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Of Course eBikes Are Cheating… But They’re Not At The Same Time.

November 2019

I read an article on The Verge with a Title that said just the opposite of what my initial Title statement says… then went on to show that my Title is right.

Of course eBikes are cheating – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Imagine a middle-aged cyclist, late 40’s.  He’s quite fast, but knows how to enjoy his active recovery days.  His father, meanwhile, is sedentary but not averse to getting off the couch.  He buys an eBike and all of a sudden, straight out of the box, he can ride with his son.

I know this guy.  I ride with him on a regular basis, and you should have heard him talk about riding a bike with his dad.  That’s not cheating.  That’s a small miracle.  That’s using an eBike for good.

How about another case?  An older cyclist who’s begun to slow down decides to buy an eBike so she can keep up with her younger group?  Good Lord, folks, if ever there was a good use for an eBike, that’s it!


No, where we’re going to run into trouble is on Strava, where you’ve got eBike riders trying to pass themselves off as natural cyclists.  This will be your normal braggart who, instead of shaving a few miles off a 30-mile ride to say he came in first, will say that he handed it to the A Group, whilst failing to include that he was on a $17,000 eBike.  Actually, we’d probably have to go with the B Group in our case, because they don’t make an eBike that fast yet.

I actually know a guy like this, only substitute a fully fared bullet trike for the eBike.  He took every local Strava segment there was until a friend flagged him and Strava stripped him of all his KOM’s (rightly so).  Sadly, there are those people out there.  Another friend of mine rode with a guy on a gravel ride a couple of months ago.  Later that day, he noticed the guy on Strava, bragging, “not to toot my own horn, but I was the first one back”… he’d failed to mention that to do so, he shaved seven miles off the ride with a shortcut.

That’s cheating.  Sadly, those people are out there.  While they do, momentarily, piss me off, eventually I get around to feeling sorry for them.  Imagine being so shallow that you’d resort to cheating and lying so you could feel better about yourself.  Friends, that’s sad.  And sick.  People like that need prayers – and that’s a good thing, because I need the practice.


  1. capejohn says:

    I remember calling a friend who got a five speed bike back in the early 60’s a cheater. Times change.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Nice! They certainly do. Funny how little technology changed from the 60’s to the 90’s. I’ve got a ’91 Cannondale 7-speed. Friction shift front down tube derailleur, too.

  2. joliesattic says:

    I consider the idea that a senior can be out there, instead of sitting on a couch whittling his life away, a major plus.

  3. The Omil says:

    Well said. I’m with you – all in favour of them if they get people cycling, or keep people cycling, or get people cycling more …. but I’m shallow enough not to want them on the same ‘everesting’ hall of fame.

  4. We had a guy in our club crash badly, like life changing badly. He’s now back riding with the social group thanks to an eBike. They certainly have their place and in my book, the more people on bikes rather than cars the better (great for commuters who don’t want to arrive a sweaty mess).

    If the fully faired trike is 100% pedal powered, is it still cheating? 🤔

  5. Sue Slaght says:

    I can’t imagine someone passing themselves off on Strava. Good grief.
    I think e-bikes are great for the reasons you have outlined Jim. I know that as I age I will be grateful for them.

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