Letter: ‘Leave the bicycle alone!’

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We love getting feedback from our readers, and believe me when I say we read every email, postcard and handwritten letter. I especially appreciate the handwritten, because it takes more time and contemplation to communicate one’s thoughts.

After taking over as editor in late March, I had some decisions to make. First, we wanted to maintain the same general vibe the magazine has exuded since its inception in 2009, while introducing some new sections. One of these includes reportage on the electric bicycle scene, one that—like it or lump it—is newsworthy and not without merit.

Mind you, I can’t think of a better solution to the world’s problems than the bicycle. Feeling overwhelmed at work? Get out of that car and pedal. Feeling all alone at your school? Get out of your parents’ S.U.V. and pedal. Feeling your age as you round the bases toward 50? Get off that couch and pedal. Don’t like how oil-reliant America is becoming? You know the answer.

So, with Issue #29 we introduced ‘Electric Avenue’, a new section leading with a regular column from industry expert Paul Willerton. Paul knows bikes of all stripes: he was a professional road and mountain bike racer in the `80s and `90s, and is part owner of Defeet. He also loves the great outdoors in a gamey sort of way (living in Bend, Oregon does that to a person), where fishing is a priority.

Paul wrote an eloquent column in Issue #30 about a bicycle trip he shared with his dad thirty years ago. His dad was a strong outdoorsman who didn’t think twice about riding nearly 200 miles in a day with his young teenage son to Yosemite in his late 40s, but his worn-out 80-year-old body can’t deliver on his wishes to pedal a bike around town. Paul talked about how his dad lit up after riding an e-bike on Father’s Day last year, breathing new life into an adventurous man.

Then I received a letter from a robust 65-year gent named Jack Teesateskie, dated June 2. This obviously was written before Issue #30 was published, but it shed light on what many people think of e-bikes:

Mincing new words, be it ‘pedelec’, ‘elecped’ or whatever, according to Paul Willerton’s comments—Issue 029, July `14—”helps the bicycle maintain its true nature” is far off course.

In reality the attaching of unnecessary accoutrements on a bicycle is marked by unbecoming levity.

A lifelong bicyclist (I’m 65) and an advocate of physical health and fitness, this nonsense is ruining the image of the bicycle.

If these wimps need assistance they need to walk first, go buy a scooter or stay on the porch!

Leave the bicycle alone! Otherwise, thanks for the great magazine.

Sincerely,
Jack Teesateskie

What do you think of e-bikes on the road and bike paths? We know what our mountain bike amigos at Dirt Rag think about their place in the dirt. Let us know in the comments below or drop me a note at [email protected].

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