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

Jboz, January 19, 2019 at 8:29 am

David C., I agree with you. This is a valid topic and like many controversial topics, there is much to be discussed and debated as long as it can be done in a mature and respectful manner. But unfortunately, some of the comments have been angry, emotional, ad hominem rants, which sadly has become commonplace in online discussions. It debases this board.

#1298263

LawnchairMan, January 19, 2019 at 7:36 pm

Bob L.

I am not in favor of e-bikes on Ragbrai, but you are out of line.
Your rant on the Route predictions thread was off topic and opened the door for any subsequent criticism.
You didn’t say the word “e-bke” in your rant, but it was obvious that that was what you were referring to. So don’t blame others for bringing e-bikes into the other thread. YOU started it!

To me it looks like there is no way to stop e-bikes from joining us. I hope it doesn’t happen, but I think the only way they will ever be forbidden is if they cause a big accident that wouldn’t happen on regular bikes. So, until then we just have to be extra careful around them.

Bob, I am not trying to troll you or flame you or patronize you. I don’t want e-bikes any more than you do, but please keep it civil.

#1298280

jelly0317, January 20, 2019 at 9:56 am

Truman also said, “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.”

#1298313

Anonymous, January 20, 2019 at 11:21 am

The problem child on this thread reminds me of the idiot from a while back. The one that wasn’t sure if he would be able to ride because of having to work at Sturgis SD and so on. He was quite vocal about most things and for the most part didn’t have a clue. I would just ignore this fool. He makes no sense.

#1298318

mcdermott1, January 20, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Interesting … I wonder if Truman would have said “If you can’t stand E-bikes stay out of Ragbrai” ?

#1298319

Jason Stoller, January 20, 2019 at 3:20 pm

Interesting … I wonder if Truman would have said “If you can’t stand E-bikes stay out of Ragbrai” ?

LOL now thats funny! On a serious note maybe TJ or someone else will chime in here. I think there is most likely is a reasonable line that exists in polite discussion or conversations whether they exist in a forum or other written forum that do have limits and guidelines as to what is considered acceptable. I would not be surprised if that was covered under the TOS that everyone agreed to prior to using this forum. Several of us have already been accused of several things by this disruptive individual throughout these post only to later expose his real lack of knowledge of several of the claims he has made. So while this is an important topic, My vote is to let the owners of the forum, the moderators, deal with him, his comments, and his behaviors. I think the only reason he really has been allowed to continue this long is that it’s quite possible no one has written TJ Directly yet.

Jason

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LawnchairMan, January 20, 2019 at 6:12 pm

Bob L.

I have been nothing but civil in my comments. I have not called anyone names. The only reason I chimed in at this time is to say that you have alienated even some of us who would normally support your position. Had you stayed with voicing your opinions I would have had no objections. You are entitled to your opinions as is everybody else. It is when you call others names and blame them for starting something you did, then someone should call you on it. If that is Thought Police, then I’m guilty as charged. Sure this thread is a hot topic, but the name calling from this thread shouldn’t be dragged to another that is not on this subject. I haven’t taken the time to see if others on this thread started the name calling, but I did check the other thread. If you can stop the name calling I will support your opinions as I do others. Then I would defend you against the name callers. As far as taking the heat, this is nothing compared to when I decided to boycot.

#1298328

jake d, January 20, 2019 at 10:28 pm

Okay, I have to admit I’ve been late to the party on following this thread. However, in the process of playing catch up it seems much of the conversation regarding E-Bikes would be more appropriate in an informational thread, perhaps titled ‘TOOLS’.

#1298332

John Larson, January 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm

As long as e-bike users promise no rain, they can come.

#1298365

John Novack, January 28, 2019 at 10:01 pm

“[Patches]? We don’t need no stinkin’ [patches]!”
Someone wondered whether e-riders should receive a patch or not.
No offense, but the patch means nothing to me, and I clipped the bike band as soon as I got home–I don’t need to broadcast how many rides I’ve been on. But some people like that, and it doesn’t affect me.

This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by John Novack.

#1298841

John Novack, January 28, 2019 at 10:41 pm

@Evin Thompson – I agree that–at present–there are (still) bigger safety issues on ragbrai than e-bikes. But I also agree that power-assist will raise new issues as more and more riders gravitate to them.
As the 2019 ride approaches, I might re-consider my vow to never do it again, but only out of a sense of nostalgia–it truly was a lot of fun. Frankly, tho’, the ride was downright dangerous at times, what with all the tandems, tri-tandems, pace lines, 3-abreast or 2-abreast hogging the left side, folks suddenly stopping at the top of the hill in the middle of the road, bandits, clowns on fat tubes passing me on the gravel, day riders heading into or out of Ames or Iowa City, etc.

#1298846

mootsman, January 29, 2019 at 9:43 am

I found doc that has e-bikes classified by capabilities which I think is useful. Both RAGBRAI and the Iowa law only allows class-1 e-bikes which I think are reasonable. RAGBRAI I think could benefit by making it clear what is and in particular what is not allowed on RAGBRAI by publishing the classes and what class is allowed. The basics are below (classes 1-3 have 750 watt max):

class-1: Require pedal assist & 20 mph max before motor cuts out.
class-2: same as class-1 but pedal assist not needed as a throttle is introduced.
class-3: same as class-2 but max speed now at 28 mph.
class-4: same as moped or motorcycle. watts > 750, speeds well over 28 mph but must have proper motorcycle/moped license plate and operators license.

I think RABGBAI limiting e-bikes to class 1 is reasonable but should make very clear what is and is not allowed. The only issue, very difficult to enforce. But e-bikes are coming to RAGBRAI no matter what any ones says.

This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by mootsman.

#1298855

Jason Stoller, January 29, 2019 at 12:27 pm

I found doc that has e-bikes classified by capabilities which I think is useful. Both RAGBRAI and the Iowa law only allows class-1 e-bikes which I think are reasonable. RAGBRAI I think could benefit by making it clear what is and in particular what is not allowed on RAGBRAI by publishing the classes and what class is allowed. The basics are below (classes 1-3 have 750 watt max):

class-1: Require pedal assist & 20 mph max before motor cuts out.
class-2: same as class-1 but pedal assist not needed as a throttle is introduced.
class-3: same as class-2 but max speed now at 28 mph.
class-4: same as moped or motorcycle. watts > 750, speeds well over 28 mph but must have proper motorcycle/moped license plate and operators license.

I think RABGBAI limiting e-bikes to class 1 is reasonable but should make very clear what is and is not allowed. The only issue, very difficult to enforce. But e-bikes are coming to RAGBRAI no matter what any ones says.

Mootsman since we are going to start classifying then we should apply it to all. Shouldn’t there be limits on gearing allowed? For example 7 speed, 8 speed, 9 speed, 10 speed, 11 speed and so on? Does chain ring size ( tooth count matter and should it be restricted)? Can we regulate pace line or individual rider speeds somehow? At least you are seeing with mass marketed e-assisted bikes such as Shimano based there are limiters built in that doe cut out the motor at a specific speed but that is not all e-assist bikes. We also are quite aware that there are people who own e-assist bikes and that are manually able to pedal much faster than those speeds set by those e-assist limiters. Let me ask this mootsman just for fun. How fast do you think a Velomobile can travel when its set up properly? How would you classify or regulate that? Is it a bicycle or something else? It is Human powered? Also some of them have e-assist as well. Do you see the can of worms being opened up here.

Isn’t the best solution to just ride your own bicycle and stop worrying about what everyone else is riding? If some has a Mercedes or some other brand of automobile they drive on the street or hwy and it has electric windows instead of roll down does that bother others? I am sure it does. Its like people who envy others who own cars who have heated seats in the winter or remote start when their cars don’t. If people with e-assist are not hurting anyone then why all fuss about it. If it enables more people to participate in Ragbrai that wouldn’t then why knock them just because they do it different than you. I would think we would all be glad they are contributing to Ragbrai and helping to continue to be the great event it is. A celebration of people who enjoy getting together and enjoy bicycle riding no matter what they ride.

Instead it seems there are people that want Big Brother to step in and regulate E-assist Bicycles, just as they have attempted to do with Automobiles, Motorcycles, and other forms of transportation in our lives. Please tell me whats next and when is it you neighbor stops looking at what you own and operate and complaining that is not fair because I do not have one.

Jason

This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by Jason Stoller.

#1298880

francoisvanzyl, January 29, 2019 at 1:03 pm

Live and let live. If somebody needs/wants an e-bike to get out there and ride, more power to them. I see e-bikes as a challenge — always trying to catch them going uphill — managed it twice.

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