Electro Pace for Great Justice

Published 2011-09-14

I discovered a new training regimen for my usual commute (along Terwilliger): outpace electric bikes. This is hard. They accelerate uphill.

I’m seeing more and more electric bikes (and electric-assisted bikes e.g. Stokemonkeys). Generally this trend pleases me but but but. On the one hand: yay, BIKES! and engineering WIN! and one less CAR! On the other hand: still looks like CHEATING! Especially on a long climb.

For some reason, I don’t have the “looks like cheating” reaction so much to electric-assisted cargo bikes. Riders of such bikes, if I can generalize, act like they’re in the club. I imagine that cargo bike riders have a stable full of other bikes they ride when they’re not hauling a sofa or kids. Their other bike is a bike. The electric bike riders are ... different. They sit bolt upright. They are timid about seizing right of way. They soft pedal uphill. They wear a lot of safety gear. They project the image that their other bike is a car.

Don’t get me started on the guy in SW Portland who bolted a two-stroke motor to his bicycle. I admire his mechanical acumen but that thing is now a moped, and has no business in the bike lane.