Hey, you, get offa my cloud

After writing about e-bikes I remembered that someone had once written me about allowing e-bikers to join a dino bike club. Unlike Sam Nunberg’s drunken inability to remember how to use the “search” function in Outlook, I easily found the email. Here’s what I said:

What follows are my personal opinions. I do not represent you or your club (indeed I don’t even know which club you’re in), and I haven’t done any legal research on this issue. If you are facing real or threatened litigation, you should retain legal counsel versed in non-profit law who can guide you on the proper steps to take. My comments below do not represent legal analysis and should not be relied upon to make any legal decisions. As a consequence, no attorney-client relationship is being created by the personal opinions expressed below, and you should have no expectation of confidentiality or privacy with regard to these communications as they are strictly personal and not based on any type of legal consultation or advice. As you say in your email, you are not seeking legal advice and are asking my personal opinion only.

In general, I think that a club is free to admit or deny membership based on whatever criteria it sets forth in its bylaws. That would include excluding e-bikes or motorized riders. I think that a club’s board could amend its bylaws to state that the organization exists to promote non-motorized, non e-bike, human-powered vehicular travel and that participation in group rides is limited to traditional, human-powered bicycles.

While you can’t stop people from hopping into your group rides since the roads are public, I think you are on pretty solid ground to limit your rides and membership to non-e-bike, non-motorized vehicles.

I think there are serious safety issues involved in mixing vehicle types. Speed and weight are the two most obvious ones, but I think there are fundamental problems concerning people on bike rides getting to compensate for their declining strength by using motors. Why not admit electric mopeds or small-displacement e-motorcycles? Why not admit high-powered wheelchairs, at least on flat roads?

If it were me, I would tell the e-bike riders to go form their own club and to ride with someone else. Failing that, I would leave the group or at least not participate in the mixed rides. I have enough problems staying upright without considering the additional parameters of mixed motorized vehicles posing as bicycles.

That said, e-bikes are an amazing innovation that have gotten tens of thousands of people on bikes. They also are mobility enhancing for older and disabled people. I support them and think they’re great, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before I ride with one in a mixed group.

No, my opinion hasn’t “evolved”

It drives me crazy when people say their opinions have evolved. They think that somehow the word “evolved” makes it look more reasoned than ‘fessing up to the truth, which is “I was a dumbass and wrong and now I have changed my mind.”

In other words, I was a dumbass and wrong and now I have changed my mind about these two paragraphs:

I think there are serious safety issues involved in mixing vehicle types. Speed and weight are the two most obvious ones, but I think there are fundamental problems concerning people on bike rides getting to compensate for their declining strength by using motors. Why not admit electric mopeds or small-displacement e-motorcycles? Why not admit high-powered wheelchairs, at least on flat roads?

If it were me, I would tell the e-bike riders to go form their own club and to ride with someone else. Failing that, I would leave the group or at least not participate in the mixed rides. I have enough problems staying upright without considering the additional parameters of mixed motorized vehicles posing as bicycles.

Group rides and e-wankers

The whole point behind the hammer ride is to measure testosterone as expressed by who gets dropped. The more people you drop the more you are #winning. The more you get dropped the more you are getting #trumped, i.e. being #pussygrabbed or #weeniegrabbed.

Mixing vehicle types might be a safety issue if one rider had a throttle and was goosing it mid-pack, but such assholes exist on dino bikes as well, riders who chop your wheel, execute dangerous gutter passes, or hook your bars. They are excoriated and ostracized, just as a misbehaving e-biker would be. Otherwise, e-wankers on hammer rides are just that, people who can’t make the bike go fast with their legs so they do it with a motor, convincing themselves that they really did put out the same effort as the 18-year-old with an ftp of 376 watts. This doesn’t make e-wankers dangerous or a “fundamental problem” on the hammer ride. It just makes them lame.

In fact, for years we’ve had the equivalent of an e-wanker on the Donut Ride, a dude who is very fit and fast who hops in mid-ride on one of the climbs and puts scores of people to the sword simply because he’s fresh. He isn’t a safety issue, he’s an ego issue who quickly deflates the carefully nurtured self-perceptions of all the people he passes. As long as your e-bike isn’t dragging a wagon or running handlebars that stick out to Houston, go ahead and hop in with your crazy delusions about fitness and speed.

Why is that okay? Because we’re all delusional in varying degrees and it doesn’t make sense to punish one group of whackos any more than another.

But what about the Flog?

Every Thursday morning there’s a fitness ride that leaves Malaga Cove at 6:35 AM, pointy-sharp. The point of the ride is to do intervals. It is a bastion of #profamateurism, delusion, and efforts so hard that they actually make people vomit.

What about on the Flog? What are we gonna do when some brokedown e-wanker shows up and wins all the sprunts? Dusts us up La Cuesta? Slaughters us on the golf course wall?

We are going to do the same thing we’d do if he or she were on a dino bike. Explain the course, explain the etiquette, explain the safety rules, and ride our fuggin’ bikes. Because not only are more bikes on the street a good thing, but my delusions are too old, too thick, and too impervious to be punctured by your electric motor.

END

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Every person on a bike is a person not in a car. Bike-on-bike crime sucks. That’s my position and I’m sticking to it. If you agree, consider subscribing … Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

corpses

 

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