I've pasted this forum thread from Australian Cycling Forums over to here, so sorry for people who read both. It's interesting to see the kind of crowd that reads and replies to each forum. I have to say that the community on Sydney Cyclist is much friendlier, amongst other good qualities. Here goes:

Did anybody see an electric bike in the Gong Ride this year? Official advice was that they weren't permitted to participate. I had an interesting chat with an organiser about some of
the reasons why, which ranged from generally misguided ("e-bikes will
have different acceleration and speed profiles that might be disruptive
amongst crowds of cyclists") to the completely understandable and
challenging ("we do mobile bike maintenance for people with bikes that
aren't up to the ride. We don't know how to handle that if people bring
e-bikes that aren't up to the ride").

Generally though, I'm keen to see them as part of the ride for 2011. Not just because it will be
good for the electric bike industry which I'm a part of but I think it
will be good for cycling in general - a bit less emphasis on cycling
being about toughness and sweat and lycra - and will be good for the
ride - greater range of participants = better spreading of the word
about MS and of course fundraising from all sorts of people who may not
have been involved otherwise and a more fun and inclusive event.

What do others think? Think they should be a part? Think they shouldn't? Who
here would consider entering with an e-bike? And would you enter
without one anyway? I don't imagine there are too many e-bikes out there
that would make it on one battery. Is running out of battery a
'break-down' on this ride and what would be a reasonable way to help
someone who goes on the ride for this to happen? Any practical ways to
make sure people don't enter unless they have reason to be confident
that their battery won't run out or that they'll be able to finish the
ride in any case?

I've put more detail about this on our shop's blog as well for reference.

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The Gong ride is not the only way that people choose to raise money for MS and am sure many of their other events are not so sporting focused. However many people use the motivation of this wonderfully organised ride to get fit, lose weight and enjoy the challenge of getting all hot and sweaty in accomplishing their goal of riding that distance under their own power.

You can ride to Wollongong any weekend you want to, why not just donate some money to your chosen charity and go for a ride?
I didn't see one but I did see lots of other bike variants and I can't see e-bikes being any more of a "danger" than some of those they allowed in this year such as tandems, trailers, recumbents, fixies with one brake, unicycles, and the infamous "double-deckers" (two frames, one welded on top of one another - didn't see them this year though). Not that I'm automatically saying any of these types of bikes are any more dangerous than any other, but their arguments are weaker for allowing these bikes in and excluding e-bikes. Likewise there were plenty of outfits that could have caused disruption - capes that could have caught in wheels and riders wearing nothing more than bikinis and budgie smugglers that caused more than a few second looks (well, allegedly...).

Don't know how to handle an e-bike that isn't up to the ride? How do you handle a normal bike that isn't? It's not like your average e-bike rider is the type of person who'll be using the even to set a land speed record. I suspect they'll use the power when they need it and pedal otherwise. If anything it's a good thing for the organisers as it means the e-bike riders are more self-sufficient.

Furfie. Someone needs to talk some sense in to them.
It's not a race, so it's not cheating. Why ban it? It takes away nothing from the people who do it on a regular bike.
I think that provided they comply with the legal requirements for e-bikes, which seem to be reasonably well thought, they should be allowed.

The argument about different acceleration rates is indeed misguided as you could apply it to those who are particularly slow and hold up the others on the hills.

I suffer a curious and inexplicable resentment towards e-bike riders who pass me going up Anzac bridge with the minimum of effort but I'm getting therapy for it and it's going quite well !

Well done to all of you who took part in the Gong ride.
Did overhear a guy talking with the Electric Bike that he was not using the Electric part.
Maybe pulled the battery out + Maybe his only bike.
I have to say I wouldnt be too happy to see e-bikes involved. Seems like your interest in this is a commercial one which doesnt fit well with the charity aspect of the ride. Additionally, as Susan said, the Gong Ride is a fantastic opportunity to motivate people to improve their fitness and with numbers being limited each year, that means for every e-bike there is some cyclist missing out on the ride and perhaps losing that motivation. I know for one I wouldnt like to see someone "motoring" past me as im putting in the hard work getting up a hill and expect many people would think likewise. What next? Scooters, motorbikes as well?
I did see a recumbent or two on the gong ride.
That sounds a bit tight of them. They could have used the same logic to ban all really fit people! Isn't it annoying when people in positions of authority apply easily deconstructed logic to justify enforcing one-cap-fits-all regulations?

Seems to be pretty inflexible to ban recumbents from such events. There must be ways to include them. If recumbents are deemed to be too fast, send them off first, for one.

I would allow e bikes on the Gong ride, but maybe ask them to pay an extra fee to keep the numbers down. And not allow them any free food!
When I first got my eBike about 3 years ago I wanted to enter the 'gong ride.
I never even assumed for a moment that my bike would not be accepted and I have been planning to enter each year since.
I haven't entered for a range of reasons unrelated to cycling.
So you can mark me down as a "disappointed" future eBike entrant.
You can read about my eBike experience elsewhere on SC. (read this post on Health Benefits)

It's worth noting that people ride eBikes for many reasons.
In my case it's for fitness and lifestyle. There are some health issues associated with an eBike. High intensity cycling would be out of the question for me on health grounds. An eBike provides the assistance to make cycling possible, most importantly for hills and endurance.

I'm certainly mindful that some riders are a little put off to see some "motoring along", but be assured, riders in my category are using that motor as an assistive device to have the joy of cycling. For me it's eBike or noBike!

I wouldn't like to push someone out of an event just so I could ride my eBike. However I would be concerned if the technology was the only determining factor in an event that encourages participation with a charitable aim.
Be assured that my desire to do the distance and improve my fitness though cycling is as genuine as anyone.

I appreciate the support and open-minded approach to cycling from those on SC.


With Sydney Cyclists being such a progressive, accepting and open minded lot (on all issues) it is disappointing that it seems to be implied that ecyclists are not real cyclists and should be excluded from some events. I am not yet in my walking frame, I did a slow 110 km with 900m total ascent (net 0) on Saturday, but in 10+ years an ebike might extend my cycling life so I hope to be still acceptable then.
I like the idea of e-Bikes and am considering buying one to have in my "fleet" for certain specific occasions.

However, the Gong ride is not one such occasion.

Firstly, MS have more entries for the Gong ride than they can handle and have to cap the numbers of entrants. I don't think they would ban eBikes if they were struggling to get enough riders on the Gong.

Secondly, I have ridden the Gong ride several times but the last time I did it, my friend was hit by an out of control novice rider and knocked off her bike. After that, which followed several other near misses for both of us, we decided we wouldn't ride it again. I think if you are suggesting that eBikes can be ridden on the Gong by people who would not be capable of riding it on a normal bike, then I am opposed to that idea. It is not a ride for novices, IMO and I would suggest the Spring Cycle is a more appropriate event.

Lastly, one of my friends volunteers every year as roadside bike mechanic and several of my friends volunteer as on-bike helpers for minor bike repairs along the way. These people (as I said) are volunteers and I don't think any of them are familiar with eBike maintenance.


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