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Pahoehoe
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 8:51 am 
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Bedivere wrote:
So they'll be allowed where bicycles are ALREADY allowed?

*Yawn*

Wake me up when there's some real news to talk about.


It's kind of a bigger deal than that.

Ebike proponents want ebikes to be considered bikes. Usually, just pedal assist up to 20 mph, but it's really hard to just look at an ebike and know what its capable of, especially with homemade modifications and I'm sure there will be speed increasing mod kits on the market as popularity increases.

A motorized bicycle allowed on non motorized trails because it mostly looks like a bike and isnt loud?


Some issues.. mountain biking is hard.  Really hard.  Even really fit people have to reach a new level to ride mountain bikes.  It also takes time to develope the skills to navigate the terrain safely.

The mountain bike community has fought hard for access and worked hard on fostering the share the trail, be friendly and no dig/no ride ethic.  Because mountain biking is hard it takes sometime and that time gives people time to be exposed to the culture and community ethics.

Imagine some device that could make it so climbers could climb way faster and easier or hikers could zip along without the sore feet and effort it takes.

As people build fitness and skills they learn the rules, written and un, so they can be courteous to other users as well as develope the skills to be safe and protect the resources.  Fitness, lack of skills and confidence keep the newbies from venturing too far most of the time.

Getting a flat tire or breaking your derailleur and having to push your bike a few miles is a lesson.  Imagine an ebike, 20 miles in.  That's a potentially life threatening situation.

Some of the trail sharing management strategies such as shared climbing trails, separate decending trails wont work with ebikes because they can speed up hill really fast.

There is also the thing about difficulty in access keeps some places pristine.  There are not many places in the states where you can ride bikes in alpine environments as bikes aren't allowed in designated wilderness and are usually not allowed on National Park trails, but those that exist will be over run.

The thing is, it's really, really hard to climb on a bike.  Pedal assist makes a ton more people able to buy themselves into those few huge cost of entry places.  What was a small percentage of elite mountain bikers is now most reasonably fit people.

The increase of speed also will increase conflicts.  If everyone is going the same speed, you dont need much separation to feel solitude, so adding speed is kind of like adding people.  More distance, more laps, more people passed.  The impact is larger.  People buzzing around super fast makes the whole feel of a place different.

New ebikes are also dead silent.  This may seem like a good thing, but when one passes you and you don't know it's coming and aren't expecting that level of speed on a climb it's scary.  I'm a mountain biker, and this has happened to me.  Hikers are going to hate it and it's going to increase animosity.

Ebikes are here and people like them, for sure.  There needs to be places for them to ride just like there are places for motorcycles and ATVs and snowmobiles, but they absolutely are not bicycles.

Ebikes have motors.  They should not be allowed in non motorized areas.
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joker
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 9:11 am 
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Pahoehoe wrote:
are usually not allowed on National Park trails

This is part  of what moderates my reaction  to this  policy plan. I scanned my memory for places where I HAVE seen bikes allowed on NP trails, and it's precious few - the carriage paths at Acadia were what I came up with. And I'd be fine with ebikes there too,  based on having seen them in action on the more urban bike trails near where I live. If there are more wild and remote trails that are more along the lines of single track that allow bikes in NPs I'd be very curious  to know where they are.
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Tom
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 9:36 am 
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At the core of the issue is whether e-bikes should be allowed because they have a motor.  Other than additional weight, that is all that really separates them from a regular bike. Do we not allow motorcycles because they might run out of gas, get a flat tire or go too far and get someone into trouble?  No, that's just silly.  There are other reasons why.  On roads open to bikes, allowing e-bikes is a non-issue, unless of course you just want to limit access.  On trails open to bikes safety would be a bigger concern including usage conflicts.  In that regard I see the opposition coming from bikers themselves.
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Pahoehoe
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 9:50 am 
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joker wrote:
Pahoehoe wrote:
are usually not allowed on National Park trails

This is part  of what moderates my reaction  to this  policy plan. I scanned my memory for places where I HAVE seen bikes allowed on NP trails, and it's precious few - the carriage paths at Acadia were what I came up with. And I'd be fine with ebikes there too,  based on having seen them in action on the more urban bike trails near where I live. If there are more wild and remote trails that are more along the lines of single track that allow bikes in NPs I'd be very curious  to know where they are.

I believe bikes are allowed on Spruce railroad trail in ONP, but places to bike off roads in national parks are few and far between.

The biggest issue with this policy change is the precedence it sets because the bike industry and ebike proponents want to classify them as plain old bikes.

In Washington state, ebikes are not allowed on natural surface trails unless the land manager specifically allows them.
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Pahoehoe
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 10:03 am 
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Tom wrote:
At the core of the issue is whether e-bikes should be allowed because they have a motor.  Other than additional weight, that is all that really separates them from a regular bike. Do we not allow motorcycles because they might run out of gas, get a flat tire or go too far and get someone into trouble?  No, that's just silly.  There are other reasons why.  On roads open to bikes, allowing e-bikes is a non-issue, unless of course you just want to limit access.  On trails open to bikes safety would be a bigger concern including usage conflicts.  In that regard I see the opposition coming from bikers themselves.

Having the motor increases the speed capabilities.

It also opens the access door to a lot of people that could or would never obtain the fitness level nessicary to enter without a motor.

Many people are saying people with disabilities can ride where they previously couldnt.

I get what you are saying about not allowing motos not because of the flat tire/mechanical issue but I still think its something to consider with ebikes.

Remember when snowmobile technology rapidly increased and the amount of avy trouble slednecks were getting into was off the charts?

We have so many more people trying to share a limited amount of space.  50 years ago it would have been almost a non issue.

One of the biggest concerns of mountain bikers is that they will get these motorized bikes classified as regular mountain bikes and we will lose what limited access we have because it's the only way to keep the ebikes out.
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Tom
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 10:35 am 
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The majority of e-bikes out there aren't capable of riding MTB trails.  They are too heavy and/or lack adequate suspension and power.  Regular bikes can go just as fast on the downhill.  On the uphill the extra power and speed would seem to me less of a safety issue and more of a conflict issue.

I did get a chuckle from the article about grandma being able to ride in the park with the rest of the family. As if your typical family is going to have e-bikes for everyone, much less haul all those heavy e-bikes on a rack to ride with grandma, or grandma getting on a bike for that matter.
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Schroder
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 10:47 am 
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Pahoehoe wrote:
Remember when snowmobile technology rapidly increased and the amount of avy trouble slednecks were getting into was off the charts?

Exactly. Technology on electric vehicles is progressing so fast that we can't imagine what might be on the trail 5 years from now. The latest from Rad is a moped

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Tom
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 10:55 am 
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Here's the new policy per the NPS.  Looks like throttle isn't allowed in non-motorized areas, pedal assist only.

https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/ebikepolicy.htm


Quote:
The operator of an e-bike may only use the motor to assist pedal propulsion. The motor may not be used to propel an e-bike without the rider also pedaling, except in locations open to public motor vehicle traffic.
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Pahoehoe
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 11:00 am 
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But how do you enforce the no throttle rule?  How can you even tell?
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joker
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 11:14 am 
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Are they pedaling???

For that matter, if you're not going to look carefully enough to know if they're pedaling, how can you  tell if they're on an ebike or not? Some of them are pretty similar in looks to regular bikes now (is that big hub a motor or a watt meter? is it just a fat carbon frame style or is there a sleek battery in there as I've seen recently on a nifty looking Orbea bike? etc.)
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Tom
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 11:14 am 
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Same issue as enforcing the 750W or speed limitation.  At least they are not arbitrarily disallowing bikes with throttle.  I find throttle useful in limited situations, but for the most part I prefer to pedal as the goal is to get exercise, otherwise I'd just drive the car around.
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RandyHiker
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 11:33 am 
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Having hiked in the Cascades and Olympics in the pre-wilderness act era,  I will say there is huge difference between eBikes and gasoline powered motorbikes.  Tiger Mtn used have a deep rut up the route from dirt bike usage.   Honda 90 riders used to buzz past on the way to Snow Lake, Melakwa Lake , , Lenah, etc, etc.  Then there is the sound and stink. 

Allowing eBikes where ever human powered bikes are allowed in NPS lands is an experiment.  If there start being significant numbers of "incidents" where zooming eBikers cause injuries, disrupt the experience of others or result in excessive trail erosion, this order can certainly be rescinded.
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 12:01 pm 
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The National Park Service, in its ebike policy wrote:
Park superintendents will retain the right to limit, restrict, or impose conditions of bicycle use and e-bike use in order to ensure visitor safety and resource protection.

I wouldn't get too excited about all of this right away.

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Pahoehoe
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 12:32 pm 
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Tom wrote:
The majority of e-bikes out there aren't capable of riding MTB trails.  They are too heavy and/or lack adequate suspension and power.  Regular bikes can go just as fast on the downhill.  On the uphill the extra power and speed would seem to me less of a safety issue and more of a conflict issue.

I did get a chuckle from the article about grandma being able to ride in the park with the rest of the family. As if your typical family is going to have e-bikes for everyone, much less haul all those heavy e-bikes on a rack to ride with grandma, or grandma getting on a bike for that matter.

E mountain bikes are a thing.  They have the capabilities of a modern full suspension enduro bike plus a motor.

The capacity to damage trails similar to motos is not far off, especially if they have throttles and modifications.

The climbing conflict is already a thing.  Fast decending trails are usually labeled as such.  E mountain bikes can climb 20 mph where everyone else (bikers and hikers) are going 2 to 4 mph.

The family on the paved path is hardly a concern.  It's the brrrrppp! Crowd I'm worried about.
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Tom
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PostSat Aug 31, 2019 1:35 pm 
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Oh, I know they are a thing.  I have a Luna X1 on pre-order and that's considered "affordable".  Typical cost for a capable eMTB is $5-10K and the majority are constrained to 350W to comply with european regs.
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