E-Bike Experiences are Important

Max Katz, Politics Editor

When riding at the mountain bike trails by the San Clemente dog park I came across a sight that will warm any rider’s heart. A son, a father, and a grandfather had come together to send it on the exhilarating downhill trails. I could not help but notice that the grandfather was aided by an e-bike while ascending the trails.

E-bikes have brought controversy as they have gained popularity, but from a rider’s perspective e-bikes make the trails accessible to a wide range of ability and should be a normalized part of hitting the trails.

Over the past year I have spent a lot of time riding with my father, it’s one of the few fun and COVID safe activities I have been able to continue during the pandemic. It was also during this time that my dad decided to purchase the Specialized Levo SL e-bike. The Levo SL is a pedal assist style e-bike, meaning the electric motor adds power when the rider is pedaling. Its sleek and modest frame has even prevented other riders from realizing it has an engine.

This e-bike does not present danger to hikers or other individuals enjoying the trails, but it does allow for a 51-year old father to keep up with his 18-year old son when hitting the trails.”

 

This e-bike does not present danger to hikers or other individuals enjoying the trails, but it does allow for a 51-year old father to keep up with his 18-year old son when hitting the trails. Not to mention, e-bikes give individuals with disabilities and cardiovascular problems the chance to enjoy SoCal’s amazing downhill terrain.

Many hikers worry that increased traffic from e-bikes on the trails creates danger for them. However, a vast majority of e-bikes go no faster on downhill sections than a typical downhill mountain bike. The purpose of the electric engine is to get up the trails fast, which is usually at a modest pace anyways. 

I do agree that it is important for downhill bikers to watch out for hikers, and riders should be willing to cooperate with hikers and trail systems to make sure a system is put in place for that. However, there is no reason to villainize e-bikes in this situation.

As more riders make the switch to e-bikes it is important that trail communities are not so quick to oust them. After all, the trails are for everyone to enjoy, e-bikers included.