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The Monday Roundup: LeBron in LA, a $920 ticket, saved by an e-bike, and more

Posted by on July 2nd, 2018 at 9:16 am

Welcome to the week. Our sponsor today is NW Connector, an alliance of bike-friendly transit agencies that make getting to the coast a breeze.

Here are the most important stories we came across in the past week…

Your secret bike-bus-adventure weapon.

Saved by a battery: Author and framebuilder Lennard Zinn was faced with a choice: stop riding or get an e-bike. His story will help you understand why e-bike shouldn’t be a dirty word.

The King in the bike lane: This perfect LA Times editorial welcomes new NBA superstar LeBron James to town, and implores people to avoid hitting him with their cars.

Epic advocacy win: Happy for our comrades in New York City — and for our planet — that beautiful Central Park is now carfree.

Fewer cars in Paris: Oh look, when a big city has a mayor who makes bicycling a priority and introduces more regulations on driving, the result is less auto traffic, more biking, cleaner air, and so on.

New York’s slimeball senator: Brooklyn Republican State Senator Marty Golden is a repeat speed limit offender who’s using his legislative power to get rid of the cameras that caught him.

It gets worse: Five moms of kids who were killed by reckless drivers were arrested during a protest of Golden’s stance on the speed camera legislation.

Lose the labels: I repeat: How people choose to get around does not define who they are or what they believe in. Please stop judging and labeling people based on the vehicle they use. Thank you.


“Mini-Hollands” work: London’s experiment with aggressive bicycle infrastructure updates in a few boroughs has resulted in not just more people bicycling — but even more people walking. And interestingly, researchers found that the proportion of residents with a positive view of cycling also increased.

Bike-friendly CBD: Floyd Landis, the former professional road racer who had his Tour de France title stripped over drug use violations, plans to expand his Floyd’s of Leadville products with three locations in Portland.

On second thought: California’s $5 billion transportation package is up against a challenge at the ballot box with a Republican-led effort to reverse a new gas tax and several vehicle-related fees. So far Oregon has been able to avoid a similar fate.

Banedoggles: USPIRG’s latest look at highway megaprojects does not pull any punches, saying they are wastes of money that don’t reduce congestion and siphon funds from more pressing transportation needs.

Passive-aggressive policy: Oslo faced backlash for a proposed car ban in their central city so they plan to do something more sneaky: Take away all the parking spaces.

Latest helmet research: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab just released new safety ratings for 30 bicycle helmets.

Last-mile by bike: To deal with demand for deliveries, a London-based company has launched a fleet of electric cargo bikes to whisk packages to their destination.

Shame on NHTSA! The story of deadly SUVs and how the federal government looks the other way while people (especially lower-income people of color) are hit and killed by them at an alarming rate and while corporations reap huge profits from selling them is unfortunately not surprising.

$920: Police in New Orleans pulled a man over for biking the wrong way on a street and when they were done writing up his ticket it included several charges that added up to a fine of $920.

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

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  • bikeninja July 2, 2018 at 10:26 am

    My wife was trying to get me to accompany here to a convention in New Orleans this fall. I think I will pass on going there as long as they have the type of draconian bike laws in place described in this article.

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    • idlebytes July 2, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      It’s not that bad. I lived there for a bit around 2010. No one even said anything about that registration I remember talking to people that thought it wasn’t even on the books anymore. More likely they just stopped enforcing it. I even bought my single speed from one of the bike shops on their list Bicycle Michael’s. The larger problem is the racism which is likely more what this is about.

      It’s a pretty good city to bike in. Not much in the way of infrastructure but it’s real flat and has less of that us vs them attitude that we enjoy here. As a whole I’d say it’s a great city with a lot of good well meaning people and is definitely worth checking out but it does still have a lot of issues with corruption and racism.

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      • Mick O July 2, 2018 at 2:45 pm

        From TFA: “The NOPD also says the City council unanimously passed the biking ordinance last year.” Seems like things have changed since 2010.

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        • idlebytes July 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm

          Right they started enforcing it I guess. The law has been around a lot longer then last year though they stopped enforcing it at some point and I’m sure Katrina didn’t help. They didn’t even have recycling when I was living there. A lot of stuff still hadn’t returned to normal even 5 years later. Not sure if this is the best thing to bring back but I am sure it’s being selectively enforced.

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  • Dave July 2, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Re: the NHTSA SUV article–recommend that everyone read “High and Mighty,” by Keith Bradsher which is a 2002 history of the SUV and zoology of SUV drivers. Scary, sobering and at the same time a delightful read.

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  • Pete July 2, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Thank you for referencing Leonard’s story. I developed atrial fibrillation during a dehydration episode in 2010 which has recurred at least four times, and I learned it is not uncommon for cyclists and endurance athletes. I’ll definitely pick up a copy of “The Haywire Heart.”

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    • B. Carfree July 5, 2018 at 12:08 am

      An e-bike rider passed my granddaughters and me on the bike path on the way home from school. It’s not unusual for us to be passed, but at first I didn’t notice the bike was an e-bike. I did, however, notice the oxygen tube the elderly rider was sporting. He pulled over to enjoy the view of the river a short time later and I clearly saw him, his oxygen tank, his tubes and the e-bike.

      Needless to say, this old gentleman would be unlikely to be able to enjoy riding a bike without today’s e-bikes. This “recreational toy” is likely to add many years to his life and is clearly adding to the quality of his life. Who would want to deprive him of that?

      Just to add to the issue: I met a woman in her sixties whose husband loves to ride. She loves to be with her husband, but the only way she can ride with him is with an electric assist on her recumbent trike.

      I find e-bikes inspiring and believe they will be the primary force bringing cycling to the masses in the near-future. As far as I’m concerned, ride any bike that suits you for any reason you find. The more the merrier.

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  • soren July 2, 2018 at 11:32 am

    i found it ironic that the piece on e-biking focuses on recreational riding. imo, the real promise of e-bikes are that they can help normalize cycling for transportation and, hopefully, make bike culture largely disappear.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 2, 2018 at 11:41 am

      woah soren. you’re getting a bunch of stuff confused i think. Road riding for fun isn’t the same as “bike culture” imo. The Netherlands for example has some of the fastest and most talented bike racers in the world. And keep in mind, it’s possible for a society to celebrate and document many different threads of the same story simultaneously. There are all types of reasons to enjoy e-bikes and I don’t see them as being in competition with each other at all. All that being said, if I see a gov’t agency promoting e-bikes in a lopsided way (say, as recreation), I would share your concerns.

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      • soren July 3, 2018 at 9:25 am

        i’m not confused. i simply believe that as cycling for transportation becomes normalized the need to identify as a type of cyclist (and the associated bike culture/tribalism) will largely disappear.

        if I see a gov’t agency promoting e-bikes in a lopsided way (say, as recreation), I would share your concerns.

        the bike industry and famous bike industry insiders, like zinn, are promoting e-bikes for recreation, in an incredibly lop-sided way.

        the bike industry and zinn also promote cycling as an identity, not as a utility:

        “Thing is, cycling (and cross-country ski training and racing) is not only how I defined myself, how I challenged myself, and how I stayed fit — it also was my most, and sometimes only, social outlet.”

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty July 5, 2018 at 12:25 am

          This certainly didn’t happen with cars.

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        • Daniel July 5, 2018 at 9:40 am

          The bike industry is a government agency now?

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    • Dave July 2, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      Soren—being pro-bike doesn’t mean being anti-fun, does it? Really?

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      • soren July 2, 2018 at 2:33 pm

        Yeah…kinda like being pro-walking doesn’t mean being anti-hiking.

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      • Johnny Bye Carter July 2, 2018 at 2:44 pm

        I don’t think of PROfessional cyclists and being pro-bike. I certainly don’t think of them as being pro-bike-fun. I think of them as competitive racers. I think they drive fast on their bike and in their car and don’t want slow recreational cyclists in their way. I think only mildly better of them than I do of drivers.

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  • Johnny Bye Carter July 2, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    The sponsor, NW Connector, seems useless. It gave me no results to get to Seaside or Tillamook to/from Portland, even trying different times and dates. This is a route shown on their map. Now I know not to use them.

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    • 9watts July 2, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Amtrak bus goes to Seaside twice a day. Fast, affordable, and you can put your bike (no disassembly required) underneath for a mere $5. The NW Connector website isn’t perfect. A shame.

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  • 9watts July 2, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    The E-bike article raisers a lot of issues for me. I think it would be instructive to interrogate them.
    Let me start with this series of questions.
    (1) Is it possible, desirable for every ambulatory person in the world to have shoes?
    (2) Is it possible, desirable for every ambulatory person in the world to have a bike?
    (3) Is it possible, desirable for every ambulatory person in the world to have an ebike?
    (4) is it possible, desirable for everyone in the world to have a car?

    My answer to (1) and (2) would be yes. I think we can and should afford the materials, energy, infrastructure, and planet to supply those to everyone. They offer fantastic returns to scale, arguably improve life for just about everyone, are cheap to make and repair almost indefinitely.
    My answer to (4) is an unequivocal no. It is none of the things in the above list.

    Which leaves us with (3). Can our planet afford An ebike (never mind the titanium one in this article) for every man, woman, and child? I think not. There are somewhere technological, material, energetic thresholds which we cross at our peril. Each technology has costs, requires materials and infrastructure that we know we are running out of, depleting at untold cost to everyone, but more directly to those who are poor, live downwind, or in countries that supply us with ‘our’ resources. How much is enough? How much is too much? Who decides?

    The sentence in the article which clinched it for me, was this one:

    “Without the motor, I would have to go super slowly and stop every time my heart rate spiked again, or I would have to call somebody to come and take me home.”

    I’m sure the people in the Congo who are digging up the rare metals that go into our high tech gadgets totally understand this man’s dilemma.

    I’m sure many of you see this differently.
    Have at it.

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    • Pete July 2, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      Is it possible, desirable for every verbose individual to have an Internet connection?
      Is the lithium in your phone or laptop somehow different than that in an ebike battery?

      It may sound like a wise-ass rhetorical question, but every packet sent over the Internet is analyzed by many servers along its path, and they take tremendous resources, each with ecological impact that ranges from the carbon that built the silicon to the cars the programmers drove to work to the fish and birds killed by the hydro dams and wind farms used to mitigate the fossil fuel-based energy to power them.

      Everything we do has consequences, even things we do to argue about those consequences.

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      • 9watts July 2, 2018 at 3:56 pm

        Thanks for those questions, Pete. I agree with everything you wrote. There are limits, but it is hard to get much of a serious conversation going here on bikeportland about limits to things we (bikeportland commenters) tend to like (density, ebikes, lithium, LED bike lights, population growth).

        When we extol the virtues of ebikes, I think it is salutary/necessary to offer some context, explore the question of limits, and try to satisfy ourselves that we’re still on the right side of the tipping point.
        Since you asked about my laptop, I have so far managed to avoid buying a new computer ever, and only one new bike, thirty one years ago which I still ride. Buying used is not without consequences, and parts to keep those going count toward our totals, so I’m not claiming any special talents, but we do need to scrutinize these choices and decisions and do a better job of holding ourselves and each other accountable.

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      • El Biciclero July 3, 2018 at 9:01 am

        “… the cars the programmers drove to work…”

        Well, some of us rode to work today…

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    • Johnny Bye Carter July 2, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Why do you think that ever person desires a vehicle? I think that’s where you went wrong with the whole setup.

      (1) Yes. Shoes are good to protect feet. I’ve seen videos of what happens to feet in places where they have poor sanitation and no shoes to buffer themselves from walking around in filth.

      (2), (3), and (4) No.

      We don’t need to provide everybody with a vehicle. Have you seen the bike parking problem in Amsterdam? We just need to give everybody a way to transport themselves and their goods. This certainly doesn’t mean a fleet of privately owned vehicles clogging precious city space. This means transportation that is even more dense than bicycles. There are plenty of people living a full life without owning any means of conveyance. To saddle them with the burden of a vehicle would be unfair.

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      • 9watts July 2, 2018 at 8:17 pm

        “Why do you think that ever person desires a vehicle?”

        I didn’t. I was talking about supply not demand; but two trends suggest it would be prudent to at least consider the possibilities:
        (1) what we do materially in the overdeveloped countries for better or worse sets the tone and often is adopted with delays across the globe, and
        (2) resource availability tends to constrain this trajectory

        “We don’t need to provide everybody with a vehicle.”

        Oh, so as long as we who can now afford to use up the lithium or titanium or atmosphere, we don’t need to worry about those who come along later?

        “Have you seen the bike parking problem in Amsterdam?”

        I think we have a lot bigger things to worry about than that.

        “We just need to give everybody a way to transport themselves and their goods. This certainly doesn’t mean a fleet of privately owned vehicles clogging precious city space. This means transportation that is even more dense than bicycles. There are plenty of people living a full life without owning any means of conveyance. To saddle them with the burden of a vehicle would be unfair.”

        Interesting. Are you suggesting we try this here at home? I’m all for keeping it simple, recognizing limits, making do, but the popular ethos these days is very boosterist when it comes to e-anything. I was pushing back against that, which maybe wasn’t as clear as it could have been.
        I can’t tell is you think global inequality is fine (cars for us; shoes for everyone else), or_____?

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    • soren July 2, 2018 at 8:14 pm

      the planet can easily afford our extinction. it’s human society that is of concern and we are currently suffering the tragic consequences of automobility – a global capitalist tragedy of the commons.

      can human society afford to not replace many car trips with e-bike trips?

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      • 9watts July 2, 2018 at 8:20 pm

        “can human society afford to not replace many car trips with e-bike trips?”

        Is that what is happening? What is likely to happen? Substitution is always the dangled carrot, but I think Addition is far more common.
        Personally I don’t think human society can afford either in the long run, and the sooner we focus our energies on human scale solutions the better for everyone (except the capitalists).

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        • Eric Leifsdad July 2, 2018 at 10:26 pm

          The car gets (ab)used for short trips because it’s cheap, easy, and there’s plenty of parking at each end of the trip. Whether e-bikes are ultimately necessary to utopian human existence is an interesting thought exercise, but we’re not going to get from here to there by everyone simply deciding to travel more slowly. People have decided the distances they travel between home and work based on automobility and most don’t want to make a huge shift in how they get around or plan their lives. An e-bike is competitive with a car in speed and utility for most urban trips and allows us to move past the parking crisis to more sustainable density. One e-bike uses less than 1/50th as many batteries as an electric car. Not everyone “needs” an e-bike, but if we subsidized them nearly as much as we do the driving of gasoline-powered cars, we could provide everyone with a free e-bike.

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          • 9watts July 2, 2018 at 10:33 pm

            “but if we subsidized them nearly as much as we do the driving of gasoline-powered cars, we could provide everyone with a free e-bike”

            substitution or addition?

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        • soren July 3, 2018 at 9:10 am

          “but I think Addition is far more common.”

          it’s kind of hard to drive and e-bike at the same time…so, yes, there is substitution.

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          • 9watts July 3, 2018 at 9:19 am

            Cute, but you’re missing my point. The implicit claim here is that ebikes will displace car trips, somehow yield a net reduction in fossil fuel consumption. To my knowledge we haven’t seen this, won’t see this any time soon.
            Similar claims are made for car sharing: a net reduction in car purchasing, in VMT. The studies I’ve seen aren’t airtight, seem not to count everything. Do you know of any data showing or purporting to show this for ebikes?

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            • soren July 3, 2018 at 4:39 pm

              i would argue that we have already seen substitution with conventional bikes in portland (albeit not enough). e-bikes are still bikes. they simply make cycling for transportation more accessible to people who are reluctant to cycle and/or who need to travel longer distances.

              the explosive adoption of e-bikes for transportation in europe and asia strongly suggests that we will see even more substitution here in the usa:


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              • 9watts July 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm

                “the explosive adoption of e-bikes for transportation in europe and asia strongly suggests that we will see even more substitution here in the usa”

                Adoption might correspond to usage and/or substitution, or it might not. The article you linked to breathlessly chronicle purchases but says nothing about whether these bikes are being used, much less substituting for car trips. We here in the US have hundreds of millions of regular bicycles, a large share of which I think are moldering in garages unused. Or?

                The other thing to think is the life of these e-bikes. A regular bike can be ignored and after ten or twenty years you pump up the tires and swing a leg over and you’re off. An E-bike isn’t going to put up with this, last this long, work after X years. There is much more to go wrong, stop working.

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              • soren July 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm

                mode share increases and increased bike trip distance have been linked to increased adoption of e-bikes:


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              • 9watts July 4, 2018 at 6:28 pm

                The hyperlink *bicycling is going up* in the article you linked to makes no mention of ebikes (it is in Dutch). I don’t doubt the possibility that ebikes might , in places like the Netherlands, boost ridership or trip distance or whatever, though I’ll happily wait to see data, but what I was pushing back on we’re your earlier statements equating ebike purchases here with all sorts of mode share effects that we could take to the big climate bank in the sky.

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              • soren July 6, 2018 at 4:35 pm

                The report mentioned in the blog post has quite a bit of data on e-bike use:


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  • Johnny Bye Carter July 2, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    On second thought: This is why democracy doesn’t work.

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  • Johnny Bye Carter July 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Banedoggles: Oregon wasn’t mentioned. Does that mean the I-5 Rose Quqarter expansion isn’t so bad?

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    • David Hampsten July 3, 2018 at 2:44 am

      The cut-off line in the article was apparently $534 million, so yes, the Oregon $450 million Rose Quarter project in not a national boondoggle, just a minor bump in the road.

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      • X July 3, 2018 at 8:47 am

        Does anyone really believe it will come in under half a billion?

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  • John Liu July 2, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Leonard Zinn’s article is interesting, but to use it as advocacy leaves out a key fact: his medical situation is rare and what he needs is so specialized that it hardly makes a general case for e-bikes.

    What will actually happen is this: the well heeled will “ride” ten thousand dollar ebikes that are increasingly indistinguishable from non-e-bikes. Without putting in the discipline and grinta to actually be strong riders, they will let money buy them speed.

    The fundamentally democratic thing about recreational roadie-type cycling is that hard work and suffering will always trump expensive gear. The talented rider with sneakers and a hand-me down bike will leave the poseur on his carbon fiber aero Venge for dead every time. No longer, when the guy with the $7,000 e-bike merely has to dial up turbo mode to mockingly hang off the front, heart rate smugly supine and brow untroubled by persipiration.

    Alas, intervention by frame pump, Breaking Away style, is no longer possible, and trying to stick a CO2 cartridge in his spokes will merely lose you a finger. In ten years, we won’t be riding actual bicycles anymore, they will all be high tech lithium fueled mini motorcycles, and anyone showing up to a group ride with a quaintly manual bicycle will be treated like a low rent interloper, doomed to get spat out the back door like the servants taking out the trash.

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    • 9watts July 2, 2018 at 9:39 pm

      Nice post!

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      • John Liu July 2, 2018 at 11:33 pm

        I mean, imagine joining a running club where everyone else has bionic legs and no matter how hard you train and work, you can’t keep up.

        Of course we’re all sympathetic to the person with a medical condition or very advanced age who is trying to stay active, for whom the e-bike is the only way he can stay on two wheels. We’re all sympathetic to the disabled person trying to get around, too. But how many peoole have handicapped parking cards who don’t need them? Imagine if you didn’t even need a doctor to give you a handicapped parking card, in fact you don’t need a card at all, all you need to do is have money and suddenly you can park in all the prime spots. People do things like that. Like lemmings.

        Electric motors and batteries will keep getting better and there’s neither will nor ability to enforce any limits. Today you can have a 250 watt motor in a road bike that looks almost like a normal bike, in ten years you’ll be able to have a 1000 watt motor equally concealed. Your typical fit roadie who isn’t a serious racer might barely put out 300 watts for 15 minutes. The dominant Grand Tour racer of this era put out about 440 watts for 30 minutes in his race-winning break at the Giro, and he represents the top 0.01% of human physiology. E-bikes will make human legs obsolete, except as decorations.

        For sport or recreational type riding, e-bikes will soon be, if they aren’t already, something completely different from traditional human powered bicycles. A different activity altogether. In ten years, pedaling your leg-bike up to join an e-bike ride will be as silly as trying to join a motorcycle ride. And joining a leg-bike ride on your e-bike will be like rolling up on your Harley.

        Utility riding, different story. If I hauled kids and groceries up big hills on a cargo bike, and I had $7,000, for sure I’d get an e-cargo bike. But for recreational or sport riding, especially riding with groups, bringing an e-roadie or e-MTB makes a statement that isn’t flattering.

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        • Dave July 3, 2018 at 10:43 am

          Or maybe this will open space for a Jan Heine/Grant Petersen-like bicycle entrepreneur to run ads where he or she is standing behind a mechanical bike and saying “motors in our bikes? over my dead body.”

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        • Pete July 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm

          Interesting, and entertaining, but Zinn’s condition is not so rare, affects approximately a quarter of the US population, and studies have linked it to both exercise and diet. (There is a popular theory that it’s linked to magnesium deficiency – one I tend to subscribe to, since my a-fib episodes have all but disappeared since I started supplementing with Magnesium Citrate, Beta Alinine, CoQ-10, and beet juice).

          Willing to bet you won’t see many e-bike clubs popping up. They seem to be used for different purposes on the streets, from what I see. Several e-bikers I’ve spoken with are cyclists who supplement with an e-bike for errands or whatnot – one said he has set days he used to drive to work (errands, clothes, etc.) and can now keep the car parked more. One neighbor told me getting an e-bike allowed he and his wife to share one car and get rid of an old one – they still ride a tandem or their singles on weekends and occasional evenings.

          Here in traffic-laden silicon valley, a souped-up e-bike (yes, they’re frequently hacked) allows you to bypass traffic and scream to work without breaking a sweat, but if you were to show up to the Spectrum Ride sporting a motor, I guarantee you won’t be welcomed – now, or ever.

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    • El Biciclero July 3, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Make way for the future Pedalpalooza Non-Motorized Ride (quaintness mandatory, tweed attire optional). Ultrasound scans of hubs, down tubes, seat tubes, and bottom brackets will be required. There will also be a future Abilified ride, of course, where bike adaptations—including motors—would be celebrated.

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    • BradWagon July 3, 2018 at 10:57 am

      An old guy keeping pace on the weekend group ride could not be any lower on my list of bicycling related concerns.

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      • Pete July 3, 2018 at 12:59 pm

        I was out training a few weeks ago when I saw an upright-looking bike coming up fast in my drop-bar mirror. I was riding steadily at ~28 MPH, heart rate maxxed, mouth agape when this elderly Asian woman passed me with groceries on the back like I was a schoolgirl on training wheels. My ego was crushed – I returned home and promptly posted my racing bikes on eBay.

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  • Kevin July 3, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Well, there is data on ebikes replacing car trips – it’s self report survey data, but it’s data:

    My family has several e-cargo bikes, we live on a big hill, we haul kid and groceries. I have a similar, but less extreme/dangerous heart arrhythmia, and without the wattage to go quickly up the hill, I’d use a car a lot. As it is, I’ve driven our car once in the last 4 months. My wife was never a bike person until she got a bike with a motor, now she also barely drives our car.

    Still, the number of ebikes is still statistically insignificant compared to the number of cars, so it’s not like the stats would show up as a reduction in overall vehicle usage.

    I think motors on bike share bikes is going to have a big effect – even if it doesn’t mean more people riding them (but it probably will), it means the people that do ride them will expand the radius for which they see a bike as the solution to their transportation problem…and that reduces car trips.

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    • 9watts July 3, 2018 at 11:18 am

      super interesting data. Thanks for both the link and your own experiences, Kevin.

      I am not surprised by the aspirational tone of the replies to the survey questions. We all swim in the same semiotic waters, and can recognize the ways we would like to think of ourselves, our priorities. Whether at the end of the day this is what happens I think remains to be seen.

      “they reported that 76 percent of their trips via e-bike would have otherwise been made by car.”

      Yeah. Or not.

      “Worldwide sales are exploding, with figures estimating 100 million e-bikes sold by 2035. At the very least, that means more butts on bikes and fewer behind the wheel.”

      This reveals the assumptions and biases of the writers of the article. I don’t see this as automatic, natural.

      When electric power tools (table saws, routers, power drills) became widely available and affordable, more people took up woodworking as a pastime. Power (gas and electric) lawnmowers displaced reel (push) mowers and scythes. Electric and gas cookstoves replaced wood cooking appliances. The trend toward substituting power equipment for hand tools, renewable fuels is central to how our society has evolved, for centuries. Energy use has increased exponentially alongside/because of these technological shifts. To suggest that the net (energetic) effect of ebikes will be to erode automobility rather than supercede what we used to call bicycling seems both premature and unlikely.

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      • Kevin July 10, 2018 at 2:04 pm

        I dunno if anyone is watching any longer, but this article mentions studies that sound like they go beyond self report, and support the anecdotal evidence that ebikes mean that people take longer trips more often, and that ebikes bring women and the elderly into cycling.

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        • 9watts July 10, 2018 at 4:11 pm

          I’m still watching. Thanks for that excerpt. It certainly sounds optimistic. I guess we’ll find out soon how it all shakes out.

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    • John Liu July 3, 2018 at 11:46 am

      e-bikes for utility riding have the potential to enable much longer bike commutes and more bike uses.

      Next, someone needs to develop an e-bike that you can ride in the rain without getting wet. Which doesn’t seem that far fetched to me – look at some faired recumbent bikes and trikes, and velomobiles, there are possibilities.

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  • Audrey July 6, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    This pearl clutching that e-bikes will somehow disrupt the natural order of fit men in spandex who road race is pretty narrow. E-bikes are making bike commuting a reality to people who may have obstacles that otherwise would exclude them. Parents (most often women) doing kid drop-offs. People with disabilities, older people, people who don’t have an hour to huff and puff to work each day…

    I shouldn’t have to stay in the car to make sure I don’t upset any men who don’t want to be passed by a woman with two kids in tow.

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    • soren July 6, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      “This pearl clutching that e-bikes will somehow disrupt the natural order of fit men in spandex who road race is pretty narrow.”

      I love your comment.

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    • El Biciclero July 7, 2018 at 9:27 am

      It is kind of funny these days that when I am passed by someone, especially up a hill, who doesn’t match the “fit male in spandex” stereotype, I find myself looking for the battery on their bike as they breeze past. You know, gotta make sure the natural order isn’t getting too disrupted…

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  • Matt July 9, 2018 at 8:38 am

    John Liu
    e-bikes for utility riding have the potential to enable much longer bike commutes and more bike uses.

    Dead on. Allowed me to start biking to work, 40 miles per day within a reasonable time. Use assist heavily on the way in to cut down on sweat, then get my heart rate up on the way home for the exercise.

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    • 9watts July 9, 2018 at 8:49 am

      Fun! I’d love to hear more.

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      • Matt July 10, 2018 at 4:42 pm

        Always wanted to commute by bike, since there isn’t much lost time versus sitting in traffic. I first wanted to bike-commute when I would have gone over the West hills, but the hill and motor options at the time were restrictive. Now I’m in SE Vancouver. Started buying things last year for the bike, but ended up scrapping that first frame build and starting over. Now I have a Giant ToughRoad GX with BBSHD mid-drive, 1kWh battery, with Marathon 47mm tires. Bike will continue to change over the next few months as I fabricate some things for the darker months, but it works great now.

        I commute from SE Vancouver to downtown Portland. The worst part is the Glenn Jackson bridge, and this long incline back home is why I wanted a mid drive. The path is uneven, some days it feels like you’re getting sandblasted from the dirt and wind, and the noise is nonstop. The rest of the trip is fine, and takes me roughly an hour total one-way – the trip could be done faster if running aggressive and unsafe.

        Never tried the I-5 bridge route. I don’t want to spend time on a bike in Vancouver longer than necessary.

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