“To stop being treated like a dick, one must first stop being a dick!”Sanny
Sanny casts his critical eye over the world of ebikes and reckons there is a lot to be said for just riding it like a ‘normal’ bike. Here is is guide to how to ride an ebike – or not.
Ok. Let me hold my hands up at the start and share a little secret with you. I love ebikes. I reckon that they have the potential to take bikes from being the perceived preserve of odd balls and middle aged men in Lycra with more money than sense, into the mainstream. Think about it. Why don’t more people cycle? Perceived dangers of riding on the roads, not wanting to arrive sweaty and out of breathe at their destination, not feeling fit enough – there is a whole bag of excuses waiting to be opened. However, throw in a bike that allows you to get where you are going with a little less effort and you have a viable alternative to jumping in the car. Rocket science, it isn’t.
But….and there is always a but….ebikes aren’t a panacea and the potential for what can kindly be referred to as weapons graded bell-endery is high. So in the spirit of not, as Paddy Considine so mellifluously puts it in Hot Fuzz, “being a twat”, here is a little insight into the mind of the Ebike dick!
1. Riding Without A Limiter
Just what is the point of a limiter on an ebike, eh? Hit that magic number and you will soon find yourself feeling that you are riding through treacle. How on earth are you meant to fly past fellow cyclists and other trail users at warp speed, impressing them with your sublime levels of skill and fitness, when your dilithium crystals aren’t being employed to maximum effect? Ok, so there are laws about such things but really those laws aren’t meant for you, are they? Clearly, it is only other people who are irresponsible and selfish, foolish even. No, you are a model citizen. If you weren’t meant to bypass that pesky limiter, why would there be so many hints, tips and tutorials on t’interweb telling you how to do it? Quite frankly, it would be rude not to do it. All you are doing is unlocking the true potential of your ebike.
2. The Ebike E-vangelist
Even long term users cannot help but enthuse about the benefits of riding their ebike. I can get to my destination quicker/ I’m a lot less sweaty / the hills feel so much easier/ I feel like I am putting in no effort but am still flying along – ad nauseam. Nothing is more enjoyable on a ride than hearing you blather on about just how much better your life has become since you joined the ranks of the ebiker. No, really. When your friends ride with you, they’re not remotely interested in enjoying the scenery and trails in quiet, contemplative peace or having a bit of a chat about things other than ebikes. No, what they really want to hear is how much you are enjoying your new found toy. Keep trying to sell them the benefits of electrification as they probably didn’t quite understand what you were saying the first three hundred and seventy times you happened to raise it in the last twenty minutes.
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3. The Strava Ace
How many times have you looked at King of the Mountain classifications on your fruit based communication device and secretly wished that you were at the top of that list? Don’t tell anyone but on an ebike, there is a good chance that you can. Mark of this parish bagged six KoM’s on his commute to the office when he had an E fat bike on test. When he wrote of this, he received more than his fair share of accusations of foul play and cheating. Tish and pish I say. All is fair in love and war and Strava. You and I both know that if you had just a little more free time to spare and did just a little bit more training, you would be smashing out those record times anyway so why not just cut out the effort and go straight to the winners’ rostrum? After all, everyone knows deep down that they aren’t as good as you so you deserve it. Anyone who cries foul is clearly just a cotton headed ninny muggins.
4. The Serial Gate Opener…or not
Face it; if you are on your ebike, there is a good chance that you will be first to the top of every climb. You don’t always have to be but if you are and there is a gate to go through, why bother to hold it open as you wait for your riding buddies to catch up? After all, you aren’t being paid to be a gate opener and closer. You’ve worked hard to pay for your ebike that means you are no longer the last one to the top of the hill. You’ve paid your dues. You’ll no doubt hear bleatings about there being an unwritten rule (or is that now a written rule now that I have written it? Answers on a postcard please) that the first one to a gate opens it for the rest. But that is the cry of the weak and feeble. Just leave them to open their own gates, peasants that they are.
5. The Chatty Chatter
By dint of having an extra 250 watts of power available at your fingertips, mile for mile, you will be putting less effort in than your riding companions. Your heart rate will almost certainly be lower and you are far less likely, for want of a better phrase, to be blowing out your arse! The same cannot necessarily be said for your riding companions. It is at this crucial juncture that you should try and hold a normal conversation with them. The weather, the passing scene, Brexit, who exactly the so called stars you’ve never heard of on Strictly are, the blasphemy of a white chocolate Kit Kat, or any other stream of conscious that happens to flow from you. Ramp up the commentary and the volume. Your mates will thank you for relieving them from the unrelenting drudgery and monotony of riding a normal pushbike.
6. The Shoot Off The Front And Ride Back Rider
There can be few things more satisfying to your riding companions than to see you fly off the front only to head back down the trail to repeat your off the front shenanigans. Egos, particularly male egos, aren’t in any way, shape or form fragile. Even though they know that you have a built in power advantage that isn’t necessarily the result of hard training and graft on your part, they will no doubt rejoice as you leave them for dust! For the win, this tactic should be combined with a bit of half wheeling fun. Just as they draw level, make sure you just click up the power a little to maintain your advantage. You are the Alpha so as with dogs in a pack; it is for their own good to be reminded of your superiority now and again.
7. The Shoot Off The Front And Never Look Back Rider
A variation on the shoot off the front and ride back approach, this is the preserve of the true Dick ebiker. Nothing gives more pleasure to your riding companions than seeing you shooting off on your ebike at every hill only to be waiting at the top with some witty quip about “what took you so long?” While the sight of your good self disappearing into the distance will never become a very welcome one for them, the seasoned Dick on an ebike will not encumber themselves with trivial questions such as why they are actually riding with other people. The aim is surely to demonstrate that you can spend money to buy a bit of speed and even skill. Each time you head off the front, you are clearly asserting your superiority both as a rider and in life.
8. The Serial Excuse Merchant
With technology comes a whole new gamut of potential excuses when things don’t go entirely to plan. Not performing like a downhill legend on your favourite trails? Not a problem. Just mumble something about uneven weight distribution or problems with your mid stroke as you pretend to fumble with your shock settings and everyone will come to realise that it is the bike and not the rider at fault. Or how about you are not feeling the love on the climbs and, frankly, can’t really be arsed to be riding outside when you could be killing it on Zwift, Peloton or some other virtual riding game of choice? My battery isn’t fully charged, I think I have a loose connection, I think I need a software update – the possibilities are virtually limitless. All those times when you thought it was down to you and a lack of skill or fitness can be forgotten about. It’s the bike’s fault, not yours. Everyone knows that! Do not worry, your stellar reputation will remain intact.
9. The Ebike Accessoriser
With new technology comes the opportunity to spend even more money on an expensive sport than you might have thought possible. You’ll start small and dip your toe in gently – how about an ebike specific saddle for sir or madam for starters? Or perhaps ebike specific rims and tyres? Pretty soon you will spend most of your waking hours scouring t’interweb for all manner of new and improved tech and kit to optimise your ebike riding experience. Ebike specific valve caps, socks, high tech synthetic base layers that are designed to address the very specific needs of the ebiker, ebike shoes tuned for maximum pedal interface efficiency , heck, there will probably even be ebike specific riding glasses with heads up display showing wattage output, heart rate and how highly you score on the desirability scale (pretty high obviously!) when it comes to members of the opposite/same sex (delete as appropriate). It is a whole world of possibility and you are just the very person to be at the cutting edge of it!
So there you have it. An insight into the mind of the Dick ebiker. A scary place to be I’m sure you’ll agree. When it comes to riding ebikes, it’s pretty easy to avoid making these rookie mistakes. Just go out there and enjoy riding. Alone or with friends. It’s all good. Nobody really cares or is all that interested in what you are riding. All that really matters is that you are out there and doing it. So what is keeping you?
What to read more of Sanny’s thoguhts on how to behave? Head here: