Electric Assisted Vehicles or Electric Assisted Bicycles or Pedal Assisted Electracycles are not newThis is the second or third time such vehicles and technologies have been introduced, though its the first time to my knowledge they have come directly from the bicycle manufacturers themselves or other technological savvy manufacturers. 

When this latest round of machines began to appear I ignored them, "they didn't make it before, they won't make it now" I thought to myself. 

But thankfully a new day is dawning on many fronts that I suspect will keep at least some of these machines alive and well sharing and traveling the same roads and other venues that bikes do now. 

I have mixed emotions about it.  More importantly I have concerns about them and their riders. 

Some IBD will embrace them as they already have as they mean a new audience, and new revenues.  Electric or Electric assisted machines do not have to be an offense to the HP (Human Powered purist).  There is room for all, provided some understandings are reached, and this is where my concern is. 

But that was not the question put forth by Wendy.

Yes, there is tremendous growth and interest in the use of Electric Assisted two wheeled machines here in the eastern United States.  I see more and more IBD's offering a tiny spot in their showroom to these machines, far more than I see offering up space for tandems, recumbents, or row bikes or even street striders or elip2go type offerings. 

There is no longer in my mind a question about are Electric Assisted machines a part of the equation or are they a passing fancy.  They are indeed here, and I suspect, here to stay. 

As to there influence or effect on the HP bicycle industry and community, I think a lot remains to be seen.  There will be some converts from one to the other no doubt.  But will the coop, the IBD and other related organizations long be influenced by them or even be home to the electric assisted question. 

I think it goes right back to the earlier question about human oppression and gender, race, cultural connection....some will accept, some will embrace, some will reject and many will make noise. 

At the end of the day, I suspect, you will have IBD's and COOPs that embrace and accept and will in some way benefit, in others not.  At the same time you will have separatists who also benefit, and others that will see it as a constant ongoing issue worth ranting and raving about. 

My concern however is this:  A power assisted machine has the ability to travel at what speed, up a hill?  If it is sharing the same bike trail as a HPV, that is a recipe for problems.  What do we do about that? 

Likewise, falling off a power assisted machine is always going to have more injury potential than a purely HP machine.  And when you put the two side by side, or in a ride line....you increase the potential for accident and injury to both.  So how do you manage that matter?


Interesting topic for sure.


-----Original Message-----
From: Wendy Monroe <wendy.monroe@usermail.com>
To: The Think Tank <thethinktank@lists.bikecollectives.org>
Sent: Fri, Jan 4, 2013 2:36 am
Subject: [TheThinkTank] 'The bike has been infected forever'… with the electrification virus ( ? ! )

Hello think tankers,

I'm seeing a lot of this sort of talk in the Netherlands…
Is there a broad trend in the States moving this direction, as well?

This Extra Energy organization is not thinking in terms of Cheap chinese made imports but rather of very pricey ( typically ) German products.
Or perhaps German branded products, manufactured in China….

But I see e-bikes in general as somewhat of a threat to those of us who love non electrified bicycles.

Any thoughts on this, fellow Americans?


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