An Open Letter to American Cycling

An Open Letter to American Cycling

Let’s start with a memory, one of your memories. Think back on your first bicycle ride, that ride in which neither hand nor training wheels held you aloft, that first time when you pedaled just hard enough for the spin of the bike’s wheels to hold you aloft, that first time the world began to zoom by, that first time you recognized your freedom.

Exhilarating, wasn’t it?

I still recall my first time. I went out with a family friend, a woman who had babysat me for years, and I was eager to show her what I knew of riding a bicycle. I pedaled, and my pride took over. I pedaled harder and harder and when I called back for her affirmation, her voice was small—not in my ear—a full neighbor’s yard away. I bailed in short order, but I’d passed the first of many rites. I’d ridden a bike on my own.

Since then, few experiences have matched that thrill. The first time I shot up a pool face on a skateboard did it. My first trip down a mountain on a road bike filled me with the same brain-burning excitement. I’ve spent years chasing that high and while I’ve had scores of amazing experiences in between, nothing quite equaled those firsts.

That is, nothing matched them until last year when I rode an electrically assisted Specialized Turbo. I laughed out loud by the third pedal stroke. I laughed loud enough for the demo staff to hear. Someone yelled, “Yeah, we get that reaction a lot.”

We live in a fractured nation where divisions along political and religious lines have driven wedges between people who might otherwise share an outlook. And yet almost everyone who has ever ridden a bicycle recalls that thrill, shares a memory of the pure fun that rolling on two wheels imprints on us all. Given the country’s obesity epidemic, electrically assisted bikes are a chance to make exercise more fun, less daunting, than either the gym or a road bike. That’s reason enough to embrace them.

Even if you don’t care about addressing this nation’s greatest collective health threat (ebola isn’t a blip compared to what obesity costs us), there is a reason why we should all welcome electric-assist bikes. Simply put, it’s survival. Yes, for all of us who ride the roads for commuting or recreation, every additional person who rides any sort of bike is more likely to identify him or herself as a cyclist. Anyone who has ridden a bicycle on the road in the last month is going to be better in touch with the hazards, the risks, the scare that you and I face on every ride. And if those e-bike riders see themselves as cyclists, they are that much more likely to be aware of our presence, to take note of us as we spin along the shoulder.

As you know, if they see us, they are that much less likely to kill us.

I’ve spent the better part of three decades as a self-professed roadie. I am not, by any stretch of even the most drug-addled imagination, the target market for an electric bike. From where I sit, my expected response should be hostility and snobbery, right? And I admit that before trying an electrically assisted bike I did look down on them. After all, I like pedaling.

However, I’ve also been a cyclist for whom the bike was strictly a device of recreation (if not leisure). I made a decision more than a year ago that my use of the bicycle needed to change. I decided it needed to become a mode of actual transportation.  I now make runs to the local market with my city bike and a backpack. I try to pick up my son from preschool as often as possible on a tandem equipped with a child-stoker kit. Aside from the gas not burned and the CO2 not emitted, the six-mile ride home has been terrific for our relationship. And yes, his fitness has increased, but that was never the purpose.

As much as I love running these and other errands (I ride to my health club, too), I have to confess that if I ride more than five or six miles, I need a shower by the time I get home. Worse, I hate showing up to anything looking like I just walked out of the gym, or worse, rode a bicycle.

So I’ve begun looking at how an electric assist unit might extend my range, shorten trips and allow me to arrive anywhere, any time without needing a towel.

Since 2008 the bike industry has bemoaned the economic slump that has hampered sales. e-bikes have the opportunity to bring a whole new population into our sport, much the way Lance Armstrong brought new riders into bike shops—ants to a picnic. The promise here is far greater. Forget the Lance Effect, we may one day be singing about the Electron Effect.

If you’re a retailer, embracing these bikes could mean a whole new population of clients. And who knows where they may end up? We all started out as Freds.

Look, I get it. Some of these riders are more clueless than a mushroom. They lack skills, race you when you’re going easy or maybe pass you close enough to brush arm hair. It’s not a great way to make friends. But the moment we start lining up against people on e-bikes we make ourselves look that much more elitist and antisocial. Like we need more of that.

For those of you who don’t work in the bike biz, who ride because you love it, I have a simple request: Spread that love. Say hi to people on electric bikes. Give one a try. Do what you do now: Tell anyone within earshot how much fun cycling is, maybe mention how much easier that love is to rekindle with the help of these bikes.

The point here is that as access to roads, trails, bike paths—survival—tightens and grows more contentious, we will need friends. And as people like to say, there’s no Catholic like a convert. The same is true of two wheels.

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  1. Will

    As someone that lives beside and cycles in the Alps a lot — I have seen more and more ebikes there. A first, it seemed strange, but I am hugely in favour of them as a way to allow more people to enjoy the thrill of cycling up an alp. Valloire (base of Galibier) tourist office even had an ebike promotion event/ride last year.

  2. Maremma Mark

    What’s not to like? More people on bikes equals fewer people in cars, at least in the best of worlds. I’m seeing more of them in Italy and even my bike shop is stocking them. And selling them too, much to their delight. I couldn’t see myself actually buying one, think of the wheel set that money could buy! But who knows, they may becoming so cool and hip that even us snobby roadies may one day cave in. Though I doubt it will happen any time soon.

  3. Larry

    So glad that your advocating “spread the love” of bicycling. Thats whats its all about. Thanks for your open-mindedness Patrick!

  4. Rich Hirschinger

    Very well stated. It is always helpful to all cyclists that we befriend each other, say hello as we are passing…or getting passed, asking if help is needed for someone on the side of the road, etc. The same courtesies should be extended for e-cyclists, whether they are using their motor or not. It is a win/win for all of us to have more people on the road cycling on two wheels.

  5. Donnie Barnes

    Alright, let me state that I have no problem with e-bikes on roads. If they help more people enjoy mountain riding, fine. But the theory that this might help in ANY significant way with the problem of obesity in the US is laughable. I can’t for the life of me see any correlation between making a bicycle *easier* to pedal and getting people that wouldn’t otherwise pedal to actually, uh, PEDAL. Obesity in children is about laziness (mostly), and an e-bike is just going to potentially help facilitate people using e-bikes to get places without hardly pedaling.

    I just don’t see it.

    And as for the theory that more bikes on the road helps raise awareness, I’m sure it does. But I’m not sure it does enough to matter in this case. I mean sure, if ten times more people than ride now suddenly ran out on e-bikes and joined the fray, you’d have a point. But that’s not going to happen until an e-bike isn’t much more than a Walmart special is now. And that time is a LONG ways away. You rode a Specialized Turbo, which is $$THOUSANDS$$. We live in a time where less than $200 gets you a Walmart bike that’s really pretty darned capable, and yet you just don’t see them out there in droves.

    You still might get wet by rain, you still have cold and wind on you, and you still might get run over on the thing. And where do you safely lock up your $$THOUSANDS$$ e-bike? A lot fewer folks are going to be willing to do that even in the event they buy one.

    We have tons of motorcycles on the roads now, and most of the motorcyclists that get killed are killed by motorists that “never saw them.” Again, if e-bikes happen in droves, great. But I just don’t see that happening due to the logistics. People are just too lazy to deal with the inconveniences of bicycling *most* of the time. Adding some e-assist just isn’t the thing that’s going to swing the tide enough considering all the other limitations (weather, lack of ability to take another person, lack of ability to take much stuff, etc).

    And now to my real problem with e-bikes: Mountain bikes. IMHO, they are “motorized vehicles” and should be limited to trails where motorized vehicles are legal, and ONLY those trails. Which is NOT most singletrack. That’s an unpopular opinion in a lot of circles, but e-bikes on trail violate what biking on trail is all about AND threatens to hurt trail access through more damage and trail conflict with other users. But the popularity of e-bikes in general will drive more people to try e-bikes on trails, and that’s just not a good thing, IMHO.

    I would concede to e-bikes on trail for folks with a handicapped placard. If you have some doctor required reason that you can’t give full pedal effort enough to trail ride but *can* otherwise safely ride on two wheels, then fine, YOU can ride singletrack as a “non-motorized vehicle.” But otherwise? No thanks. Keep ’em out.


    1. John Dawson

      Donnie, you really DON’T get it and it is not laughable. For millions of out of shape Americans, basic cycling is like climbing Mount Everest. I can tell you from first hand experience, as I own an electric bike shop in Austin TX and have transformed many many lives by people who would otherwise not be getting exercise if not for ebikes. I have a 65 year old teacher who lost 60 pounds over a year riding her ebike to work. I have an ex-athlete attorney who lost the right side of her body in a stroke who now can ride again. I have had people break down and cry because they though they could never ride a bike again and now with ebikes…. they can! Some have even eventually graduated to riding regular bikes and running.

      I could go on and on, but the point is ebikes give these people a chance to begin to get there life back and access should be allowed ANYWHERE cycling is allowed – roads OR trails. I will add one major caveat to this point….I am only talking about ebikes that cannot outperform what a good cyclist can do as far as speed goes. Ebikes that can go faster than say 30mph are just motorcycles and dirt bikes in disguise and are dangerous to be mixed in with normal bikes and I stand with you to block these kind of machines on trails. But a mountain ebike that are limited to the 20-25 mph – there needs to be a place for them so all people from all fitness levels can participate.

      As for me, personally I used to be a division 1 athlete, so in my prime I thought ALL cycling was cheating. I mean you are using a geared machine on wheels to give you more mechanical advantage to get around when you could just run with you feet….what wimps! I would get on a junkie bike with jeans and a tshirt and smoke fully kitted road cyclists on $3000 bikes just for sport to show just how pathetic they really were. Exercise and ability is all relative. The more people that get off their couches and on to roads and trails on bikes and ebikes, the better for everybody. Its not all about you.

  6. Les.B.

    Agree with Donnie re “e-bikes: Mountain bikes”

    In another matter, being almost 71 now, I see not too many decades from now that doing 15% grades and 80-mile rides will be beyond my abilities. I would really miss the roads of the Santa Monicas. The emerging ebike holds promise to keep me going on the rides I like.

  7. Colin

    i have a real beef about these e bikes especially the mountain bike versions. They are a real big problem on these trails. They are not allowed on on them. E bike is a motorized vehicle. Look at all the signs at the trail heads. I have nearly been killed by one. We will loose trail acess if these bikes are continued to be used on the trails.

  8. Author

    Everyone: Thanks for your comments. I have one request for the purpose of this conversation. Let’s leave e-mountain bikes out of this. I didn’t take that on in this essay and that’s a fight for another day, and perhaps a different forum. This piece is absolutely not about trail use.

  9. Randall

    If I was single and grocery shopped to one, the Turbo would be in my garage right now, period.

    I have ridden one, and as much as I liked it, the Trek Transport + seemed like a much more appealing device. That bike could hold four grocery bags just on the pannier-racks. I thought (and still do) that the lack of fender mounts on the Turbo was crazy! Now, I notice that the transport + is no longer for sale, while the turbo is… so I’m going to have to dispute the concept of what you’re arguing. I think many riders of the Turbo are using it as a cool toy, and that it hasn’t disrupted the “scooter market” as it could. To that end, I don’t think the sales of e-bikes have increased overall awareness or usefulness by a significant margin.

    Regarding Europe, their population density is much higher than America’s, and their per capita funding requirement for public works (like bike trails) is much lower. Factor that with shorter commutes (smaller countries), more use (percentage might be equal but nearby population base), and higher costs of driving, and you get a recipe for winning.

    I wish I thought you were right…

  10. Champs

    Anything that can keep up with cars on clear city streets is not a bicycle.
    Anywhere that motor vehicles are prohibited, bicycle-shaped objects must be included.
    Anybody who wants to ride an ersatz motorcycle needs a motor vehicle license and insurance.

  11. Dave

    Sorry to me thats not a bike. Its a motor bike that has pedals on it. And just like everything else witha motor on it its only a matter of time till they get faster and for powerful. And when you get a bunch of freds out there going 30 to 40 on a crowded bike path how is this a good thing?

  12. Tim

    I agree with the sentiment of the article that extra people riding is a good thing for all (road using) cyclists. There’s really nothing to be gained from hostility between groups of cyclists. Although you can still look down on them in a good spirited kind of way, I know I certainly do.

    Unfortunately I agree even more with Donnie Barnes. He’s pretty much hit all the problems as to why e-bikes will not make any noticeable difference to the cycling community. Until the technology becomes become cheaper by a factor of at least five, I seriously doubt any significant number of e-bikes will be on the roads (especially any owned by people that weren’t already cyclists).

    P.S. How do you have clear memories of learning to ride? I don’t think I have any detailed memories of experiences and the emotions that went with them before I was about 16 and I’m only 27 now…

  13. Bob

    To clarify a minor point, an e-bike requires the operator to turn the pedals. The faster the pedals turn AND the more rotation force applied, the more assist the electric motor provides. So if the pedals aren’t turning there is no e-assist.

    A scooter has no pedals so is not a bike since there are no pedals.

    E-bikes are currently allowed and follow the laws that apply to bikes and vehicles as appropriate. Scooters follow motor vehicle laws.

    1. Full Monte


      Thanks for the clarification. Before any conversation or debate, a consensus definition of terms is needed, which you just supplied. This bit of clarification keeps the discussion from wandering, which it has quite considerably. No pedal. No go. E-bike. And like Padraig said, they’re really fun. Try one at your LBS, everyone. Just a spin around the block and then tell me you don’t “get it.” Yes, they’re the answer to bike commuting and not arriving at your meeting or office looking like a hot mess. Yes, they’re the answer to running errands around town when you’d otherwise (and unnecessarily) use your car. Yes, they take sedentary people who otherwise would not do any exercise and get them moving (albeit assisted). Yes, they put non-cyclists in situations where they can begin to identify with (and I hesitate to use this term) “real” cyclists. Yes, they’re a gateway drug to (here it is again) “real” cycling. And yes, the assist is governed. And no, I don’t particularly want one now for myself, though I know plenty who’d benefit greatly from having them, many in my own extended family: “C’mon, it’s fun! Follow me, and don’t worry about being dropped. This bike trail runs along the Mississippi breaks and past bald eagles’ nests. You won’t believe it!”

      Wouldn’t that be a cycling highlight moment for me!? And for everyone here, too? If you could share the ride with people you love who otherwise wouldn’t attempt to try?

  14. Author

    Champs and Dave: I want to echo Bob’s point, that what we’re talking about here are bicycles that feature a motor that multiplies the user’s effort. While some companies do make and offer some bikes that include either a push-button or twist throttle, that’s not where the market is headed, and those throttle-option bikes are well in the minority. It’s not what I’m advocating, either. All of these bikes feature a limit to how much assist you get; for instance, to go faster than 28 mph on the Specialized Turbo, you have to deliver all the additional power yourself. While you might be passed on the bike path by someone doing 20 (or even 25), you’re not going to be passed by someone doing 35.

    1. Champs

      Padraig: follow me, if you will, to the scene of a storm-flattened Midwestern neighborhood. In the foreground, a Local Action News reporter tells her audience that they cannot yet confirm that the damage was caused by a tornado rather than strong winds.

      Pedal assist versus throttle is yet another distinction that makes little difference. Cancellara’s legs could be the propulsion, for that matter, and it is still not acceptable to ride at twice the prevailing speed where there is a large group of riders. So help us if this catches on so that anybody can do it.

      Beyond courtesy, even your ostensibly reasonable speeds are excessive. Our brains only work as fast as our ancestors could run. It is documented that almost all fatal traffic collisions are in excess of 20MPH. You can certainly pedal in excess of these speeds, but this is greatly limited by the tax of self-acceleration. A two-wheeled machine that zips you up to 25-28, or nearly 40 on the European Turbo (you know there will be jailbreakers) is not a bike. The speed is too fast and too free.

      California is ground zero for that other great innovation meant to help people cover greater distances: the freeway. The people of your region speak of traffic as a living, breathing entity that casts a shadow over everything. You can’t increase speed, you can only shorten distance. The thing that gets people out of their cars is living in complete, compact communities where biking and walking are practical ways to get around.

  15. Donnie Barnes

    How can you say where the industry is going? It’s still in its infancy.

    The industry is going to go where the money is, and if that’s a twist throttle, then it’s a twist throttle. We have yet to see where it will be. I applaud Specialized for trying to make it happen through the pedals, but that doesn’t mean that’s how it is going to happen for all time.


  16. Mike the Bike PT

    Writing like this is needed. Most of us have read anti-e-bike rants in one place or another. The most disturbing part of these rants is the ‘us vs. them’ nature of them. More bikes on the road are good for all of us, regardless of the power source. I ride to work about 2 days/week right through the middle of a good-sized city. If the number of bike commuters were to double, I would be so much safer. The thought that ‘today could be the day’ runs through my mind every time I leave the house. Real improvements in safety are welcome however they occur. Believe me, if a 55 year old woman leisurely passes me while I grind up Lafayette St hill because she is on an e-bike and I am mashing away on my single-speed, I will be all smiles.

  17. Ken

    Didn’t we already go through this evolutionary path in the early 1900’s? The first motorcycles were just bicycles with motors attached to them. I’m not sure why it needs to be done again.

    In the end, this will be nothing more than niche market for a few commuters who should really just get a scooter and be done with it.

  18. Timbo

    Bring ’em on! To the folks saying e-bikes are too expensive to make a big impact on the number of people out there riding on two wheels: think bigger. I imagine many e-bike purchasers will be people who do not ride anything right now. Each one will be a new person inside a bike shop. Each one will tell other current non-riders about their experience. Some of those people in turn might feel inspired to make a change and visit the same shop. They might buy e-bikes. They might buy non-e-bikes. Either way, rinse. Repeat.

    To the folks saying e-bikes won’t help with obesity: also think bigger. People above have explained the concept of e-assist. Furthermore, getting an obese person (of which there are many) just to consider getting from Point A to Point B in something other than a climate-controlled metal box is a HUGE step in the right direction. I bet once they gain some confidence on an e-bike, many will make their next purchase something a little more analog.

  19. James Allen

    I was with you right up until you included E-bikes on trails. No way, no how should this be allowed or endorsed. They have a perfect fit on the road and MUP used as commuters and errand runners. They have ZERO place on singletrack and will create an immense chasm with respect to the current division growing between mountain bikers, environmental groups and municipalities.

    We are already under a microscope for our “transgressions” against nature… why add fuel to the fire with dorks hacking E-MTB’s to see just how fast they can finish that segment or trail?

    Keep them off the trails; please!

  20. Author

    Donnie: It’s possible to talk about where the industry is going because I’ve talked with people in product development. The throttle will probably always be out there to one degree or another, but the throttle has a number of drawbacks in that it exacerbates access and perceptual issues as well as opposition from retailers. Throttle-less bikes are more readily accepted and manufacturers have already taken note of that difference.

    James Allen: There’s nothing in that piece that suggests I want to see e-bikes on trails. It’s not there. And it’s a point I further clarified in a later comment.

  21. Rich

    I could love these if it would get my wife out on some rides with me. However, we were passed by a e recumbent on a climb at the Davis Double. That sucks. Cycling events are no place for them. The guy had a full aero cover on it to hide the works but you could hear the motor.

  22. Eric

    Every new e-bike rider will suddenly “get” what its like to ride on open roads with motorized traffic. As a result they’ll be more polite drivers and more willing to support, or at least not fight, road improvements for cycling. For this alone e-bikes will be a win for the cycling community.

    I don’t feel threatened at all by e-bikes. It doesn’t bother me that an e-bike might let someone who has not put in the thousands of hours of training I’ve done ride faster than me. Until the USAC allows them to line up in road races they’re not my competition any more than motorcycles are.

  23. Donnie Barnes

    The more I think about it, the throttle is irrelevant. So you have to be spinning the pedals. There’s nothing to say the power multiplier can’t be set to nearly infinite, so that all you have to do is *spin* the pedals. Nobody is going to pay very much money for a bike with a motor that makes them work much, so the point is lost on me how in the world this will help with obesity.

    And one thing not yet mentioned…one of the biggest impediments to cycling being able to fight obesity is the saddle. It’s a pretty big impossibility to go from truly obese to fit by bicycling because people that bad off can’t handle the saddle pain. Nothing about an e-bike fixes that. Even Fatty was never what anyone would call *obese*. Fat people don’t cycle. They’re not going to start because they can get a bike with an electric motor, and even if they do, they’re not going to ride it enough to lose weight. IMHO.

    (Okay, sure, there are exceptions and I’m sure there are some truly obese people that fought through it. It’s just not the norm. And won’t be.)

    But again, I already said I don’t care about allowing e-bikes on roads. I’m fine with that. I just don’t see them being some big boon to cycling in general, and in fact could be a big problem with, err, other types of cycling.


  24. J. Marvin Campbell

    My only beef with eBikes are the fools with zero bike handling skills suddenly becoming missiles of death screaming down the bikepath. I’ve almost been taken out twice by the same fool on a Pedego in Playa del Rey who likes to cut blind corners and ride on the wrong side of the street.

    1. Jeff Hazeltine

      Yep! If one learns to ride a bicycle 20 miles per hour, they can handle it. If one jumps on and pushes a button? Not so much. My understanding is that CA state law prohibits motorized vehicles on bike paths unless a local jurisdiction specifically allows them. Enforcement is lacking. Ebikes are a menace. Limit them to motorized wheelchair speeds and I would accept them keeping to the right. Need help on a hill? Get off and walk!

  25. Pat O'Brien

    Arizona state law is very vague on licensing or registration requirements, for motor assisted, gas or electric, bicycles, but generally if it looks like a bike with an added motor it gets treated like a bike. I have not seen them in use on the bike paths here, but have seen them in bike lanes around town. If they remove a car from the road, I am fine with it. But, if they become popular then it won’t be long before regulation, registration, licensing, and insurance become an issue. Police and lawmakers will have to find a way to classify them. The confusing, conflicting, and vague state laws in the U.S. on mopeds is an example of what can be expected.

    1. Junkshow

      As a former resident I can verify that Arizona is fantastically vague on pretty much all kinds of vehicle licensing and registration.

      50 different laboratories of vehicular laws too.

  26. wayno

    Not sure if I buy the “if there is more of us we will be safer” argument. With more cyclists on the road, when I am driving my car AND riding my bike, I get frustrated with the actions of those new cyclists. Riding 3 abreast, not in the bike lane, not stopping at signs/lights when there are cars already in the intersection etc. If I am getting frustrated, the contingent that will never ride must be on boil by now. Plus as aware as I am as a cyclist, it does not help the rider when they don’t respect the right-of-way a vehicle may have.

    Being a lifelong cyclist, I was taught how to survive on roads by the old roadies I cut my teeeth with. Most experienced cyclists have developoed situational awareness. I was a kid and impressionable, most new cyclists are adults that already have bad habits and not as willing to learn off of others.

    New riders simply don’t have the experience and that creates a dangerous situation for them and more chances to alienate driver who thinks we are all the same. And even though you and I know we are not the same, we are. I don’t appreciate getting swerved when minding my own business because some tool pissed the driver off 2 minutes before.

    More cyclists on the current infrastructure, both physical and legal, is a recipe for disaster without major change. An awereness campaign for drivers as to what the laws (Idaho stops, red light rules etc) are and teaching new riders how to act would be the best solution.

    1. Robot

      @Wayno – I hear you on all fronts EXCEPT that without new riders, there are no old riders down the road. This is a process, not a permanent state of being, right? I don’t want to say that it has to get worse to get better, but I do think we have to get more cyclists on the road one way or another to have better cyclists on the road AND get more respect from drivers. The industry has not proven adept at adding new cyclists on its own. We have mostly lived by selling stuff to the riders who are already there. External factors and/or transformative products are going to be bigger boons to cycling than the next fat/gravel/disc/11spd innovation we all geek out over while our indifferent fellow citizens get larger and more belligerent.

  27. jorgensen

    There is a stand alone Electric bike retailer in Santa Barbara, it will be interesting to see how they do. That is a venue where I think they just might work well in. My only current experience in LA is that when I ride near one on the road, the riders are male and not that happy I am keeping up with them by pedals alone. Might just be an early adopter attitude I am encountering, that and they all have driven in a way that invites horn honking from cars.

  28. David

    I recently visited the house I grew up in. The highlight was rush of remembrances that was my first bike ride. The short first try, kind of like the Wright brothers early attempts and then the spin down the block and back. I have never stopped peddling and loving every second of it. Thanks for taking me back if only for a few seconds.

  29. Rod

    No problem with e-bikes. A couple of colleagues use them to commute to work. One less car! Heck, I even had the experience of servicing and fixing one during a brief stint as a shop mechanic.

    And I’ll also take one motorcycle over one car. Less mass, less carnage. But because of the exact same reason, I do think there are differences between motorized and non-motorized vehicles, and as such certain areas should be restricted (some bikepaths, natural / MTB trails, and so on). On the flat, you know that a person doing 50 kph at least spent some time developing riding skill…

  30. Grant Headley

    This has been one of the first comment boards I have trolled all the way down to the bottom. Very interesting comments.
    My view on the obesity argument is that there will be no one thing in diet, psychology, exercise mode, diet pills, surgery, that will make a dent in obesity or poor activity level in our society until we catch up with understanding how our society has changed in the past century to being off the farm and into the chair.
    We will never solve a problem by maintaining the cultural meme that we must work less to get to our goals.
    If you are a good example in terms of physical fitness and want to positively influence your kids, coworkers, family, tell them the truth about how you got to where you are and how you work on your goals… HARD WORK; MILES, HOURS, SWEAT, MUSCLE SORENESS. If more people connect happiness with hard work and not be sheepish about how much they work to get to where they are we will be better off. From the other point of view, if you keep telling an obese person how “easy” it is from a mindset of trying to help them not be scared off, when they actually try to exercise and it is actually difficult they will just be discouraged.

  31. Theodore

    After being a bike commuter for years in China, where the infrastructure was great, I found it difficult to continue the lifestyle moving back to America. The traffic was more dangerous and the hilly terrain of my city made it preventive. Or at least way less fun. Getting an ebike kept me out of a car. My state has class 3 ebike law (28 mph pedal assist) and I actually find it faster and much more fun than a car downtown. While I can certainly arrive to work without sweating, the temptation push it harder makes that a rare occurrence. I did get a better workout on my normal bicycle, but I don’t think that was why I rode in the first place. I’ve picked up an e-cargo bike as well, and can now ride my wife around town, while holding a conversation. My 14 month old son loves his ride into daycare in the morning. Ebikes have allowed me to continue the lifestyle that I love, and then some. Plus, they have allowed us to be a one car family for years.

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