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E-Bikers, A Few Etiquette Improvements

I was going up a hill with many other riders in the area. Passing some when I heard a woman on a 3 wheel trike yelling to move over to get past. So a bunch of us put in the extra effort to move out of the way only for her and her partner following her to come past using motorized ebikes (motors fully engaged). Maybe ebikers instead of demanding others get out of their way especially on extra wide 3 wheelers could just fit in while the rest of us under our own power make it up the hills. Instead of expecting us to put in extra effort to allow them to motor past us. I think there needs to be some rules of etiquette going forward for ebikers.

This was not a couple who had special needs for a motor assist. They just chose ebikes to make RAGBRAI easier for them

This topic was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  mootsman.

56 Replies

mootsman, August 9, 2019 at 10:44 am

Going off topic a bit on e-biker etiquette training to just e-bikes in general: E-bikes are being welcomed by nearly all organized rides. My perception for RAGBRAI is this year was more of an advertisement to welcome even more and it will get up to about 20% e-bikers in the near future. That’s about when we’ll see if there is a consequence also. Riders no longer seeing organized bicycle events about being self-powered anymore to the point more riders no longer consider going on the events anymore since the challenge of being self-powered, the sense of accomplishment is gone. We will just have to wait and see if there is a bigger downside then an upside for participation.

In the mean time, RAGBRAI, keep going as long as you enjoy it.

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jwsknk, August 9, 2019 at 11:29 am

I think, for me anyway, the line is drawn the there is a license plate bracket on the vehicle. Or it’s a golf cart. Then they don’t belong on the ride or in bike racks.

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hnschipper, August 9, 2019 at 11:33 am

Others riding ebikes doesn’t lessen the challenge RAGBRAI is for me.

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Larry Klaaren, August 9, 2019 at 11:57 am

With all due respect, I don’t know any one who can tell if someone has medical needs just by looking at them go by on an E-Bike. Just leaving it there.

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mootsman, August 12, 2019 at 8:46 am

Lots of people are not catching on to the meaning here and I assume cherry pick instead of understanding the whole message.

While some self-powered fast riders do yell out on your left very few actually do while waiting to pass. You don’t hear form them, but they are there and being patient.

This couple did not have medical have medical needs. But medical needs do not entitle someone to basically shout out “get out of my way NOW!”. Be patient, wait for an opening like 95+% of fast self powered riders do.

And we are not talking about what is personally challenging to you. We are not talking about where you draw the line on what a bike is either.

The point is while nearly all fast self powered riders have learned rider etiquette while training up to be a faster rider, those who purchase it have not. They could use a few lessons in rider etiquette. And maybe a published guide for e-bikers from RAGBRAI would help. Re-read this paragraph before responding.

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mootsman, August 12, 2019 at 8:58 am

And my next off-topic post was just speculating on the effect on rider participation over time. That initially there will be benefits to participation but that there could be a longer term dampening effect also.

This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  mootsman.

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jelly0317, August 12, 2019 at 9:44 am

Please explain how you were able to determine that “this couple did not have…medical needs”. X-ray vision, perhaps?

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Micky Sax, August 12, 2019 at 6:31 pm

For those of you who like primary sources – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S259019821930017X

Physical activity of electric bicycle users compared to conventional bicycle users and non-cyclists: Insights based on health and transport data from an online survey in seven European cities.

And for those of you who like articles that attempt to summarize peer-reviewed literature –
https://www.treehugger.com/bikes/study-finds-e-bike-riders-get-much-exercise-riders-regular-bikes.html

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mcpartla, August 13, 2019 at 4:50 pm

I ride a pedal assist e-bike because I’m not nearly as healthy as I look and it makes bicycling fun again. “On your left” is simply a request by a faster cyclist to get past safely. Most of the time I’m content to ride along with the pack but going up hill at a slow pace can be tricky and I’d much rather take the lead and get past the slowest riders. And it’s better for me to not arrive at the top of a hill out of breath or at the end of the day exhausted.

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Jboz, August 15, 2019 at 6:29 am

First of all, I’m a fan of e-bikes, and although I don’t ride one I think they are great for what they are. One of my favorite aspects is they allow couples with disparate skills (i.e.: a slower rider can keep pace with their stronger/faster riding partner) to enjoy the sport together.

The challenge that I see are hills. While on flat sections, e-bikers typically adjust their level of assist and/or their own output to stay with the group pace. But on hills, even strong riders slow considerably and some e-biker increase their boost to move up those hills much faster than the group. Add to the mix that many regular riders tend to get a little wobbly going up hills. So the group pace on an uphill might be 5 or 6 mph, then you have an e-biker cruising right up at 10 mph, it’s annoying at best and flat out dangerous at worst.

In my opinion, e-bikers should use their boost to maintain the general pace with the rest of the pack, but not to move significantly faster than the pack.

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jwsknk, August 15, 2019 at 11:25 am

“In my opinion, e-bikers should use their boost to maintain the general pace with the rest of the pack, but not to move significantly faster than the pack.”
I’ll agree to that, since I hear that some can top out at 40 mph but that drains the battery pretty fast. Could you imagine that last hill this year if they had enough juice left to do that? Or even enough to go 15-20 mph up it when I bet most were doing it at 5-10.

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mootsman, August 17, 2019 at 7:56 am

Good points. Most fast self-powered riders politely wait for an opening rather then shout on-your-left to get people to move out of the way. They see the riders on the left have riders on their right. I’d guess many e-bikers do also although some do not. They purchased their speed instead of acquiring it over time, gaining experience and patience along the way. The only example they may have are the few that shouted at them before they got an e-bike so they think that’s normal when its not.

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Cory Rood, August 17, 2019 at 11:52 am

Good points. Most fast self-powered riders politely wait for an opening rather then shout on-your-left to get people to move out of the way. They see the riders on the left have riders on their right. I’d guess many e-bikers do also although some do not. They purchased their speed instead of acquiring it over time, gaining experience and patience along the way. The only example they may have are the few that shouted at them before they got an e-bike so they think that’s normal when its not.

I have had WAY more self-powered riders screaming ‘On your left’ in aggressive manner.

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Sandaltan ., August 17, 2019 at 9:47 pm

I have yet to discern any significant difference in the passing conduct of e-assist vs conventional bikers. We are all one tribe in my view, one, two, three and even the home built four wheeler with or without any form of assist. Some 15 or so years ago I attended a recumbent rally in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, a good time with some really interesting bikes on display and on the rides. On Saturday’s ride at the lunch – turn around point there were several people gathered around a long wheel base recumbent and questioning the rider about his bike. The rider was an Australian touring the USA for some two months he said and having a great time “mate”. What made the bike so interesting was the small two cycle engine behind the seat on the frame that served as an assist to power the rear wheel through a belt riding a disc attached to the spokes. Asked why he bothered with something that complicated he replied that he had lost one lung to “old man cancer” and sorely needed that extra boost on the hills. No one questioned his method or motive.

RIDE RIGHT

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