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The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.


Postby gaffr » Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:27 pm

Maybe I gave missed any thoughts from folks on here regarding the use of the electrically assisted bikes. Up till now when i see a post perhaps saying ...a Munro using an off road bike...up till now I think we all realised that the bike was used for, as I do use a bike, to reach the walking part of the day out using the bike...e.g. the track up into Glen Einich and many others.
Nowadays the words using a bike could well mean that the bike has been used for the entire trip. I have come across on a couple of occasions the unassisted bikes in the Sgor Gaoith area, on the approach to Mullach Clach a' Bhlair and once on the Cairngorm plateau. My thoughts at the times of these meetings were well I couldn't do that.
I don't know much about the electric ones and from my encounters on the trails that I use these folks using them are out of sight within a short time and old folks on them are just flying which is brilliant for them perhaps having giving up on biking as the years advanced.
What I am trying to say...is there some written stuff, that I may have missed, by the Mountaineering Scotland discussing this? or what are the thoughts from WH. Am I right in saying that the number of folks registered with WH now exceeds the numbers affiliated to Mountaineering Scotland?
Another though is that perhaps the easy hills to reach with the new bikes are those where the most delicate high level plant life will be affected. I have heard folks say that 'we only use the existing paths on the hills' but is everyone going to keep to this approach?
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby AyrshireAlps » Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:40 pm

What I am trying to say..


I'm not really sure what your trying to say either.

Tbh it's actually more difficult to get an ebike up onto most munros, your standard 160mm Enduro bike is generally around 30lb-ish, ebikes are 20lb more than that. I'll quite happily carry my bike up a steep rocky path to ride back down it, but with the extra weight of an ebike, that's not happening. Sgor Gaoith frinstance is a good candidate, as you can pedal all the way to the top, Binnien Mor ain't happening. So, there's actually less mountains that are appealing with assisted bikes.

I'm a responsible biker, always have been, I'll cede to walkers, don't fly up behind folk etc. But there are dicks on bikes, same as there are dicks on foot and in cars, c'est la vie.

In terms of high level plant life, folk on foot are way more likely to go off path on the tops, it's no exactly great fun pedalling across soggy grass or heather.

Mountaineering Scotland wouldn't discuss this as it's part of our access rights in Scotland, I'd imagine.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby ChrisButch » Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:00 pm

Just on the general bikes and wildlife damage/erosion point - it's far from clear that a single bike is more damaging than a single pair of boots. It depends so much on the terrain, weather conditions and other factors. In some circumstances, although the overall weight is obviously greater, the rolling impact of a bike spread over the large 'footprint' of wide low-pressure tyres is less than the striking impact of the whole bodyweight on the heel of a single booted foot.
Much more significant is the total numbers of either or both using the same route. It's the longstanding dilemma of promotion vs overuse.
When mountain bikes took off in the 90s, some hillwalking ultras vehemently opposed any kind of mechanical aid in the hills. I remember a particularly unforgiving article by Richard Gilbert on the subject. They either were unaware, or chose to ignore, the fact that 'rough-stuff' cyclists had been tackling the glens and passes (and sometimes the tops) for as long as mountain walking had been a significant leisure activity (from the late 19th century) and had, for instance made a significant contribution to the development of the MBA.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby WeeHills » Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:26 pm

I have an e-bike, not of the mountain bike variety but a big comfy dutch style commuter. In my view e-bikes really don't make any difference in terms of where is or is not accessible on two wheels, beyond the already made point that they weigh more so are less suited to any carrying (mine weighs in at 25kg). I do think the assistance they offer may lead to more people being able to access hills with long walk/cycle ins so there is potential for more erosion on existing tracks but they're not going to get you anywhere you couldn't access by bike already if that makes sense.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby WalkWithWallace » Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:42 pm

The vast majority of people use bikes (and ebikes) to approach the hills and will stash/lock them at the end of the track/foot of the hill. Don't think it's anything to be concerned about. 8)
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby aniolare » Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:26 pm

I don't think conventional ebikes are much of a problem. Their impact isn't much more than a regular bike. You can go further but because of their weight and battery life their utility is a little limited.

What worries me a little more is that I've seen a couple of ebikes around that are rapidly beginning to look a lot more like dirtbikes, or have much larger motors and hand throttles. I've mostly seen them used in cities but hypothetically if they became more common they could become a problem on the hills.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby CharlesT » Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:40 pm

aniolare wrote:I don't think conventional ebikes are much of a problem. Their impact isn't much more than a regular bike. You can go further but because of their weight and battery life their utility is a little limited.

What worries me a little more is that I've seen a couple of ebikes around that are rapidly beginning to look a lot more like dirtbikes, or have much larger motors and hand throttles. I've mostly seen them used in cities but hypothetically if they became more common they could become a problem on the hills.


I saw an e bike yesterday with very large profile tyres, about to enter a footpath. Looked more like trail bike tyres than mtb and I did think they might inflict more damage, particularly on wet terrain. BTW there are electric trail bikes and trail bike like e bikes. They are not cheap and I don't think they would be the chosen mode of transport for baggers, not least as leaving them at the foot of a hill might be just too tempting to the light-fingered. I suppose an advantage of them if they are bought instead of a noisy and smelly two-stroke, is they would be a lot quieter and cleaner, the bikes that is, not the riders.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby Robert Haynes » Fri Aug 13, 2021 5:01 pm

aniolare wrote:What worries me a little more is that I've seen a couple of ebikes around that are rapidly beginning to look a lot more like dirtbikes, or have much larger motors and hand throttles. I've mostly seen them used in cities but hypothetically if they became more common they could become a problem on the hills.

E-bikes are limited in power (250 W) and speed (25 km/h), and must have pedal assist instead of a hand throttle.

If any of those conditions aren't met, legally you've just got an (electric) motorbike, and it need to be registered, taxed and insured accordingly. There appear to be a reasonable number that are none of those things, but they're illegal and can be seized by the police.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby AyrshireAlps » Fri Aug 13, 2021 5:06 pm

. about to enter a footpath


Is there such a thing?

As above, IMBA did a large piece of research many years ago, concluding that bikes caused no more erosion than footsteps. The ramblers met this with vehement derision, but they were biased, and you could say the same thing about IMBA, so we called it a draw. 😂
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby CharlesT » Fri Aug 13, 2021 5:17 pm

AyrshireAlps wrote:
. about to enter a footpath


Is there such a thing?

I offer a definition, for your enlightenment.
A footpath (also pedestrian way, walking trail, nature trail) is a type of thoroughfare that is intended for use only by pedestrians and not other forms of traffic such as motorized vehicles, cycles, and horses. They can be found in a wide variety of places, from the centre of cities, to farmland, to mountain ridges.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby ChrisButch » Fri Aug 13, 2021 8:01 pm

Robert Haynes wrote:If any of those conditions aren't met, legally you've just got an (electric) motorbike, and it need to be registered, taxed and insured accordingly. There appear to be a reasonable number that are none of those things, but they're illegal and can be seized by the police.


That's true, but only if it's used on a public road, which is not what's under discussion.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby aniolare » Fri Aug 13, 2021 8:34 pm

ChrisButch wrote:
Robert Haynes wrote:If any of those conditions aren't met, legally you've just got an (electric) motorbike, and it need to be registered, taxed and insured accordingly. There appear to be a reasonable number that are none of those things, but they're illegal and can be seized by the police.


That's true, but only if it's used on a public road, which is not what's under discussion.

Presumably off a public road, the legal situation would be similar to if someone brought an unregistered motorbike onto a footpath or estate road.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby AyrshireAlps » Fri Aug 13, 2021 8:43 pm

You can enlighten all you want Charles, but without any legal standing, it's a pointless definition sir.
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby gaffr » Sat Aug 14, 2021 7:41 am

In the recent Kerin bike-race held in the indoor stadium at the Tokyo games an electric assisted bike was used to get the race speed up to fifty Kls. per hour before retiring from the track to allow the sprinters to fight it out for the medal. :)
These bikes don't appear to produce a working noise and could these 'bad boys' make an appearance in the hill areas. :wink:
The price of these must be much greater than the £2,000-£12,500 that I have seen to own one of the current crop of assisted bikes that I have come across. :lol:
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Re: The use of the assisted bikes on the hills.

Postby AyrshireAlps » Sat Aug 14, 2021 9:45 am

Derny bikes have been in use in track cycling for decades, they used to be ICE powered, they weren't an issue in the hills either.
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