The Trail Snob presents the periodic, ill-informed opinions, malformed thoughts, and inappropriate convictions of a certain Web Content Editor. Art’s Cyclery disavows all knowledge of, responsibility for, and concordance with anything that comes out of their keyboard.
The days and weeks surrounding Father Time’s passing of the hourglass to Baby New Year are typically a time of hope and promise. Excitement abounds as to the possibilities of both societal and individual development brought about by our determined intent to improve our present situation. Such attempts at personal enhancement usually include getting out of bed earlier, eating healthier, drinking less alcohol, and riding more. These are mostly well and good—if a little unimaginative—but relatively useless and mostly forgotten by February. But really, who cares? So what if you continue with your weekend breakfast treat of a ham and cheese croissant? You deserve it. Just don’t ride any less and all will be good.
2014, fair reader, brings a grave threat to our freedom and way of life. Thus, instead of wasting your New Year’s Resolutions on the usual tripe, take a stand and make a decision that will benefit humanity for all eternity. This year, resolve to never, ever, ever ride an electric mountain bike, and to do all that is within your power to eliminate the evil specter of motor-assisted sloth that threatens to chase real cyclists off the dirt, replacing them with folks more comfortable standing in line for hot dogs at a NASCAR event than sweating it out on their favorite trail.
My intense dislike of two-wheeled electric-assist vehicles is strictly aimed at those intended to be ridden on trails. Electric commuter bicycles, and street motorcycles for that matter, are great, serving to reduce global carbon emissions and take cars off the road—I am all for them. When ridden on OHV-designated trails and tracks, electric moto-cross bikes are proving to be an adequate and sometimes superior alternative to their two- and four-stroke cousins. However, if you favor equipping mountain bikes with electric motors to take the effort out of climbing, the skill out of cornering and descending, and providing anti-mountain biker groups with the perfect reason to ban all two-wheeled vehicles from trails, then you will not be invited to ring in the New Year at my house. Horses and e-bikes are the same to me—trail destroying, adipose-cultivating excuses to pretend you are an athlete on an adventure. Don’t forget your Patagonia puffy jacket.
There is a special place reserved in whichever place of eternal atonement you believe in for electric “fat bikes” as well. How did that product development meeting go? “Here’s a great idea, let’s take a bike that’s hard to pedal and limited in use—which happens to be the reason people ride them—and make it completely unsafe and take almost all of the challenge out of riding it by slapping an electric motor on!” If you are considering an e-fat bike, do me a favor—just give up and get a Segway.
What can you do to help stem the tide of whirring, dressed-down motorcycles that are at this very moment heading toward your favorite slice of single-track heaven? Start with sneering glances and disparaging remarks whenever the subject of electric mountain bikes comes up. Refuse to include e-bike riders when it’s your turn to buy a round. And never, ever, let any of them borrow your tools. With the proper resolve, together, we can beat the mountain e-bike.