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 year, 2 months ago by mootsman.

138 Replies

Iowa_Born Eastern_River, January 19, 2020 at 4:14 pm

No, an e-bike falling within the classification 1 2 or 3 is a bicycle under Iowa law. Even a class 2 e-bike with a throttle control has to have functional pedals. It takes more than just 2 wheels and a motor. There was a link to the statute in earlier posts. Maybe read the law.

The legal definition may be all that matters to you — but for me, an e-bike, with a motor, is motorized. The law may allow you to participate in “bicycle” events (and even ride on trails designated for non-motorized use, but I and at least a few others might give you a bit of a side eye.

I can’t run a marathon, but I’m not looking for a technological way to close the gap with those more able than myself. I, like others here, will hang my bike up before I hang a motor on it. I have a fishing pole collecting dust, anxiously awaiting my elder days, and a list of rail trails that I could gladly ride, even if I was physically diminished.

#1314473

Bob Braigar, January 19, 2020 at 5:09 pm

ebike is a marketing name, its not really a bike, its a bike with a motor.
“I can’t run a marathon, but I’m not looking for a technological way to close the gap with those more able than myself.”

Ride a half day, do what u can, I think of the dudes who couldn’t walk, still on Ragbrai, riding a hand cycle.

This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by Bob Braigar.

#1314474

Jboz, January 19, 2020 at 6:22 pm

Iowa_Born Eastern_River, your marathon analogy is not really an appropriate one. A marathon is a competition, while RAGBRAI is a community event with lots of people just having fun.

As far as your game plan for your senior years, it seems to be firmly locked down and set in stone. You’ve got it all figured out, now you just need to wait for it to happen. More power to you though, and I sincerely mean that.

The nice thing about getting older is that while the body may not be quite as agile as it once was, the mind and the spirit actually become more agile. There is certain kind of beauty in reaching the realization that you don’t have all the answers. I’ve learned to keep an open mind, remain flexible to new ideas, and I find it a great way to live.

#1314476

Joseph Schlau, January 19, 2020 at 8:08 pm

its not really a bike, its a bike

?

#1314479

Bob Braigar, January 19, 2020 at 8:25 pm

In a couple of years, you will be able to sit back and let your motor bike do all the work while you breeze through the hills on your community event with a battery that lasts all week. You wont have to do any training at all. All the while dressed like a racer.

#1314480

Iowa_Born Eastern_River, January 19, 2020 at 9:04 pm

A marathon is a competition, while RAGBRAI is a community event with lots of people just having fun.

Most participating in a marathon are not “racing” for first place (or racing at all). Most are racing themselves, just to the finish line… sort of like your typical Gran Fondo.

And RAGBRAI doesn’t close the roads — so whether e-bikes are ‘supported’ or not is irrelevant. Don’t want to pedal? Just bring your Harley… (The Street 500 isn’t that much heavier than my loaded touring bicycle).

#1314481

Joseph Schlau, January 19, 2020 at 9:13 pm

but I and at least a few others might give you a bit of a side eye.

?

This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by Joseph Schlau.

#1314482

Joseph Schlau, January 19, 2020 at 9:39 pm

A very electrifying discourse today!

Trek…A little more?

#1314484

Iowa_Born Eastern_River, January 20, 2020 at 6:22 am

but I and at least a few others might give you a bit of a side eye.

Let me Google that for you:

noun INFORMAL • US
a sidelong glance expressing disapproval or contempt.
“after we complained of being ignored she kept giving me the side-eye”

I should clarify my position a bit further — as a transit advocate, I think electric bicycles are a wonderful way to reduce automobile use in and around city centers. They are excellent for people who don’t want to sweat it out on a commute, or live in an area with steep hills, or have a slightly longer than comfortable bicycle commute (10 miles a day in each direction is a commitment under human power). If e-bikes reduce car traffic, then that’s wonderful.

But I believe the current marketing that positions an electric-motorized-bicycle as just a “little” more is disingenuous — it’s motorized, not human-powered, and that’s distinctly different. And saying it’s just a necessity because of your age is a weak excuse too. Some of the fastest guys in my area are the retirees, because they ride everyday. On a RAGBRAI a few years back, I distinctly remember two name plates: “eighty-eight and doin’ great”, “eighty-nine and doin’ fine”. If you can’t pedal all day, they already have the sag wagon, and if the week is too much, try a day pass…

This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by Iowa_Born Eastern_River.

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Joseph Schlau, January 20, 2020 at 9:10 am

as a transit advocate

So….What is a transit advocate?

#1314494

mootsman, January 20, 2020 at 9:53 am

Joseph,

In your last set of posts you showed you added lots of meaning as to the intent of my original post that is not there. Stop taking it so personally. Forum posts are to a group of people and not a personal attack on you. No one was trying to insight anything. But for all the RAGBRAIs I’ve been on no one has shouted at anyone to get out of their way on an uphill until these two on e-trikes did to a group of us. And yes there were other examples. A guide on RAGBRAIs website would help. And ebikers will be a bigger part of RAGBRAI in the years to come so many could benefit.

Someone also mentioned ebikers are bicycles under Iowa law. Well, sort of. Ebikers follow the same laws as bicycles but they are still ebikers, not bicycles. Both are allowed though following the same laws.

This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by mootsman.

#1314496

Joseph Schlau, January 20, 2020 at 10:37 am

Someone also mentioned ebikers are bicycles under Iowa law. Well, sort of. Ebikers follow the same laws as bicycles but they are still ebikers, not bicycles. Both are allowed though following the same laws.

“Well Sort of” is not one of the operative phrases in the Iowa statutes defining bicycles. Wishful interpretations of law, no matter comforting to you, does not count either.

#1314500

Sandaltan ., January 20, 2020 at 10:46 am

An etiquette question; is the “side eye” equivalent to the “stink eye”?

RIDE RIGHT

#1314501

mcpartla, January 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm

Your suggestion for a “Guide on RAGBRAI’s website would help”. By this I assume you mean something for e-bicycle participants? What would you suggest putting here … e-bikers are expected to bike safely and give the usual “On Your Left” when passing? Or how about “E-bicyclists are expected to follow all the standard traffic laws and rules as other riders”? And this is true of all the other non-standard vehicles used on RAGBRAI too … we all need to ride safely, call out when passing, signal your intent, no fast moves. With the development of “Stealth” batteries built into the down tube (for example, Trek has several road bike models where it is very hard to detect that there is a battery providing assistance) … unless our smiles give us away as we pass you on the steep hills. I admit it’s hard to go that slow on a hill when there is a battery assist just one ‘click’ away but I do try to be conversational and not make it look too easy.
Cheers!

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Joseph Schlau, January 20, 2020 at 2:53 pm

But for all the RAGBRAIs I’ve been on no one has shouted at anyone to get out of their way on an uphill until these two on e-trikes did to a group of us.

So, did you see these 2 e-trikes coming up the hill from behind in your rear view mirror?

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