Les and Maury: The Downside of e-Bikes as Equalizers

E-bikes have been touted for their equalizing effect in a couple of ways. First, a weaker rider can keep up with stronger riders on an e-bike. Secondly, an e-bike helps the rider do his/her commute and errands faster than on a non-powered bike–in some contexts, equaling toward the speed of errands and commuting by car.

But imagine two guys about the same age who start using e-bikes at the same time. The first guy had been a bike commuter, and is in pretty good shape. We’ll call him, Les Pedaler. The second guy was out of shape and pretty sedentary before he started commuting on an e-bike. Let’s call him Maury Movington.

All other lifestyle factors being equal, wouldn’t you expect over time that their respective physical conditions would converge until they were about the same? This is great for Maury, but not so great for Les.

Les and Maury

In this scenario, I’m Les. I’ve been testing (and defending) e-bikes for awhile as part of Commute by Bike’s J.O.Y.B.A.G.รขโ€žยข project. It’s a tough job, but someone’s…

Actually, that part of my job is not tough. It’s really pretty soft. My commute is pretty short–less than three miles unless I go out of my way to lengthen it.

I can already feel the pounds moving in like happy parasites. I’m going to have to start running again.

Crap.

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