eBike E-bikes are surging in popularity. What does that mean for Tahoe mountain biking trails?

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
28,879
Location
Reno, eNVy
Snippet:

A proposal to allow certain electronic bikes access to nearly 150 miles of trails in the Tahoe-area basin is a step in the right direction but still has a long way to go, according to area riders.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit allows certain classes of e-bikes on 25 of its 385 miles of trails. Under the management unit’s proposed plan, an additional 120 miles of new and existing trails would open to e-bikes, bringing the total number of e-bike accessible miles to 145, not counting dirt roads.

“This project is our effort at being proactive and managing e-bikes,” according to Jacob Quinn, engineering technician for the LTMBU. “We’re not trying to only open difficult and longer trails, but a variety.”

Interesting comments from Randy Collins, local bike shop owner and 25 years of trail building experience and Roy Tuscany, CEO of High-Fives.

Full article here: Reno Gazette Journal
 

Tom K.

HRPufnStf
Skier
Joined
Dec 20, 2015
Posts
3,838
Tricky topic. No easy answers. So many good arguments on both sides of the issue, and SO location/rider density dependent.

My wife and I are getting older. She's got a challenge or two, and her e-bikes have allowed us to ride together again at my speed, and it has been a joy.

OTOH, I know if I were 30 again, and could buy a Trek Rail, I'd be going as fast as I could everywhere, having a blast, and, I guess, part of the problem.

:huh:
 

martyg

Out on the slopes
Industry Insider
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Posts
1,312
Tricky topic. No easy answers.

:huh:
Based on my activity in city government, and being in the midst of the e-bike debate as far as policy.... there really is an easy answer: Follow the data as presented in peer reviewed, scientific journals, USDA FS studies, and those compiled by multi-use organizations like American Trails.

In a nut shell:
- There are very, very few contentious encounters when everyone follows established trail etiquette. JeffCo reported zero incidences over a one-year period. And few trails have more users than their trail system.
- E-mtn bikes pose no more trail degradation than regular mtn bikes. In some substrates, and grades, mtn bikes actually promote soil compaction, over shear forces, as introduced by footwear. The caveat is that you will see a bump in trail use by establishing accessibility to a new user group. So there will be trail degradation from that standpoint.
- E-bike purchasers are overwhelmingly 40 - 60 years of age. These are not bro-dudes who will be "sending it". They did not get to a point in life where they can afford a $5K - $10K+ bike purchase by making poor life decisions.
- That demographic is extremely attractive to small mtn towns that rely on tourism dollars. They are the folks who can afford to stay in the best points of lodging, enjoy a great dinner, and leave a $100 tip. They typically ae not the demo that purchases a case of beer, a sack of burrittos, and crashes up a FS road.

Do I own an e-mtn bike? No. However I can definitely see the utility of it, as do several of the world-champions, world-champion podium winners, Olympians, major European tour riders, and national champions who call out town home.
 

anders_nor

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Posts
796
Location
on snow
They are legal here as of 2019, it was huuuuuge discussions with lots of anger on both sides, lots of controvercy, new laws passed, and nothing bad really happend, trails are not overcrowded, number of people on them did not increase drasticly.

We are seeing more people using e-bikes for commuting though, thats where the bigger numbers are, and also people that were not in the best or shape, maybe some disease or elderly are getting back on their bikes, but they tend to more road cycling, than mountain trails.

(I bought one) biggest change for me is slightly longer trips on a few trails, at times take it to work and back, and sometimes I take it to the marina when I go boating.
 
Thread Starter
TS
Philpug

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
28,879
Location
Reno, eNVy

Ken_R

Living the Dream
Skier
Joined
Feb 10, 2016
Posts
4,794
Location
Denver, CO
I want an ebike. Makes front range trails more accesible since most have BRUTAL long climbs. For most trails eBikes are not really necessary unless you are very low in fitness (due to health issues) or recovering from injury. They are very very useful for that and will actually help people get fitter. Price of entry is still very very high for a quality bike and also the heavy weight makes them hard to handle (getting them on and off bike racks / carriers etc).
 

martyg

Out on the slopes
Industry Insider
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Posts
1,312
They are legal here as of 2019, it was huuuuuge discussions with lots of anger on both sides, lots of controvercy, new laws passed, and nothing bad really happend, trails are not overcrowded, number of people on them did not increase drasticly.

We are seeing more people using e-bikes for commuting though, thats where the bigger numbers are, and also people that were not in the best or shape, maybe some disease or elderly are getting back on their bikes, but they tend to more road cycling, than mountain trails.

(I bought one) biggest change for me is slightly longer trips on a few trails, at times take it to work and back, and sometimes I take it to the marina when I go boating.
I ran into a couple on our trail system. The guy was on a e-mtn. He had double knee replacement several months ago. His wife (and he was) is an eleite master's level racer. He had the e-mth three weeks. Said, "I have ridden more in the last threre weeks than I have in the last three months. And now I can ride with my wife again."

Typical e-mtn bike owner. What is not to love about that story? So many others like that.
 

Mike Thomas

Whiteroom
SkiTalk Sponsor
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
962
I ran into a couple on our trail system. The guy was on a e-mtn. Said, "I have ridden more in the last three weeks than I have in the last three months. And now I can ride with my wife again."

What is not to love about that story? So many others like that.
Well, that's at least 4x as much trail use, which does have impact, so there is that. I'm not saying that's a big deal, but it's should be noted.
 

martyg

Out on the slopes
Industry Insider
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Posts
1,312
Well, that's at least 4x as much trail use, which does have impact, so there is that. I'm not saying that's a big deal, but it's should be noted.
Where is that metric established? So if a particular trail sees 25 users per day, now it will be at least 25 X 4?
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
18,353
Location
Tahoe
I found this quote from Roy Tuscany encouraging.


Truckee-based High Fives Foundation CEO Roy Tuscany relies on e-bikes to access mountain terrain.

Tuscany, who broke his T-12 vertebrae while skiing more than a decade ago, doesn't have any power in his legs. Before his accident, Tuscany spent as much time as possible in the mountains. He kept biking after his accident, but friends would have to pull him up hills "and I would try to go down the best I could," he said.

About a year ago, he saved up the $10,000 he needed to purchase an e-bike. The bike has given him freedom, independence and a sense of inclusion, he said
 

T-Square

Terry
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,220
Location
Enfield, NH
My e-bike has opened up a wide variety of terrain that was hard for me to get to. I’m actually looking at knee replacement(s) sometime. The knees have been beat up over the years.
 
Top