I apologize for the rant, but this is something that has been bugging me for a while and I need to vent. I'd also love to hear some opinions.
I used to ride a bike everywhere. For a couple of years, my car sat uninsured and unused. Stuff happened (new job, new girlfriend, new hobby - smoking) and I quit riding and started driving again. I shook myself out of it a few years later (last year) and got back on the bike - it sucked! I gave a half-hearted effort and the bike eventually started collecting dust again.
In the meantime, I had become interested in personal electric transportation, namely scooters, and had a couple of those. I used them for short trips to the store and post office and stuff, but longer trips were still done in the car. I find that there's something so Jetson's-cool about electric transportation, so I decided to get into the electric business! I got a screaming deal on a bunch of electric-assist bikes (the scooters aren't legal here) and started the business.
Long story short: I now ride the electric assist bike 20-30 km/day, generally only using the motor to help on hills or if I'm totally bagged, and have lost weight and am happy, not smoking and healthy, and using my car about 90% less. I've even taken the old-fashioned bike out a few times and can manage quite well now. I'll be putting some knobbies on it and heading to the trails this fall.
Here's my rant: There is a group of people I call fundacyclists. They scoff and deride the electric bike and crack jokes when I come into the bike shop like "We don't fix motorcycles here" - yeah, thanks - I just wanted to drop some dough on some new BIKE tires and stuff. The bikes I have use all standard bike stuff (26" rims, 1 1/8 headtube, etc...) and are made by one of the biggest bike companies in the world - they are good quality bikes that happen to be electric.
My friend has a theory about the fundacyclists: While they may ride around naked at Critical Mass and try and promote cycling, they don't really want people to ride bikes. Here's why: If everyone rode, they wouldn't have anyone to feel superior to! They enjoy their sense of smugness and self-congratulatory eco-friendliness and if people started to adopt bikes/electric bikes/electric scooters/Segways/??? they wouldn't have anyone to put down.
I'm sorry if I sound bitter, but I get pretty fed up with this kind of attitude. Almost every house has a bike in it, but how many people ride? If even 2% of those people would ride 10% more on an electric bike, isn't that a step in the right direction? The customers I've sold bikes to have bought them for the following reasons: Selling the car, selling second car, sick of the bus, don't want to be too sweaty and tired when they get to work, want a second bike for hauling groceries, want a second bike for trips in hilly areas, want to be able to speed up their commute, and on and on. In all these instances, these people are using their bike for transportation, and generally, using it instead of their car. I'm sorry, but this is bad, why? Giving people attitude and lip for choosing an electric bike over their car helps who? Jackasses.
Whew...thanks for listening