E-bikes need more love, e-bikers need more education

The article on teaching tourists the rules and etiquette of cycling is long overdue. Yes, the majority of tourists rent e-bikes rather than conventional ones, but let’s be clear: e-bikes are not the problem; it is the people who ride them.

For some reason, when visitors come to our beautiful valley, something happens in the sensible part of their brain. Cycling isn’t the only activity where they lack skills and awareness. I am now in my fifth year of riding a class 1 e-mountain bike and have witnessed this poor rider behavior on both e-bikes and regular bikes. Education is definitely necessary for all runners.

Let’s be clear about e-bikes: they are here to stay and will become even more popular. But the use of electric mountain bikes on single-track trails is still controversial, especially in the upper Roaring Fork Valley. I have ridden single track trails on my class 1 e-mountain bike at many bike parks all over the US and Canada and have not encountered any bad situations. The Class 1 has been federally reclassified as a regular (non-motorized) bike and is now allowed on all BLM trails. Class two e-bikes are like motorcycles and class three is faster and great for commuters, but not for single track riding.

I have yet to meet another top class mountain biker on a trail that doesn’t come from years of regular mountain biking experience. It’s time for our marshals to look into the possibility of allowing Class 1 mountain bikes on our single track trails. Electric bikes are the way of the future. On a powder day, do you see anyone skiing on long, thin race skis? Remember those old bumper stickers that said, “Short skis suck – save Aspen Mountain?” Everyone now uses wide, flexible and shorter skis because it makes it easier to ski in powder, they can ski longer and have a lot more fun. Please consider this.

Ian Long

Snow Ground Village

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