Electric assist bikes?

OK, here is something to perk up the forum. We have seen a huge increase in electric assist bikes around here, and I imagine we will be seeing an increase of said bikes on RAGBRAI this July. I have an opinion concerning this, but I am more interested in what the forum community has to say. Is this the beginning of the end? Will this allow folks who would otherwise not be able to ride to make it happen? Or does the answer lie somewhere in between? Are there any “rules” regarding their use on RAGBRAI? What are your thoughts?

396 Replies

wrj, December 10, 2018 at 11:33 pm

Seriously, how exactly is Ragbrai going to eliminate e-bikes from Ragbrai? Then they can eliminate bandits, boom boxes, alcohol, draft lines and anybody else who doesn’t ride Ragbrai the way you think they should.
I would never ride an e-bike on Ragbrai, it would feel like cheating. However riding Ragbrai on an e-bike could be a big thing for some one else. Let them ride their ride and you ride yours

#1297308

KenH, December 11, 2018 at 7:54 am

I’ve only heard fear, not facts, about e-bikes in this thread and no one has come up with a reason to limit e-bikes from RAGBRAI, except that they somehow detract from the purity of non-assisted efforts to pedal across the state. Some have been anxious about the speed of e-bikes but pace lines seems much more dangerous. Besides, for e-bike batteries to last the day, riders will be using little assistance, which translates to slower speeds.

No, you have heard a lot of facts that you have chosen to ignore. Some of what we say is more in the line of predictions than reality at the moment but those predictions are based on real technological trends and historical precedents. It would be more surprising if they failed to come true than it would be if they do.

Battery capacity is very likely to improve in the future since there is enormous industrial effort devoted to increasing capacity for both electronic and transportation devices. Battery capacity is no limitation to eBike speed or range today however because it is entirely feasible to carry several fully charged batteries if you wish.

If the purity of a large human powered event is of no concern to you do you then advocate for the use of eBikes at the Olympics? How about the grand tours? And if eBikes do not detract from the purity of those events then why not allow performance enhancing drugs? I mean, to be inclusive these things would have to be allowed so that someone like me could compete. So, it is right to allow them, is it not? Conversely, if you oppose the use of these things at sporting events then by what right or logic do you insist that they be allowed at recreational events? If the purity of one is important is not the purity of the other equally important?

#1297310

KenH, December 11, 2018 at 8:00 am

OK, one more comment that will have a limited lifespan since it refers to the post just above my previous one which will surely be pulled soon since it is both spam and at least borderline advocating criminal activity. But if your eBike is not fast enough for you, just contact Lulzsek Morris who can put you in touch with a hacker who can fix that for you by removing the speed limiter. People “chip” their cars all the time to boost their performance. As eBikes become more and more popular you can bet this will become an option for eBikes too. This is not a fear, this is human nature!

#1297311

mootsman, December 11, 2018 at 10:17 am

wrj,

The discussion is not about eliminating ebikes from RAGBRAI or even policing for them. Its about if RAGBRAI at registration time will just state a policy of no ebikes. Sure people can ignore it but at least with it officially not allowed they would know they are not welcome. And RAGBRAI could also set requirements for all teams and charters. Do not transport or allow ebikes with your group and no recharging stations for ebikes. Also a requirement for pass-through towns and overnight towns. No ebike recharging stations allowed. While they can’t eliminate them they can make it a lot of trouble to bring an ebike.

And as far as “letting them ride their ride” that’s ignoring the obvious (RAGBRAI being a bicycle tour) just to be argumentative. We’re talking RAGBRAI not “their ride”.

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

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

#1297317

dukester, December 11, 2018 at 10:41 am

You are fooling yourself if you think e-bikes are not welcome on RAGBRAI. The 36 unique voices on this thread are not an accurate sample of 15,000 riders.

#1297321

Bob Amlie, December 11, 2018 at 10:50 am

dukester, you are fooling yourself if you actually believe you are welcome to drive your Equality Bike across Iowa on RAGBRAI. Either self-power, or stay home. Hope that clarifies it for you.

#1297322

dukester, December 11, 2018 at 11:18 am

Nice display of RAGBRAI spirit there, Bob.

#1297325

HillsAngels1, December 11, 2018 at 11:29 am

I have a friend with MS he can ride is regular powered bike for 16 miles and avg 9 mph. When he’s on his E_BIKE he can ride 70 miles and keep up with our group at 15 mph avg. Before his MS he didn’t need the help to ride our speed so I GUESS we should tell him to quit riding with us.

#1297327

Bob Amlie, December 11, 2018 at 11:40 am

There you have it. The pro-EBikers dodge the central issue in this debate. Instead, they attack the motives of the self-powered-only mainstream riders, here, or chant platitudes such as “RAGBRAI DON’T CARE!!”, which is not true. There are standards in every group, and RAGBRAI was founded on the principle of being a self-powered trip across Iowa. It is not primarily about eat, drink, and be merry on your EBike, though the factions who have something or another to $ell want you to believe that it is. We also hear the pitiful anecdote about how so-and-so is a cripple who wouldn’t otherwise be able to go, without an EBike. But then—I saw, on the last day one year, a young guy less than half my age, tall & athletetic, boasting to an acquaintance that during the week, he had developed soreness in his legs, so he had someone from home bring him an EBike, so he could finish the last day of the ride. Well, I had sore leg(s), too. But, I would not even consider using an EBike. If you need an EBike, get in better shape, RAGBRAI is for self-powering across Iowa. Don’t be an Ebike Poser, all hat, no cattle. See? Thank you.

This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Bob Amlie.

This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Bob Amlie.

This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Bob Amlie.

#1297329

Bob Braigar, December 11, 2018 at 3:50 pm

“The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and fully human-powered bicycles. RAGBRAI is held on public roads, therefore, we follow Iowa laws and do not regulate bikes that are street legal. So yes, ebikes and fully human powered bikes are welcome on RAGBRAI.”

Thanks,

Mariah Jepson
RAGBRAI Office Specialist

#1297336

Bob Amlie, December 11, 2018 at 4:13 pm

“The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and fully human-powered bicycles. RAGBRAI is held on public roads, therefore, we follow Iowa laws and do not regulate bikes that are street legal. So yes, ebikes and fully human powered bikes are welcome on RAGBRAI.”

Thanks,

Mariah Jepson
RAGBRAI Office Specialist

Well, as long as you are making policy here, how about my horse-drawn recumbent bike? Horses are legal, and recumbent bikes are legal. Therefore, my horse-drawn Recumbent should be “legal” on RAGBRAI.

This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Bob Amlie.

This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Bob Amlie.

#1297337

Chad Frana, December 11, 2018 at 6:00 pm

I’m betting about half of the riders are not registered. Ragbrai can’t stop unregistered riders. How are they going to stop e-bikes? Public roads and legal bikes make them unstoppable. Unless you…YOU are willing to make them outcasts, then they will be welcome all day everyday. I am not either for or against so I won’t promote or cast stones. Just my opinion. By the way, the ad at the bottom of my screen as I type this is for an e-bike🤣

#1297342

wrj, December 11, 2018 at 7:44 pm

Bob ya don’t get it. Ride your horse-drawn recumbent. Post a lot of pictures. That would be great. I bet people would love it.
Mootsman, lets say I’m riding my e-bike and my support driver is at the meeting town w my charger and a generator. Then I’ll meet them again at the overnight town. I’m staying in a camper. I’m riding all week. This seems like a very do-able scenario. Who could stop me?

#1297344

Bob Amlie, December 11, 2018 at 9:00 pm

“The same rules of the road apply to both e-bikes and fully human-powered bicycles. RAGBRAI is held on public roads, therefore, we follow Iowa laws and do not regulate bikes that are street legal. So yes, ebikes and fully human powered bikes are welcome on RAGBRAI.”

Thanks,

Mariah Jepson
RAGBRAI Office Specialist

The funny coincidence is—Mariah—isn’t she the nice lady who was employed over at the Harley Davidson dealer, there, at one time? Hmm. I would guess by her youthful appearance that she hadn’t yet been born, by the time I had ridden my first five self-powered RAGBRAI’s, back in the 1980’s. Hopefully, she’s had a chance to ride several of them, by now. For someone so youthful, she has taken on a lot of responsibility, by re-defining the tradition of RAGBRAI.

#1297345

Bob Braigar, December 12, 2018 at 6:07 am

BOB, get off my lawn!!!

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