll see what kind of power and handling it takes.

          On another note, since you trust GPS so much as being so accurate everywhere, I suggest you look at a bunch of speed data. You’ll notice fluctuations that weren’t there.

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          • Matt S. May 9, 2017 at 11:31 am

            Of course I’m not going to go as fast downhill on an e-bike as I will on my fancy road bike. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. I would never take an e-bike out to ride a century, not even think about.

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        • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2017 at 10:39 am

          I just looked at the study proving I’m on the wrong bike.

          Turns out I have an average speed of 8.7mph. Good to know…. 🙂

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        • SE Rider May 9, 2017 at 1:15 pm

          I really don’t think you’re interpreting that study correctly if you’re suggesting it refutes Kyle’s statement.
          If anything it actually supports it:
          Look at Figure 1. Over 15K samples in the conventional bike graph are going as fast as 4K samples going the mean (~24km/hr) in the ebike graph. Thus plenty of people are riding as fast on conventional bikes as the riders on the ebikes. That’s all Kyle is saying is that it can be done.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu May 7, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    If e-bikes become popular, then I expect we will soon have to address their speed. Here is why.

    Portland speed limits are going down, to 20 mph on side streets and possibly 25 mph on many other states.

    E-bikes are getting faster, with new models designed to go 20 mph without pedaling and 28 mph with pedaling. With 750 watt motors, 28 mph won’t necessarily require hard pedaling; an e-bike could be designed so that all the controller needs to detect is “some” pedaling, to keep the power on all the way to 28 mph.

    As road speed limits go down, and available e-bike speeds go up, they will intersect. And then we’ll have to consider whether e-bikes should be required to use motor vehicle traffic lanes, just like all the other motor vehicles.

    Because bicycle speeds aren’t going to go up. Bikes will continue to ride at 10 to 15 mph on the flat for most riders, and 5 to 8 mph on hills, with only the strongest and most experienced roadie-type riders hitting 20 mph on the flat for brief periods.

    I expect that in a few years, there will be enough bad accidents where an e-bike rider doing 25 mph rear-ends a bicyclist doing 10 mph, that e-bikes will be re-classified as motor vehicles and restricted to traffic lanes.

    This will be unfortunate for e-bike riders who choose to buy lower-powered e-bikes or to ride their e-bikes more conservatively. And bad for the e-bike industry too.

    It’s up to the e-bike riders and the e-bike industry to find some way to stop the power & speed race.

    Here is one list of 28 mph e-bikes. https://www.ebikesofne.com/Hi-Speed-ElectricBikes-s/1936.htm As you can see, there are a lot of them.

    Here is an article on the fastest factory e-bikes today. https://www.electricbike.com/10-fastest-ebikes/ Most of the 50 mph e-bikes don’t look like anything that should be allowed in a bike lane, but if the demand is there, the same technology will be repackaged in less “noticeable” form.

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  • maxadders May 8, 2017 at 7:49 am

    I’ve had several close calls with e-bike riders, especially in close quarters like on bridges. They allow clueless riders to do the same stupid stuff, only quicker.

    To be honest I think most of these designs should only assist on inclines. An able-bodied adult doesn’t need pushbutton access to 20mph+ on the flats.

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  • joel domries May 8, 2017 at 8:55 am

    if speeds go to 20mph then i hope you all bike a lot slower in portland.

    i am now shopping for an ebike for my family. i think for people struggling with 15mph this is a great thing. maybe a kid or two. and then a load of groceries. its either electric assist or a car. so i would say- get an electric bike! i would rather just a normal bike but…

    for twelve years ive had a cargo bike, but ive ridden an assist bike in japan. it was fun. the battery idea sucks for me.

    at john liu-

    bike riders at only 10mph on the flats- get out of here. i ride 20 on flats- with a surly 1×1. i can go 25mph if i push on a flat. i hit 30 mph downhill on hawthorne. people with road bikes often and always pass me on the flats through clinton. they are just often workers in commute. bikes- unassisted can go very very fast- especially on the morning commute.

    i wonder what the average speed of a road bike is…
    best joel

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    • joel domries May 8, 2017 at 9:03 am

      i guess i should have asked about your data about the strongest and most experienced hitting 20mph on a flat. maybe its these =guys who pass me in ladds edition daily. i personally feel that i can easily push 25mph on a flat when im in a hurry, and way over that downhill.

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      • SE Rider May 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm

        Do you have a bike computer or are you just guessing?

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      • John Liu
        John Liu May 8, 2017 at 4:28 pm

        It is easy enough to hit 20-25 mph briefly. But try holding 20-25 mph for a sustained period, like a mile, that is a lot harder. That’s about 400 watts for 25 mph. A fit cyclist on a dropbar bike can do it, but 99% of the cyclists you see when commuting around cannot.

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        • joel domries May 9, 2017 at 7:49 am

          sure- but normally i dont have a mile between stop signs. im talking about biking fast, and also slowing at intersections. on my commute and for work/delivery i rarely get to go a mile without an intersection i must slow at or be cautious at.

          I have a bike computer for the front loading cargo bike- yeah i can go 25mph downhil for sure. i can pace cars doing 25 in a sprint but i cant sustain that for very long. i cant hit 35 on a flat with my single speed surly 1×1 without drafting a truck.

          I dont see long straight aways too often.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu May 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm

            And that is my point. You’re a fit rider and you can hold 25 mph for maybe a block or two. But today there are e-bikes that will do 28 mph with the rider pedaling fairly vigorously, and soon there will be many e-bikes that will cruise at 28 mph for miles with the rider casually moving his legs just enough to qualify as pedaling. So the question is: will bicyclists riding at 10-15 mph be sharing bike lanes with e-bikes moving twice as fast, at car speeds? Will that be safe or desirable? Shouldn’t those e-bikes be in the traffic lanes, since they can drive as fast as the cars?

            This isn’t a problem today, because there are still very few e-bikes out there. I’ve been back to bike commuting for a month now, and I see maybe two e-bikes a week. But it will be a problem when e-bikes are more common.

            E-bikes are an industry. A lot of organizations have financial incentives to popularize them, from the manufacturers to the dealers to the magazines and blogs who will advertise them. The safety of bicyclists is of only secondary particular interest to them.

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  • chris May 8, 2017 at 9:08 am
  • VTRC May 8, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I may end up going from a 16 mile commute to a 25 with serious hills. If that happens I’m seriously considering the e-bike as a solution for me. I’ve done serious training in the past, but there’s something different about the day-in day-out grind of a commute, especially in winter.

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    • Phil Richman May 8, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Do it! You won’t regret the decision.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty May 8, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    The nice thing about owing your own house is that in a few years you’ll be able to move to a house you previously could not afford, perhaps one that’s not on 52nd. Having a supply of lower cost houses is important to helping people build some financial stability.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Dang… that was a response for SE Rider talking about the discount of buying a house on a busy street.

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  • pdxstreetcar May 9, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I’ve always been very ambivalent about getting an electric bike. Partly because I felt I’d be judged by all the human powered cyclists as lazy, partly because it made me feel a bit lazy myself. Cost also played a factor.

    But when I was buying my last human powered bike at Clever Cycles, I saw the Faraday e-assist bike and instantly fell in love. It’s the only electric bike I’d seen that didn’t actually look like an electric bike and had a really sexy vintage design.

    Although when I first moved here I rode my bike every day in all types of weather all over town, as I went from part-time to full time work and gained access to car2go and ReachNow (and temporarily owned a couple automobiles before selling them), I found myself biking less and less. When I did bike, the ride from work in the Pearl to my home in Kenton felt like such a chore. So when a family member recently offered to help with the purchase of an electric bike, I jumped at the opportunity.

    I LOVE my Faraday. I’m riding to/from work every day now. I love that it’s e-assist, rather than pure electric with throttle, so I’m still pedaling the entire time which makes me feel like I’m still getting at least a LITTLE exercise. And I can always turn the e-assist off and ride it like a normal bike since it has an 8-speed internal hub (which I’m used to from my two previous human powered bikes).

    Riding it is so freeing, and I feel like if you could get more people to try e-bikes out, you could get more people that are otherwise averse to riding a bike to start riding. And the more people riding, the more demand there is for better infrastructure (and better bikes).

    The cost is much higher than a regular bike (which makes me nervous every time I lock it up), but SO much cheaper than buying/owning/maintaining a car.

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