Author Topic: Power to the people

Power to the people
« on: March 28, 2013 »
Duncan Walker or his copyeditor at the BBC writes:

Electric bikes: For people who don't cycle?

One is tempted to ponder "Cars: For people who don't walk?" or "Electric windows: For people who don't crank?" The suggestion in the article is that bikes with a battery might be a way to get non-pedallers pedalling as they don't have to do so much of that sort of thing. It is a bit of a chore.

Anybody desiring less pollution and traffic congestion will quickly conclude that more bicycles = less cars = a good thing, so this should be an easy one. Unfortunately, cycling from A to B has become a test to pass (if not an outright competition), and those who don't sweat their full measure really set the dogs barking.

"For us, an electric bike is cheating, isn't it? If we wanted to go up Alpe d'Huez [in the French Alps] under power we could drive up it. We want to get there under our own steam." – Rob Spedding, Cycling Plus editor, speaking for his magazine's target demographic

Mr Spedding goes on to say that judging ebikes in the context he's just provided is wrong, but the damage has been done. He is merely passing along a meme that is as popular as it is nonsensical.

Are roller skaters "cheating" – or #lazy, as the BBC tweet has hashtagged? Hot air balloonists? Long-jumpers, because they're skipping a few steps?

Is an electric bike 4 U? Or is it just another way to shame non-U? Enquiring minds want to know.