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March 2, 2021

Ebikes are cheating

If you are an ebike owner or rider, you hear it all the time. People you pass on the trail or see on the street shout out “You’re cheating!” as you woosh by. Some of us laugh it off, some of us politely smile and shrug in disagreement, while yet, some of us take it to heart and wonder. “Am I really cheating?”

It really depends on what you consider cheating.

Let’s go back over 200 years ago to the first bicycle, known as the “Swiftwalker”. The Swiftwalker was created in 1817 by German inventor Karl von Drais. It also had no pedals and was something of bicycle design that you sat on and pushed along with your feet as you mounted it. Early adoption was slow because people considered it cheating when compared to walking. Some 40 or so years later another cheater was caught adding pedals of all things to the front axle. Now you could go even further and faster. But there was a problem, and that was the stiff wooden wheels. You felt each and every bump in the road and that is not exaggeration for the time as there were no smoothly paved roads.

Finally someone decided to make that system smoother so you could go further and faster by developing the pneumatic tire to replace the wooden wheels. If we fail to see the analogy being brewed, maybe this will enlighten us:

In 1905, French bicyclist and enthusiast Paul de Vivie created a two speed rear derailleur specifically for the intention of climbing up the Alps. From that moment on, it was all downhill, (or rather uphill) as many began to make climbing gears so people could get up the hills much more effective than before. Ask any mountain biker and they would rejoice the invention for helping them get out there and climb those hills. Certainly, de Vivie could not be called a cheater!

OK, so now we understand that bikes have followed a path of evolution for centuries and that most innovations are slow to become adopted. But let’s get down to the meat and potatoes. You can ride your DŌST without even pedaling! Where is the workout in that?

The truth is, many studies have been done that show people that own ebikes use them MORE than they thought they would. They go further, faster, and more comfortably, so the time goes by and the smiles stay planted. But in all seriousness, they DO get exercise. While the throttle on demand is convenient in many situations, those same studies show that people still pedal with pedal assist on average of 80% of the time and therefore are getting their workout. Some even credit the ebike for getting them out again at all! A major step in a positive direction.

Ebike owners don’t judge. A busy man with a Peleton system in his home creating a virtual class and virtual ride outdoors doesn’t bother an ebike enthusiast. They know that man is not “cheating” and that bicycles evolve and mean many things to many people. Since its creation, the only cheating the bicycle has done was to cheat the system in spirit. We are proud to continue in this tradition and to build fun and exciting ways to explore for you and your loved ones.

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