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Touring on Ebikes

Old 06-27-16, 02:30 AM
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Touring on Ebikes

Just cycled the Camino in Spain to Santiago de Compostela and was hanging out in the Cathedral plaza watching the mostly walking pilgrims arrive when I spotted these strange looking mountain bikes. Each had a battery pack in the frame triangle and were being ridden by what appeared to be fit young people in their twenties.


I'm in my late 60s and it came as a shock that people obviously capable of riding a bicycle over long distances would find it acceptable to use the assistance of an electric motor.


Am I alone or just an old fogey?
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Old 06-27-16, 04:16 AM
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i asked this before caretaker simply because i have lower back problems, i got a probike fit done last week and it's taken ten years of my life no more back pain cycling happy days,
so no i wouldn't take a electric bike .i done the camino in 2007 from bilbao epic ride tough but enjoyed every pedal stroke.
mind u in a few years time when they sort out the battery life an E bike is on the cards.
well done on the camino ride.
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Old 06-27-16, 04:58 AM
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It's the future, it's inevitable and I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you check out tourists in germany, I'd estimate 90% are now riding e-bikes. While we rode through I tried spotting conventionals and they were really quite rare. I even tried one e-bike when a nice fellow tourist let have a go. It was fun but not really my thing, at least not yet.

Most german tour bikes have a Bosch bb mounted engine and a down tube battery (check out hai bikes). I really didn't like the bosch as it was creaky as heck. If I ever go E I'll either have a front wheel drive, a non creaky bb mount or a rear wheel drive.

Also considering that an E-bike with one battery pack weighs only a few pounds more than your average tour bike (at least the one I tried was only 2 kilos heavier than my bike) you could even do remote touring and only use battery power when needed.

I also don't blame young people who could also not use electric assist. This for one reason and revelation I've had on this tour I'm on. Touring is only a vacation. There is nothing higher, nothing noble or cool about it. It's just a way to have a good time. And an E-bike gives more flexibility to have fun as it allows for longer daily distances, more speed etc.

I find that for a young person using electric assist would somehow be unacceptable is frankly one of the stupidest comments I've seen on this forum in years. Shame on you Caretaker.
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Old 06-27-16, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
It's the future, it's inevitable and I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you check out tourists in germany, I'd estimate 90% are now riding e-bikes. While we rode through I tried spotting conventionals and they were really quite rare. I even tried one e-bike when a nice fellow tourist let have a go. It was fun but not really my thing, at least not yet.

Most german tour bikes have a Bosch bb mounted engine and a down tube battery (check out hai bikes). I really didn't like the bosch as it was creaky as heck. If I ever go E I'll either have a front wheel drive, a non creaky bb mount or a rear wheel drive.

Also considering that an E-bike with one battery pack weighs only a few pounds more than your average tour bike (at least the one I tried was only 2 kilos heavier than my bike) you could even do remote touring and only use battery power when needed.

I also don't blame young people who could also not use electric assist. This for one reason and revelation I've had on this tour I'm on. Touring is only a vacation. There is nothing higher, nothing noble or cool about it. It's just a way to have a good time. And an E-bike gives more flexibility to have fun as it allows for longer daily distances, more speed etc.

I find that for a young person using electric assist would somehow be unacceptable is frankly one of the stupidest comments I've seen on this forum in years. Shame on you Caretaker.
well u were going well until the last sentence
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Old 06-27-16, 05:20 AM
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Forget about motors, electromagnetic wheels are the new thing in mechanical doping | Cycling Today
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Old 06-27-16, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
Just cycled the Camino in Spain to Santiago de Compostela and was hanging out in the Cathedral plaza watching the mostly walking pilgrims arrive when I spotted these strange looking mountain bikes. Each had a battery pack in the frame triangle and were being ridden by what appeared to be fit young people in their twenties.


I'm in my late 60s and it came as a shock that people obviously capable of riding a bicycle over long distances would find it acceptable to use the assistance of an electric motor.


Am I alone or just an old fogey?
63yo me agrees:

Besides the aesthetic:

Incidence of overweight and obese adults as a percentage of the total population:

Germany: 54.8%
France: 60.7%
Spain: 60.9%
United Kingdom: 63.4%
United States: 68.8%
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Old 06-27-16, 07:55 AM
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I commute on a, conventional geometry, e-bike and recreational ride on a, non-e, recumbent. Both have advantages for their intend use. The fist important thing to get over is that it is not "cheating" nor is it something only for the old or disabled. It is just another way to have fun on a bicycle.

I have had motorcycles, a moped, and an e-bike. An e-bike is nothing like a moped or motorcycle. As stated, I use an e-bike for commuting, it is a simple kit; as such, it brought my 43Lb bicycle up to 51Lb (do note, that is fully ready for work weight, not bare bicycle weight). What it does is takes the edge off the, frequent 15-30mph winds.

I can see the same thing with touring. I am working on a long range touring trike. I am tinkering with a small assist. First the solar panels should provide some sort of sunshade. Second, the assist should (based on a few power level experiments) make it feel like it is unloaded.

It really comes down to what one considers fun. Some people like the feeling that they struggled for, and won, every mile. Some people like to pedal along and see the countryside. Neither is wrong, it is just a different game. Both are on bicycles; but they want different things.

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Old 06-27-16, 08:01 AM
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It needst to be kept in mind that an E-bike only assists and still requires watts from the rider. It's an easy low threshold way of getting non cycling regular folk into bicycle touring. It's quite likely that the net health increase per every new individual would be significant, especially if take up e-biking or ordinary cycling in general as well.

Of course if you want to keep the 'undeserving' out that's a different thing altogether...

I personally think every new cyclotourist be it E or no is a good thing
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Old 06-27-16, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
63yo me agrees:

Besides the aesthetic:

Incidence of overweight and obese adults as a percentage of the total population:

Germany: 54.8%
France: 60.7%
Spain: 60.9%
United Kingdom: 63.4%
United States: 68.8%
Ok, now to continue playing with numbers, which countries have the highest percentage of e-bike sales?

You mentioned Germany, it is interesting that they are held out as an example of a country with extremely strong e-bike sales. As was said above, cycling is good. I think more people cycling, instead of driving, is a net good, both for the individuals and for other cyclists. I do not see it is an elite sport. It is both transportation and pleasure. The biggest issue I would see with e-bike touring is the range issue.


This chart from Pike Research shows strong growth for e-bikes for Europe through 2018:

image from here

Last edited by Robert C; 06-27-16 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 06-27-16, 08:05 AM
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^^^

There cannot be cheating if it's not a race
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Old 06-27-16, 08:07 AM
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I hope the culture of Bicycle Tourists remains 100%-human-powered

I certainly hope that Bicycle Touring remains a human-power endeavor and doesn't conflate to include motor-powered and/or motor-assisted bikes.

IMO: If you don't have a doctors note: HTFU

Last edited by BigAura; 06-27-16 at 09:55 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-27-16, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
I certainly hope that the Bicycle Touring remains a human-power endeavor and doesn't conflate to include motor-powered and/or motor-assisted bikes.

IMO: If you don't have a doctors note: HTFU
Damn right! Cycling is only for the fit, young, and strong. Hell! Fitness is only for the young and genetically endowed. The rest of the population should learn to just sit back and worship their betters!

(I am really glad that most people see the above statement as JPS [just plain stupid])
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Old 06-27-16, 08:25 AM
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Don't worry Aura there will always be the purist tourers. But as said above anything that gets people out of their cars and from in front of their TVs is a good thing.
A Ebike cargo bike sounds like the nearly perfect vehicle to me. At least for errands, groceries, picking up the kids etc.
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Old 06-27-16, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
Ok, now to continue playing with numbers, which countries have the highest percentage of e-bike sales?
maybe my eyes are playing tricks - seems to be something
inconsistant about that graph and the numbers.

"With tens of millions of e-bikes already on the road in China, e-bike sales are now surging in Europe,"

"This statistic represents the projected sales of electric bicycles worldwide in 2018, by region. In that year, some 42.4 million electric bikes are forecast to go to China. The country is expected to remain the most important market for electric bikes worldwide. "

no.....i think i got it now, asia pacific is represented by a yellow line
(that's not very pc!) on the chart.

however, it seems they don't make a distinction between e-bikes
(battery assist) and electric scooters (no pedals). scooters are
everywhere, e-bikes not so common. i've seen a few, but only
ridden by the lowest-paid employed folks.

haven't seen e-bikes here that look like "normal" bikes.
styled more like a battery-operated moped.

anyone with money drives a car, who look down on the scooter
drivers, who look down on the e-bike riders, who can't be bothered
to look down on the peasants on bicycles.

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Old 06-27-16, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
I think more people cycling, instead of driving, is a net good, both for the individuals and for other cyclists. I do not see it is an elite sport. It is both transportation and pleasure. The biggest issue I would see with e-bike touring is the range issue.
Nothing wrong with eBikes as transportation VS. other motorized vehicles. It's an environmental positive for sure.

BUT they are motorized and when people add motors to their bikes to move their fat-butts around it's loss to bicycle culture and world health, not a gain.

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Old 06-27-16, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
Damn right! Cycling is only for the fit, young, and strong. Hell! Fitness is only for the young and genetically endowed. The rest of the population should learn to just sit back and worship their betters!
Nope: Everyone should eat healthier and exercise. People who don't heed this are JPS.
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Old 06-27-16, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
maybe my eyes are playing tricks - seems to be something
inconsistant about that graph and the numbers.

. . .
no.....i think i got it now, asia pacific is represented by a yellow line
(that's not very pc!) on the chart.
I agree, it is a crummy chart. However, I didn't feel like putting a lot of energy into supporting the point that e-bike sales are surging in Europe. Anyone who keeps an eye on e-bike activity already knows it to be true.

Yes, in China, the electric scooters are also referred to as e-bikes. As I have mentioned elsewhere, I lived in China for several years (2006-2014), I visit China frequently, and my daughter lives in China. However, I wanted to focus on the same countries as were being held out as an example, not on China.
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Old 06-27-16, 08:44 AM
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I see where some of you Ebike supporters are coming from but I'm still not convinced this is 'progress'. Part of my shock/disapproval was that this is a 'pilgrim' journey and minimising pain is also minimising gain, whether it's spiritual in the broad sense or psychological.


BTW I didn't finish the Camino myself (C de Levante from Valencia) as I had an accident in the later stage and finished by bus. I did however cycle (unaided) 1040km in 13 days and intend returning to finish it sometime in the future. If a far from fit 67 yo can do it then someone a lot leaner and in their twenties can too.
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Old 06-27-16, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
I see where some of you Ebike supporters are coming from but I'm still not convinced this is 'progress'. Part of my shock/disapproval was that this is a 'pilgrim' journey and minimising pain is also minimising gain, whether it's spiritual in the broad sense or psychological.
Meh, just because one is on an electronic bicycle, does not mean that person is comfortable. I've been on enough motorcycles to know the addition of a motor does not eliminate discomfort and misery.

In any case, they were ubiquitous in the Netherlands, to the point where any accommodations that catered to bikes had a place to charge them too. I see no problem in what others choose to ride, even if it is a bit silly to see someone sitting upright on a city bike and hardly pedaling going by you hunched over on a road bike effortlessly

Do you ride a single speed bike, or do you have gears that make your journey easier? I mean, to look it another way, why was one who loves cycling on a bike anyways, I know people who have walked it.

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Old 06-27-16, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
I see where some of you Ebike supporters are coming from but I'm still not convinced this is 'progress'. Part of my shock/disapproval was that this is a 'pilgrim' journey and minimising pain is also minimising gain, whether it's spiritual in the broad sense or psychological.


BTW I didn't finish the Camino myself (C de Levante from Valencia) as I had an accident in the later stage and finished by bus. I did however cycle (unaided) 1040km in 13 days and intend returning to finish it sometime in the future. If a far from fit 67 yo can do it then someone a lot leaner and in their twenties can too.
great bit of cycling well done btw did you camp just curious .
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Old 06-27-16, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Nope: Everyone should eat healthier and exercise. People who don't heed this are JPS.
As I stated above, I use an e-bike for commuting. Contrary to the impression of many who do not use them frequently, e-bikes do provide exercise.

Do they provide as much exercise as riding a loaded bicycle into a 30mph headwind on a daily basis? No, an e-bike provides more exercise! This is because most people will opt to drive instead of having to deal with a physically arduous, and miserable, commute. Thus an e-bike provides significantly more exercise than the, commonly chosen, alternative.

As far as the other point, some people who both exercise and eat well still do not manage to HTFU to the point that cycling to points of interest, whatever they may be, is pleasurable. Those people then choose: don't go, drive, ride an e-bike. In the elite "HTFU" world they clearly should choose to not go. I, on the other hand, would much rather see people out enjoying cycling, on moth conventional and e-bikes, whichever they happen to enjoy riding more.

Scowling at people, or making people feel like they don't belong, or just plain hateful "HTFU" comments, does nothing to promote cycling. The facts are they you don't know. Possibly the person you are dissuading from cycling has spent a few years getting into shape enough to ride that e-bike to the point of interest. Bitter and hateful "HTFU" behaviors from other cyclists can easily have the effect of leaving the person thinking "I should have just driven."

The US has an elite sports problem. Children are told, from the youngest age, that fitness activities are just for the few, the rest should just watch and worship. As teachers we try to tell the kids the opposite, however, it doesn't work when the games we push them toward tell them that they can never be good enough; they should just watch.

Cycling should be an accessible sport, not an elite sport. It should not be subject to the hate and ridicule that the other "organized" sports are so filed with. Yet, the HTFU crowd wants to bring that elite sports attitude into something as benign as touring. Cycling should be a activity that is accessible to all, not just another opportunity for jocks to mock the "wan-a-bees."

E-bikes expand the accessibility of cycling. They make people more willing to cycle. I generally, welcome the expansion of e-bike usage.
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Old 06-27-16, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
I see where some of you Ebike supporters are coming from but I'm still not convinced this is 'progress'. Part of my shock/disapproval was that this is a 'pilgrim' journey and minimising pain is also minimising gain, whether it's spiritual in the broad sense or psychological.


BTW I didn't finish the Camino myself (C de Levante from Valencia) as I had an accident in the later stage and finished by bus. I did however cycle (unaided) 1040km in 13 days and intend returning to finish it sometime in the future.
I am familiar with that pilgrimage. My daughter walked it a few years ago. She also noticed the people on their, conventional, bicycles whizzing by (might have even been you). Those people using their fancy, fast, machines were clearly missing the whole point of a pilgrimage, right?


Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
If a far from fit 67 yo can do it then someone a lot leaner and in their twenties can too.
Again, you don't know. This could have been a milestone achievement activity for that person.
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Old 06-27-16, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Nothing wrong with eBikes as transportation VS. other motorized vehicles. It's an environmental positive for sure.

BUT they are motorized and when people add motors to their bikes to move their fat-butts around it's loss to bicycle culture and world health, not a gain.
You have it backwards... If a motor allows you to move your fat-butt around instead of not riding a bicycle at all, an E-Assist bike is a good thing... I'm talking a legal E-Assist bicycle, where you still actually HAVE TO PEDAL to get anywhere on the bicycle. The other types of E-Bikes that are basically a moped are, I agree are not really a gain...

An actual example is my wife, I got her a E-Assist bike and she and I have now done 2 short tours on our E-Assist bikes. A total of 800+KM each tour. Each of us riding 400KM each tour, she would never have done any riding without the E-assist, now, once you take off the amount of assist she got, it works out to 277KM of actual pedaling effort for her to do each trip... Also, to get ready for the trip she did about 1,000KM of riding to acclimate the body to long Hrs riding (for her), that again, when one deducts the assist % it works out to 693KM of riding effort that she actually pedaled...

970KM worth of pedaling is what she actually did ride her bike the first year we got it out of the 1,400KM total with assisted KMs, probably about the same the second year too...

A HUGE GAIN compared to close to "0 to 50"KM a year, without the E-assist bike like her old bike that just sat in the garage for years, rarely used.

Last edited by 350htrr; 06-27-16 at 09:48 AM. Reason: add stuff
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Old 06-27-16, 09:37 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
As I stated above, I use an e-bike for commuting. Contrary to the impression of many who do not use them frequently, e-bikes do provide exercise.

Do they provide as much exercise as riding a loaded bicycle into a 30mph headwind on a daily basis? No, an e-bike provides more exercise! This is because most people will opt to drive instead of having to deal with a physically arduous, and miserable, commute. Thus an e-bike provides significantly more exercise than the, commonly chosen, alternative.

As far as the other point, some people who both exercise and eat well still do not manage to HTFU to the point that cycling to points of interest, whatever they may be, is pleasurable. Those people then choose: don't go, drive, ride an e-bike. In the elite "HTFU" world they clearly should choose to not go. I, on the other hand, would much rather see people out enjoying cycling, on moth conventional and e-bikes, whichever they happen to enjoy riding more.

Scowling at people, or making people feel like they don't belong, or just plain hateful "HTFU" comments, does nothing to promote cycling. The facts are they you don't know. Possibly the person you are dissuading from cycling has spent a few years getting into shape enough to ride that e-bike to the point of interest. Bitter and hateful "HTFU" behaviors from other cyclists can easily have the effect of leaving the person thinking "I should have just driven."

The US has an elite sports problem. Children are told, from the youngest age, that fitness activities are just for the few, the rest should just watch and worship. As teachers we try to tell the kids the opposite, however, it doesn't work when the games we push them toward tell them that they can never be good enough; they should just watch.

Cycling should be an accessible sport, not an elite sport. It should not be subject to the hate and ridicule that the other "organized" sports are so filed with. Yet, the HTFU crowd wants to bring that elite sports attitude into something as benign as touring. Cycling should be a activity that is accessible to all, not just another opportunity for jocks to mock the "wan-a-bees."

E-bikes expand the accessibility of cycling. They make people more willing to cycle. I generally, welcome the expansion of e-bike usage.
This is the Touring sub-forum not commuting or eBikes and the topic is bicycle touring and our reaction to people touring on eBikes.

Bicycle Touring is not an elitist (nor jock!) activity but does take mental-toughness even more so than physical. The HTFU attitude I'm referencing is the mental aspect. Sorry that you don't agree and prefer to rationalize that your motor-assisted vehicle is in the same category as a 100%-human-powered-vehicle.

Enjoy your commuting

Enjoy your eBike

Last edited by BigAura; 06-27-16 at 09:46 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 06-27-16, 09:50 AM
  #25  
Robert C
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
This is the Touring sub-forum not commuting or eBikes and the topic is bicycle touring and our reaction to people touring on eBikes.

Bicycle Touring is not an elitist (nor jock!) activity but does take mental-toughness as much as physical. The HTFU attitude I'm referencing is the mental aspect. Sorry that you don't agree and prefer to rationalize that your motor-assisted vehicle is the same thing as a 100%-human-powered-vehicle.

Enjoy your commuting

Enjoy your eBike
You probably did not notice this; but, I did not start this thread.

I mention commuting on an e-bike in order to point out that I do have, significant, experience riding an e-bike. I also mentioned cycling to points of interest. I categorize that under touring activity. Not all touring is some elite, he-man, super-jock, activity.

Sorry that you don't agree and prefer to rationalize that your motor-assisted vehicle is the same thing as a 100%-human-powered-vehicle.
*

I do not remember saying that. Can you please show me where I said that?

I can show where you said:
HTFU

*Just as a comment, many US states clearly state, in the law, that e-bikes, that meet the legal definition of an e-bike, are not motor-assisted vehicles. However, the OP, who was not me, made it clear that this was in Spain. I do not know how Spain defines e-bikes; but I doubt you do either. However, as you have noted, quibbling about legal definitions takes us far from touring.

Last edited by Robert C; 06-27-16 at 10:01 AM.
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