If Orville and Wilbur Wright could only see us now! As two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio struggling to get a flying machine off the ground from the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, little did they know that flying machine was in their back pocket the whole time.
Looking forward 66 years from the Wright brothers first flight to a man on the moon and more, cyclists we are getting back to basics with a technological flare. Introducing the E-bike, the new “flying machine”.
Although the concept of electric bicycles has been around since 1890, they are finally all the rage here in the US. Initially they were used in Asia as an economical means of transportation, the trend quickly migrated into Europe. Fast forward some 20 years and the concept moved into the European tourism industry. Now the popularity of these electric -assist bicycle is accepted throughout the world for private use and use in the bicycle tourism industry.
7 Reasons e-Bikes are Here to Stay
If you want to skip to #7, I’m hands down in total agreement with you.
- Economic and Green Value – The benefits to the carbon footprint could be gigantic with less use of combustion motors. Money savings on fuel for individuals using e-bikes for primary work transportation would be substantial.
- Aging Population – As our Baby Boomer are reaching their golden years, the option of using an E-bike will keep them active for years to come, thus giving them better long term health.
- Riding with a companion of a different physical and activity level now becomes easier. There is nothing better for a relationship than an activity that you can share.
- Recovery from an Injury. If you are a high energy person or and avid cyclist, an e-bike may help you make a smooth transition back to your regular activity level.
- “But that’s Cheating” may be a comment that you will get from some avid cyclists and purists on a bike. Let them try your bike for a few minutes. These pedal- assist bicycles are not motor scooters with throttles, you must pedal to make the motor engage. You still need to put effort into making them move. Here in the US, e-bikes are limited to their motorized output of approximately 21 miles per hour.
- They are a great conversation starter. I often use mine as a pace vehicle for my much stronger friends. Everyone wants to try my e-bike.
- They are an absolute “HOOT” to ride.
As a bicycle touring company, Cycle of Life Adventures encourages anyone wanting to stay active to consider an e-bike. We offer 2-3 spaces on most of our tours to accommodate e-bike travelers.
When on one of our cycling tours or riding with a group of manual powered bicycles, adhere to some E-Bike Etiquette:
- Know the functionality of your e-bike. Know how to use your pedal- assist features and output levels. There is a small learning curve to the use of these machines. They are a bit heavier than your carbon fiber ride and handle differently.
- Know the regulations in local jurisdictions. Some National Parks, State Parks, gravel trails and municipality multi-use paths do not permit electric bicycles. The Bureau of Land Management is currently working on the regulations, so check frequently.
- Be polite to fellow non-electric cyclists – don’t draft or follow too closely. The soft hum of your motor may annoy them. Don’t gloat… “that hill wasn’t so bad”. Do not give the Queen’s wave as you zoom by on the up-hills.
- Offer to let your buddies take your ride for a spin. Inside and out they will be giggling like a kid again.
Until we chat again, enjoy your “flying machine”!