“Cheating” E-Bikes

“I hate it when the guys on e-bikes zoom past me when I’m cycling up a bridge! It’s like cheating.”

I was talking about the absurdity of NYC’s electric-bike laws and its impact on delivery workers with a male NYC cyclist when he exclaimed his disgust with e-bike riders. Other bike activists have also told me that many male cyclists complain about e-bikes because they are “cheating” or not “real” cyclists.

It’s not hard to find this sentiment in the bicycling world. From Outside Magazine in 2014:

But the biggest flaws with e-bikes are physical and psychological. The bicycle is meant to be an endorphin-multiplier. In my mind, bike commuting’s big draw is burning calories on the way to your destination. Yes, an e-bike is better for the environment than your car, but in the end, you forgo a crucial part of the experience. You make yourself better, and stronger, when you ride a real bike.

By doing the hard work for you, e-bikes cheat people out of that accomplishment and ultimately make them lazier. They enable entitlement to motion and a sense of false accomplishment.

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