"It's not as cheating as driving my car..."
I took my Stretch bicycle out for a spin today, I'd hoped to do some shopping but had no luck finding anything that I was looking for. The stretch bicycle is a normal mountain bike, with an XtraCycle rear end, and a Wilderness Energy motor up front. The xtracycle rear end makes the bike look very abnormal .. and it always draws interest.
Today the first was a uber-biker with garish stretch-to-fit biking clothes asking "Hey, how do you like that xtracycle.. I have one too and I use it for grocery shopping" .. I agreed, it's a good thing and that's what I use it for, grocery shopping. Then he noticed this extra large hub up front and asked what that was. After explaining that's the motor, and pointing to where the battery pack is, he said "eewww... that's cheating" and rode away before I could say anything.
If he had stayed around I'd have explained how it's much less cheating than driving my car. And having the motor makes it more likely I'll ride the bike rather than drive the car.
The second guy came up asking what this whole getup was for. He didn't quite understand so I explained .. the xtracycle is an addon frame that bolts on to the rear end in place of the rear wheel. He asked "why" and I explained about the great cargo capacity. He thought, oh that's for the batteries? We hadn't yet talked about the motor but somehow he thought it was supposed to have batteries. No, I said, the batteries are up here, and the motor is in the front wheel. He was very impressed and positive.
Forget the Spandex crowd, they'll never get it...until they get old or have an injury.
The last one I rode next to on the old Blast was an arrogant 190 pound Rugby type SOB, full of herself and intent upon staying in front of me once she noticed the motor. Made some Phred comment and was constantly cutting me off. Not hard to do as I ride upright and like a Grandpa, that is reasonably slow and safe, especially in traffic.
As we approached a T intersection the light changed to red. I slowed to a stop but she started to run it only to smash into a poor unsuspecting 135 pound little Asian guy who had just stepped into the crosswalk. He went down like a sack of spuds. Her fancy and I'm sure expensive front wheel flattened like pancake, the bike stopped dead but she did a great Superwoman imitation flying over the bars about five feet above the street like a bird. By the time she hit the ground the policeman who she had not noticed as she was too busy taunting me but was at the intersection pulling out at the same time the little guy stepped off the curb was standing over her with his ticket pad and pen. LMAO then I helped the little guy up after a quick first responder check out. Her I left for the police
Sometime when the stars are aligned just right there is a little poetic justice.
Nothing better than cruising up behind the lycra wearers, throttle steady and watching them up their cadence for a few miles. Then, when they are puffing and blowing, wondering why they can't shake this guy, nail the amps and zoom past. Satisfaction guaranteed, one in the eye for the bike nazi's that won't support alternative sustainable transport options unless it's on their terms. I'd like to transport them all to the Netherlands and let them experience shared cyclepaths where petrol engined mopeds, people, scooters and bicycles all coexist with no problems. The objective is to leave the car behind no matter what the method....
I too am developing a bit of an "us versus them" attitude. In my case I call them Daffodils. They are pretty, colorful, pop up by the thousands when the weather turns nice, and their purpose is mostly decorative. And, yes, it is oh so pleasant to dust them especially because my bike just looks like a dumpy old mountain bike with outsized panniers. I try to combat this attitude because I believe they are the them that are most easily persuaded to be like us. They already understand that you really can use a bicycle to get places. It is only a question of introducing the notion that a bike can replace a car. If the arguments about cargo or sweat come up then you can explain the whole motor thing.
Full time ebiker
BionX and Wilderness Energy
Davew, I used to feel that way too but the more exposure I have to the 'dills as you refer to them the more I feel they are not the ones to convert. The "attitude" is so entrenched that to their way of thinking ebiking is not a lesser evil, it is just evil period.
Maybe they see us as lowlife on cheap bikes with no Liberace costumes blowing them away with speed and in general moving in on their turf. Or maybe they have a John Henry versus the steam drill mentality, I don't really know. They sure don't have a problem hauling their pricey rides on the old SUV for hundreds of miles going somewhere to ride though. Obviously they do it in large part for the oh look at me factor involved. I don't understand them any more than they do me. I'll continue to live and let live, but I want those 'dills to leave me alone!
Our best hope is maybe people that need some help going up hills or with distance and are happy just to get in the wind and maybe save a few bucks and the environment while they are at it. Plus those that don't have a shower stall at the workplace. Converting the cheap, old and infirm for starters may be better use of our energy. Eventually we could outnumber them.
Obviously I am generalizing here and know there a few good eggs amongst the unassisted pedal pushers. No hate mail from the budding Lance Armstrong's...... please. Maybe if I made myself on of those Curious George hooded capes and wore it while riding they'd get the message that I am doing it for the sheer joy involved. Naw, probably think I was dissing them.
Dave, Sturdly, reikiman and all fellow Visforvoltage members,
You will like this thread from http://www.dahon.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=3864&st=15. Warning! You may need to register on Dahon's forum to see the thread.
Purist are just that. Most are unable to think out of the box and use their ability to ride a two or three wheeler for anything other than recreation.
The responses by the two purist from Australia were pretty amusing. :)
P.S. Australians beware you may be offended by the Dahon thread !! Please don't take it as a personal attack. My statement on Dahon's forum was meant to evoke a funny response... That's all.
Speaking of extracycle, http://cleverchimp.com/products/stokemonkey/ offers a nice practical design for every day use at a fairly reasonable price.
Our vision of our future is becoming clearer day by day...
I view it simply as a kit-built motorscooter, usually with a hybrid (human/electric) drive. However, I do get self-conscious around bicyclists. I'm a 26-year-old fully healthy guy, so I *could* bike if I chose to. Anyway, around cyclists I usually pedal unassisted or with very light throttle. It's silly, but I do look like a bicycle and I do help myself to bicycle-exclusive perks like shoulder/sidewalk/bike path riding when the situation calls for it. I wouldn't enjoy riding a 30-mph motorscooter because I can't ride that on shoulders, yet I'd frequently be going much slower than traffic, so I'd basically be holding everyone up.
It's all about status guys. The next time a guy asks what the hub is, tell him it's a brake drum. This is one reason I am going to 72 volts. I want to blow the spandexed guys off the road while chatting with my wife on my blue tooth headset ...ride just ahead of them and never letting them get close enough to draft. This will make them envious and some may look into an electric bike for themselves someday. An electric hybrid bike is a great replacement for a car. We need to educate Americans that bikes can be much more than just leisure toys.