‘Cheater!’: Tensions rise as Coloradans debate how much trail access to give e-bikes | SummitDaily.com

‘Cheater!’: Tensions rise as Coloradans debate how much trail access to give e-bikes

Olivia Prentzel
The Colorado Sun
Daniel Giffin, 15, was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 11 and has since discovered a passion for e-biking. Prior to his diagnosis, Giffin was an avid unicyclist.
Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun

The sun was almost setting when 14-year-old Daniel Giffin crossed the finish line on his electric mountain bike last August, nearly the last in the pack of thousands of cyclists riding across the state of Iowa in the stifling late-summer heat. 

Beneath his teal helmet, patches of Daniel’s shaggy brown hair were loose from his 48th radiation treatment. His left foot and lower leg were weak from a cancerous tumor — once half the size of a human fist — lodged on the right side of his brain. 

“I was like crazy wiped and I didn’t think I was gonna do it. But I put myself in a mindset and we just started listening to music, dancing. And so when I actually finished I was so happy,” Daniel told The Colorado Sun earlier this month, recounting his feat.

Then an older cyclist rode past him, turned and sneered: “Cheater!” The young cyclist had just clocked 87 miles. 

But the man’s comment didn’t get him down. For Daniel, already a veteran cyclist by the time he was diagnosed with cancer at age 11, an e-bike is just another tool allowing him to keep doing what he has always loved to do. 

But what Daniel sees as a tool to stay active while battling brain cancer, others see as a vehicle that could sow chaos on trails. While e-bikes are largely permitted on streets and paved urban paths throughout Colorado, the question of whether to allow them on natural surface trails — like those found on mountains and in parks and open spaces —has erupted into near-fist fights on some trails as communities grapple with clashing opinions over their off-road use.

Read more at ColoradoSun.com.

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