Letter to the editor: Community should embrace electric bike riders

Gary Pax

This letter is to the biking community: If I were to pass you on a bike path in my electric wheelchair would you yell, “cheater chair?” Of course not, you say.

Why then do I, a 72-year-old veteran with a 50% disability, and many of my senior electric bike friends constantly hear “cheater bike” shouted at us when we pass you on an uphill stretch?

Rather than cater to a fragile ego, embrace your good fortune that your young, strong body doesn’t need an electric bike — yet.

Your excuses on why we should not be allowed on regular mountain-bike trails are reminiscent of when snowboards first showed up. “They can’t negotiate lift lines; they can’t get on the chairlift; they scrape off the powder,” etc. Now, it is “they climb up trails they can’t get down; they go too far back and run out of battery” (but we don’t stop Jeeps from going into the backcountry).

So why were snowboarders finally allowed? The ski companies realized they could make a lot of money, and also the excuses were really bogus.

The same is true for e-bikes. The seniors may not be able to be out there helping you build new trails, but we sure can contribute with our wallets — big time. Embrace us; we are a valuable resource and fun comrades in a mutual sport if you give us a chance.

As a side note, the Bureau of Land Management ruled last year that Class 1 e-bikes are not considered motorized. Are any of your club trails on Bureau of Land Management land?


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