E-bikes need more love, e-bikers need more education | AspenTimes.com

E-bikes need more love, e-bikers need more education

The article about teaching tourists the rules and etiquette of bike riding is long overdue. Yes, the majority of tourists are renting e-bikes rather than conventional bikes, but let’s be clear: The e-bikes aren’t the problem; it’s the people riding them.

For some reason, when visitors come to our beautiful valley there is something that happens to the common sense part of their brains. Biking is not the only activity where they lack skills and awareness. I’m now going on to my fifth year of riding a class one e-mountain bike and have witnessed this bad behavior of riders on both e-bikes and regular bikes. Education is definitely needed for all riders.

Let’s be clear about e-bikes: They are here to stay and are going to get even more popular. But the use of e-mountain bikes on single-track trails is still controversial, especially in the upper Roaring Fork Valley. I’ve been riding single-track trails on my class one e-mountain bike in many bike parks all over the U.S. and Canada and have not encountered one bad situation. The class one has been reclassified by the federal government as a regular (non-motorized) bike and they are now allowed on all BLM trails. Class two e-bikes are like motorcycles and class three are faster and are excellent for commuters but not for single-track riding.

I’ve yet to meet another class one mountain biker on a trail who isn’t coming off of years of regular mountain biking experience. It’s time for our commissioners to look into allowing class-one mountain bikes on our single-track trails. E-bikes are the way of the future. On a powder day, do you see anyone skiing on long skinny race skis? Remember the old bumper stickers that read, “Short skis suck — save Aspen Mountain?” Everyone now is on wide, soft, shorter skis because it makes skiing powder easier, they can ski longer and definitely have way more fun. Please think about this.

Ian Long

Snowmass Village