PDA

View Full Version : Article: "Riding an Electric Bike is NOT Cheating. Here’s the Data to Prove It."



Tim Kelley
01-19-2016, 09:17 AM
http://electricbikereport.com/electric-bike-cheating/

DismalScientist
01-19-2016, 09:39 AM
How does this article show that it is not cheating? It says that he goes 50% more miles with the same effort. Just because he (and perhaps he is in a distinct minority) tends to put out the same instantaneous effort (i.e. at any given moment) whether riding a regular or e-bike, this does not mean that a ride of a given distance does not require more overall effort on a regular bike.

sjclaeys
01-19-2016, 09:43 AM
How does this article show that it is not cheating? It says that he goes 50% more miles with the same effort. Just because he (and perhaps he is in a distinct minority) tends to put out the same instantaneous effort (i.e. at any given moment) whether riding a regular or e-bike, this does not mean that a ride of a given distance does not require more overall effort on a regular bike.

What he says. Also, I highly doubt that the guy on the ebike who zipped past me on the 14th Street bridge this morning while I was fighting against the wind was putting out the same power as I was. At least this time he was kind enough to call his pass.

lordofthemark
01-19-2016, 09:49 AM
What does cheating mean in the context of a commute?

dasgeh
01-19-2016, 09:50 AM
How does this article show that it is not cheating? It says that he goes 50% more miles with the same effort. Just because he (and perhaps he is in a distinct minority) tends to put out the same instantaneous effort (i.e. at any given moment) whether riding a regular or e-bike, this does not mean that a ride of a given distance does not require more overall effort on a regular bike.

It's all BS. If going faster or farther with the same effort is cheating, then Tim Kelley is cheating every time he gets on a bike. Ben King is cheating more.

DismalScientist
01-19-2016, 10:07 AM
What does cheating mean in the context of a commute?

It means you can get to work in one third less time and with one third less overall physical effort.

DismalScientist
01-19-2016, 10:09 AM
It's all BS. If going faster or farther with the same effort is cheating, then Tim Kelley is cheating every time he gets on a bike. Ben King is cheating more.

All winners of physical contests are cheaters by definition? It's a brave new world we are entering.:rolleyes:

consularrider
01-19-2016, 10:10 AM
It means you can get to work in one third less time and with one third less overall physical effort.

And that's "cheating" how [unless of course you really don't want to get to work in any big hurry]?

consularrider
01-19-2016, 10:11 AM
All winners of physical contests are cheaters by definition? It's a brave new world we are entering.:rolleyes:

So, you gotta love handicapped thoroughbred horse racing? :p

huskerdont
01-19-2016, 10:14 AM
It's cheating if you call it a bike; it's not cheating if you call it a moped.

Or whatever.

Depends on my mood.

lordofthemark
01-19-2016, 10:15 AM
It means you can get to work in one third less time and with one third less overall physical effort.

So everyone who is bike commuting on anything other than a youth sized Road Master Ultra Terrain Extreme is cheating?

TwoWheelsDC
01-19-2016, 10:16 AM
His average watts may be the same, but his total work in kJ is going to be quite a bit lower for a given ride on the ebike, simply because he gets to his destination much quicker.

So if my math is right...on the ebike the ride = 176W (average power) x 1.8 (hours on ebike) = ~1140kJ total work. On the Cervelo, that number is 177W x 2.61 hours, which = 1663kJ. So almost 50% more work for a ride of the same intensity over the same distance. That's a significant boost he's getting from the electric motor. Obviously not "cheating", but he seems to think that he's getting the same workout since he's doing the same intensity, which is absolutely false.

DismalScientist
01-19-2016, 10:21 AM
And that's "cheating" how [unless of course you really don't want to get to work in any big hurry]?

It's "cheating" if your commute is simultaneously counting for mileage in a winter cycling challenge based on mileage.:rolleyes:

Furthermore, it's "cheating" if you simultaneously claim that you are working as hard as a rider on a regular bicycle.

None of this constitutes a criticism of e-bikes.

DismalScientist
01-19-2016, 10:25 AM
So everyone who is bike commuting on anything other than a youth sized Road Master Ultra Terrain Extreme is cheating?

Of course not. Anyone riding a bike that better than MY bike is cheating.:rolleyes:

wheels&wings
01-19-2016, 11:31 AM
Bicycle commuting spans a huge range in terms of effort per mile, with an unloaded, un-pedaled e-assist bike near one end and perhaps Rod’s extreme cargo rides on the other. Nobody calls higher-end road bikes and racing bikes “cheaters” and yet I expect they are advantageous for long distances. My bike is on the heavier end (30 lb mountain trek), though I hope to acquire a bike that’s more toward the fast side of the spectrum when my office moves north next month. I’d agree with the author that you can get a good workout on anything. But it’s not an even playing field. Bicycle commuting was never meant to be.

Steve O
01-19-2016, 12:30 PM
Bicycle commuting was never meant to be.

Don't let Courtland Milloy get a hold of that quote out of context.

Steve O
01-19-2016, 12:39 PM
What does cheating mean in the context of a commute?

On days when I see the cars all backed up on the GWMP or I-66, I feel like the cheater.


And it feels good.

Crickey7
01-19-2016, 01:50 PM
I would have regarded the 15 mph tailwind this morning as "cheating" if it didn't come with a promise of an equivalent handicap tonight.

bobco85
01-19-2016, 01:57 PM
I find the article slightly amusing in that it tries to say that using electric assist in one's commute is not cheating yet collects data that shows that electric assist, um, "assists" which falls somewhat against their argument. Mind you, this is on a pro-electric bicycle website, so bias also is involved.

I have 2 issues with the article.

First, while the article promotes that one can get exercise with an electric bicycle, it does not state that one gets less exercise when using the electric assist. Now, this should be obvious, but the way the data are presented could lead one to think that the exercise is equivalent (similar average heart rate, similar # of watts) when the important factor to both is time (to which the person says they "weren't destroying [their] body with over training").

Second, I think the article misses its own point. If the author wanted to say that electric bicycles can still provide a useful workout, they should have just stated that at the start. Instead, they focus on what comes down to bragging rights. Cheating would mean there's some sort of gain of an unfair advantage during a competition which commuting is not.

But, if you want to figure out bragging rights in regards to commuting, here's a handy unofficial chart (greater means has more bragging rights):


longer distance > shorter distance (obviously)
with the elements > in an enclosed box
commuting method: kayaking/canoeing/hanggliding/etc. extremes > running > biking > walking > telecommuting > carpool > public transportation > driving > taxi
biking: trailer/bakfiets with kids > trailer/bakfiets > unicycle > fixie > geared bike > some electric assist > only motor powered
bike repairs: fashioning a permanent bike part from scratch/junk > MacGyvering a temporary solution to a broken part > helping a fellow cyclist with a repair > major repair > flat tire change > chain/brake/shifter adjustment > no issues whatsoever > mild complaining > whining
weather conditions: measurement of one's coworkers at the news that one commuted (measure how agape the mouthes are open, how wide the eyes get, and length of the gasp)


Given this chart, it should be clear to everyone that everyone who commuted today in the cold and windy weather on electric bikes have just about as much to brag about those who did not use electric assist when compared to the larger population.

dasgeh
01-19-2016, 02:16 PM
biking: trailer/bakfiets with kids > trailer/bakfiets > unicycle > fixie > geared bike > some electric assist > only motor powered


Hmmmm. I find myself at two differing points on this list. I broke the bragging rights

bobco85
01-20-2016, 08:32 AM
Hmmmm. I find myself at two differing points on this list. I broke the bragging rights
I'd say the utility trumps the "cheating"; maybe that's why the forum is so split on whether your bike should be revered or reviled when it comes to riding on trails!

cvcalhoun
01-20-2016, 08:48 PM
I'd say the utility trumps the "cheating"; maybe that's why the forum is so split on whether your bike should be revered or reviled when it comes to riding on trails!

That's the thing about e-bikes. They are expensive enough that people don't buy them just to win at Freezing Saddles. Typically, the people who own them are using heavy bikes, carrying a lot of kids and/or stuff, or negotiating big hills on a regular basis. Either that, or they are about 90 years old. So the comparison between a regular bike and an e-bike of the same weight going the same speed over the same distance is pretty much meaningless. For the vast majority of our e-bike riders, the utility trumps the "cheating."