Wednesday, September 18, 2013

More Withering- Now With Added Wind & Dust!

I have to tell you, I have no idea why anyone would want to go out to Bootleg Canyon this time of the year to ride bicycles. Absolutely brutal sun, wind, and dust. It is as if Interbike is making you pay penance for riding rad bikes by making you do it in Vulcan's  blast furnace of solar fire and dust.

And if you manage to be one of those folks that is content to be a wandering observer, you still get the joy of having the moisture sucked from within you by the hot winds which were emanating from a fan set on "high" position located in the desert somewhere. At least, that's my take on it.

Then there are some cool things, of course. The "Ride To Recovery" happened that morning. Seeing some of the machines that were being ridden made me pause and remember that I am a very blessed man and have nothing to complain about. Humbling. Very humbling.

Motor + Bicycle = Motorcycle.

One thing I find baffling about the bicycle industry is the so called "e-bike". The name refers to electric motor equipped two wheeled vehicles that happen to have cranks and pedals emanating from them. The very name is meant to cleverly direct your thoughts towards "technology", and a certain computer company in regards to product appeal.

Somewhere along the line we have forgotten history, once again, and we are paying the price. Look- here's the deal: Back in the early 20th Century some fellas got the hankerin' to put an internal combustion type motor on a bicycle. It was deemed cool. These new contraptions were dubbed "motorcycles" because they took a "motor" and added it to a "bicycle" and the name "motorcycle" was born. It makes perfect sense, no?

So why is there a disconnect these days when some folks get the hankerin' to add an electric motor to a bicycle? It's a motorcycle plain and simple. Remember- motor + bicycle = motorcycle. Every time. Period.

I was reminded how this disconnect is not good. In fact, it is dangerous and likely to cause some major friction, (at the least), and trail closures in a worst case scenario. I was climbing the fire road back into Bootleg Canyon today when a guy went around me going up at at least 20mph on one of these new fangled motorcycles. Not a big deal? Well, my friend was walking up hill, made a slight wobble to one side, and nearly was knocked into by a fellow going uphill as fast as the guy I saw was going. People are already up in arms about trail users going downhill fast, what do you suppose they might think about folks on "e-bikes" going uphill as fast? Do you think they will disbar motorcycles, or all bicycles instead? 

Well, it looks as if we're going to find out, if these electric motor equipped motor cycles start getting popular off road.

Going to head to the Mandaly today for the indoor portion of Interbike. Stay tuned......


Iowagriz said...

Amen with the Motor+Cycle thoughts...I see a guy on the local bike paths periodically moving along at 20mph or so. That might not normally be a problem, but he handles the bike like a novice. If e-bikes become efficient and cheaper, we could see many of these buzzing around on the paved trails and creating issues (let alone off-road like you describe).

S Sprague said...

GT, I'm with ya on the "motor + bicycle = motorcycle"! Those bikes will shut down a lot of trails here in California if ridden on multipurpose trails. Enjoy the show!

John said...

Thanks for the update GT. Hang in there!

You're so right about the e-bikes. E-bikes make all the sense in the world for commuters, other transportation cyclists and physically impaired people to ride - ON THE ROAD. But if yahoos start bombing mountain bike trails on these things, there will be problems - for safety of trail users, for sustainability of the trails, the works. I hope IMBA and other mtb advocates get in front of this issue and ensure that trails that are off limits to motorized vehicles stay off limits to e-bikes too. I guess I don't have a problem with e-bikes being ridden on trails already open to dirt bikes. But that's the key - stay on the dirt bike trails!