Mixing powered and unpowered cyclists
As a cycle guide, I’ve seen a growing trend in the use of electric bikes or ebikes on group cycle trips. While ebikes have made cycling more accessible to older or less physically fit riders, they also present unique challenges when mixed with human-powered bikes on mixed or hilly trails. In order to ensure the safety and cohesion of the group, there are a few workarounds that can be implemented to make sure everyone enjoys the ride.
One common challenge with ebikes is that they can travel much faster than human-powered bikes, which can cause them to get far ahead of the rest of the group. To avoid this, ebikers can stop and allow the rest of the group to concertina. A good place to stop is at the crest of a hill. This means that ebikers stop at intervals along the trail, allowing the slower riders to catch up – check everyone is ok – and regroup before continuing on.
Another option is for the human-powered bikes to head off before the ebike group and get a head start on the hills. Then the ebikers can catch up and enjoy the ride without causing the group to become too spread out.
Finally, when the ebike group arrives at a destination, the ebikers can relax and rest, perhaps having a drink at a bar, getting an icecream or going for a swim, while the human-powered bikes arrive later. This allows everyone to arrive at the destination in their own time.
It’s important to note that ebikes have made many cycle trails and bike rides more accessible to people who may not have been able to participate otherwise. As such, it’s important to be flexible and understanding when it comes to mixing ebikes and human-powered bikes on group trips. While it may require a bit more planning and coordination, the end result is worth it as everyone can enjoy the ride and arrive safely at the destination.
So while ebikes present some unique challenges on group cycle trips, there are workarounds that can be implemented to ensure the safety and cohesion of the group. By being flexible and understanding, we can all enjoy the benefits of cycling together, regardless of the type of bike we ride.
Great NZ Cycle Path
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