I don’t like electrobikes. They go too fast on the bike path, which doesn’t bother me. Their riders have lousy bike handling skills, which doesn’t bother me. They zoom up behind me without notice, which doesn’t bother me. The riders are completely unfit hardly every pedal, which doesn’t bother me.
They pass me as if I were tied to a math word problem.
THAT BOTHERS ME.
It doesn’t just bother me because they are faster; okay, a lot faster. It bothers me because of what I suspected but wasn’t revealed until the other night, listening to ARD’s Infonacht radio program.
The reporter was interviewing some schmo in Munich who sold electrobikes. “They are great,” said Schmo.
“You can go much farther than on a regular bike. They are cheaper than a racing bicycle. They are very eco-friendly. And of course you can go uphill without much strenuous pedaling.”
“So you expect sales to increase?”
“Oh yes, they have tripled in the last eighteen months.”
“Why do you think they are so popular?”
“Many reasons, but one in particular.”
“What’s that?” asked the interviewer.
“When you pass a bike racer or a fitness enthusiast it is such a wonderful feeling.”
So there you have it. As rotten as you feel when some unfit schmo blows by you at 30 on the bike path, he feels inversely happy at leaving you chewing on the sand and grit kicked up by his back tire.
It doesn’t matter that he’s cheating, that you’re fitter, or that he’s beating you with a fuggin’ motor. What matters is that he is faster and you can’t catch him. So, I pretty much hate that.
But it’s the tip of the iceberg, and you can say in a couple of years that you read it here first: Electrobike racing is right around the corner. What could be more awesome? Unlike ho-hum crits, a pack filled with bikes that can chug around the parking lot at 40 will be thrilling. The crashes will be epic and the technology will be off the hook.
When wankers tangle wheels, a single pile-up will cost $100k. Talk about a yard sale!
Forget getting an edge with a few millimeters of carbon on your rims; racers will be getting more and more motorized wattage crammed into lighter and lighter frames. You think weight weenies are a bore? This will cross the unbearable boredom of weight weeniedom with the agonizing mindlessness of gearheadism.
“But that’s not bike racing!” we will screech and scream.
Not in the beginning, perhaps, but as the manufacturer money flows in and the races become more like motocross and less like bicycles, real bike racers will move in. Instead of a sport where you need 60 minutes of fitness to ride a break or win a field sprunt, you’ll need spurts of power to complement the bike’s wattage for short bursts. A sprint will mean tacking on 5 mph of human power to a 45 mph top end of the electrobike.
The electro horsepower will allow riders to wear real protective gear instead of lycra underwear. The sport will be incredibly fast, incredibly exciting, and incredibly dangerous. Best of all, there will be no masters categories–just young kamikazes pedo-racing their souped up electro bikes for cash primes and closed head injuries.
It’s coming in a couple of years. You’ll see. I hope I’m dead by then, and if I’m not, please shoot me.
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