Just what the e-doctor ordered

I’m shocked, shocked, that some people seem to believe that e-bikes are the modern equivalent of the philosopher’s stone.

This just in: E-bikes cure* Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, post-nasal drip, gout, piles, dandruff, denture breath, and the heartbreak of psoriasis (Christ, you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy, c’mon, c’mon).

* You will note the caveat buried deep in the piece: “(A)ttaining these health benefits requires tackling the problem of poor street design and infrastructure in America. Everything from high speed limits to wide roads to light timing that prioritizes the flow of vehicles poses a threat to older people walking in their communities … and also creates barriers to people participating in cycling.”

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30 Responses to “Just what the e-doctor ordered”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    I guess the gravel bike market is saturated. On to selling e-bikes. Of course, they only provide health benefits to owners if you pedal the damn things.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      And if you don’t get door-jammed, run over, or shot.

      • JG Says:

        And – as stated in the article regarding AARPers acceptance of autonomous vehicles – “AARP found that 88% of seniors are unwilling to ride in them, citing safety concerns.” I think that fear factor may trickle to e-bikes. I’ve also had to help a senior or two lift one of the damn motorcycles onto their bike rack…

        • Steve O’ Says:

          Interesting stat, cuz I saw half a dozen blue hairs and grey beards getting fitted for one this weekend. Upright models with solid racks. Can only guess, assume, and speculate, but looked like no pretense of pursuing fitness, just something to go from the assisted living townhouse to the tennis court and back, or maybe to bridge and square dancing class. Good on them. Again, you can pull that off around here, at least for a few more years.

          I’ll throw this out here: those hover boards were impractical and overpriced when they first came out, and they couldn’t keep them on the shelves. If they can get the price down on the E bikes, kids will have no problem embracing them, and at some point, will look at a bike without a battery as being the oddball.

          Gots to be some BRAIN numbers out there … dept store bikes are what percentage of sales? Most bikes are used for getting to the fishing hole or the club house, not for fitness, racing, or even urban commuting. Get the e-bike down to $500, and there are a few million K-5 kids waiting for one.

          • Dale Says:

            I take exception to the “blue hairs and grey beards ” comment. I am a grey hair and beard guy and my wife has beautiful grey hair and a damn good body for a 68 year old.

            We walk a few miles nearly every day, ride bikes around town, mow our own lawn, do our own gardening, clean our own gutters, as well as other shit that a lot of our younger neighbors decline to do.

            Just sayin’.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I’m not sure I agree. The bike biz is terrible about stats, but for sure big boxes sell most bikes. They’re cheap, badly assembled (at a per-bike rate), and a lot of “real” shops won’t work on them post-sale.

          I think the e-bikes they sell will suffer from the same shortcomings.

          Plus we have, what, a couple-three generations that didn’t grow up with the bike as a means of transport? Their parents drove them to and from school. So you have to sell them on the activity and the machinery.

          Remember scooters? I’m talking Vespas, Genuine Buddys and Kymcos here, not the cheap toys the vulture capitalists scatter around like birdseed. They were a hot item too until gas prices fell again.

          • SAO' Says:

            Can’t remember who said this, but some futurist said his job was super simple if you stop trying to predict what might happen next and focus instead on what is inevitable.

            Example: Apple watches. No one asked for them, no one needed them. But a tech company just cant help itself from making things small, lighter, faster. So the Watch, like it or not, was inevitable. Even if it ultimately fails, it will be replaced by something else inevitable.

            Gotta think batteries on a bike fall into the inevitable category. There’s no really barrier to the innovation … it’s all stuff that’s already made, and the only trick is getting the package right and costs down.

            I think the fact that real bike shops won’t service department store bikes, and yet department store bikes still rule, speaks loudly and clearly about whether bike maintenance is a factor in the success of e-bikes.

            Made it a point to count heads this morning at K-5 drop off. 500 kids, and 55 bikes on the playground bike rack. (Plus another 25 scooters, so 10% not driving to school, that’s a pretty good number these days.) Only one e-bike … but five moms and dads dropping off their kids on one. And I’m pretty sure there are 2-3 middle schoolers who pick up their little bros and sisses on one. Again, we’re a weird town, and I live in Teslaville these days, so early adoption of a failed idea ain’t nothing new here.

            You know, if one person, just one person rides to school on an e-bike, they may think he’s really sick and they won’t want to buy one.
            And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both weirdos. and they still won’t want to buy one.
            And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people riding to school on an e-bike? They may think it’s an organization.

            And can you, can you imagine, fifty people a day, I said
            fifty people a day riding to school on an e-bike? Friends, they may thinks it’s a movement.

          • Hurben Says:

            Sao, great idea & afterwards they could head down here & have a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat.

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            Great catch Hurben!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Exactly right.

        Something else to consider: Our Italian connection Don Lorenzo has approved e-bikes as auto replacements. But without an auto, how does an Old get the e-bike to the shop when it breaks down? Hail an Uber? We Olds don’t trust that Uber feller neither. Call your offspring? I ain’t got one a them. They’re more expensive than e-bikes, even when they live in your garage after graduating with a Ph.D in medieval poetry. Ring up the mobile repair service? What if there isn’t one in your community, and anyway, that sonofabitch looks like a terrorist hippie to me.

        I’m still waiting to hear the definitive reason for buying an e-bike. I’m not sure there is one.

        • SAO’ Says:

          // I’m still waiting to hear the definitive reason for buying an e-bike. I’m not sure there is one. //

          Not sure “reason” has ever had a place in most consumer decisions. $5 coffee? Bottled tap water? The entire toy section at Target? Skinny jeans?

          • JD Dallager Says:

            I’m onboard w/SAO’s thoughts and data. Need has never out-trumped the “want” and “coolness/new” factors. That’s what free market marketing folks do for a living…..create a “want” we never knew we had. (And as an aside, it creates a LOT of jobs! 🙂 )

            Think about a simplified tax law…….a 10 week US presidential/elected officials campaign restriction, etc. How many folks would be unemployed or seeking new lines of work if those changes were made??

            Re the sweat equity thought: Our community fire mitigation committee averages 73 years of age and we do all the cutting/trimming/lifting/hauling/etc. as part of our “whole body workout regimen”. NOTE PLEASE: Our use of Advil may be record setting!!! 🙂

            Fortunately, or wisely, or “fill in the blank”, most of us use muscle, discipline, intelligence, sweat equity, and commitment to improve our community. I vote for and will continue to engage in the community improvement efforts! 🙂

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            Reason or need? There are a ton of reasons, most of them related to the fact that Mr. Jones down the street has one. Need is a whole ‘nuther thang. If someone “needs” another fossil-fueled vehicle and gets an E-bike instead they’re a hero IMHO. If they get one of these “cycling viagra” bicycles to replace a perfectly good one you have to pedal, not so much. But the bike biz and bike advocates need to ditch the idea that people on E-bikes are cyclists and somehow will benefit us! They won’t. Once you motorize the thing, they person on it becomes just another motorist, no matter how many wheels the thing has.

        • SAO' Says:

          //But without an auto, how does an Old get the e-bike to the shop when it breaks down?//

          You’re looking at that from a real bike dude perspective. I’m betting 95% of traditional bikes are owned by people who can’t change a tire. Batteries are just one more layer on top of an already decipherable problem, for most folks.

          I won’t throw out any names, but there’s a tech podcast hosted by a bunch of coding geniuses, and this guy who has sold two start ups and runs an indy software dev company was bragging that he couldn’t change a tire and how he hauled his bike in his Tesla Model S to the LBS for a new tube.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            Or get their Real Bike Dude® friend to fix it.

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            I’d fix his flat for $200, and he would be stupid enough to pay it. These Zucks and other new money dudes get used to being rich real quick. And, then they wonder why the old money dudes don’t like or respect them. There are a few exception, very few.

        • khal spencer Says:

          “Reason?” You mean manufactured reason, i.e., marketing, right? I’m still trying to figure out why I need a “gravel bike” alongside a ‘cross bike. And with all due respect to the check I send to Adventure Cycling every year, some of that stuff looks pretty niche market as well but so too, I suppose is Adventure Cycling. Besides, AC still puts some kibble in the dog dish of a friend of mine in Albuquerque.

          I could get behind e-bikes if they can be used as low carbon real transportation replacing a ton or two of vehicle. But as you said earlier, that has to wait until we create infrastructure that doesn’t result in you and your e-bike being mashed under an Urban Assault Vehicle or ridden on the sidewalk to terrorize pedestrians. Sure, its better, energy wise, for those trips where one really doesn’t need the Ford Excretion. But until the infrastructure catches up with the idea, these are just another toy.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          I think they’ll do the same thing they’d do with their car – call a tow truck and have it hauled off to the shop. E-bike shops will need a vehicle (how cool if it too was electric?) with a hydraulic rear rack or van with a loading ramp to transport them back and forth.
          I doubt these things will have a lot of success at the big-box stores (not in actual sales but whether they get used much or repaired if they do get used and conk out) but the moto makers (and perhaps the car folks too?) will soon be all over ’em, gobbling up the market from the bicycle shops now looking at them as the newest-latest business saving idea.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I think you’re right about the moto/auto folks. These things are basically mopeds, and that lot can use e-bikes as a gateway drug for their e-cars, which are not exactly selling like the proverbial hotcakes.

          AAA says only 16 percent of Americans say they’re likely to buy an e-rig next time they’re car shopping, down from last year’s 20 percent.

          As usual, the Youngs are more open to the concept, while we Olds are skeptical.

          Here are some stats from the AAA survey (phone, cell and landline, 1,000 adults 18 and older) to amuse you:

          Adoption barriers

          • 58 percent are concerned there are not enough places to charge.
          • 57 percent are concerned they will run out of charge while driving.
          • 47 percent believe the range is not suitable for long-distance travel.
          • Four in 10 consumers who are unlikely to buy an electric vehicle would consider buying one if gas prices rise. Still, fuel would need to cost at least $5 per gallon to have a sizable impact on consideration.
          • As gas prices rise, Milennials are more likely than Generation X and Baby Boomers to change their mind and consider buying an electric vehicle.

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            Motor vehicle fuel is already around $10 per gallon here in Italy and electric and hybrid vehicles are about all we see on the TV ads. As to not enough charging stations, the garage wall is always available. Long-distance? One of those “not that you would, but you could” questions as especially old farts aren’t piling in the Chevy Subdivision and going cross-country. By the time the battery swap or quick-charge tech is widely available they’ll be dead, so long-range isn’t a real excuse not-to-buy either. We’re just going to avoid buying anything and rent/lease instead. Toyota Hybrids are the official cars of the 2019 Giro d’Italia.

  2. SAO’D Says:

    “Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur?”

    ~ somebody somewhere a long time ago

    • SAO’D Says:

      “Variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles rather than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft. Give me a fixed gear.”
      ~ Same Guy, prolly

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    CBD oil will fix it all up. Call Floyd Landis. He can hook you up. Plus we need mountain Ebikes. Pretty soon that is all that will be usable on US roads and streets.

    • JD Dallager Says:

      Pat, me Boyo: We already have mountain Ebikes……..lots of them!!

      One of the many issues of “trail conflict” (pedestrians, horses, dogs, MTB’ers, hikers, Ebikers, et al) is “should Ebikes be allowed on trails……how to regulate”…etc.

      Nothing new here in my view……..Competition for scarce resources weeds out the unfit, eh??!! 🙂

      OR……. motivates “doers” to create the opportunity and access.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Hi JD. I should have said more mountain Ebikes. The point I was trying to make is that the roads are getting so bad, in AZ anyway, that soon you will need a mountain bike to road ride. Obviously, I didn’t make it well.
        By the way, I haven’t seen any Ebikes on our local trails, and hope I don’t. I consider them, for trail use anyway, motorized vehicles not bicycles.

  4. Libby Says:

    I enjoyed Step Right Up and let YouTube play on. Tom is a hoot in his interviews.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      He’s quick with the quip, for sure. Terry “Fresh Air” Gross didn’t quite know what to make of him (nor he her, for that matter). There’s a lot going on between his ears and sometimes it comes out music.

      There’s a Wit & Wisdom section on his website that’s worth a peek.

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