E-Bikes on Team Evesham Rides
E-bikes will be allowed to join Team Evesham rides with certain exceptions, requirements and obligations that are assumed to be agreed to by the rider when riding. These include:
- E-Bike Type: ONLY Class I e-bikes (per NJ law) will be allowed. These are pedal assist bikes where the motor only provides assistance when pedaling and has an appropriately restricted motor (20 mph limit). Other types are NOT allowed.
- Experience with your bike: Like any bike, before joining a group ride, you are expected to ride your bike to a level of comfort with how it feels, acts, brakes, handles, etc.
- Experience and rider skill level: E-bike riders may join groups that are equal to or less in speed to a pace where they have demonstrated their ability to ride safely or would ride if using a pedal only bike. E-bikes are NOT to be used to move up in ride class (from B to B+ for example) unless and until a rider demonstrates their ability to do so safely.
- Ride leader authority: While it is the e-bike rider’s responsibility to assess their conformance with all Team Evesham requirements before joining a ride, they must satisfy the ride leader of same. Team Evesham ride leaders have the authority to ask a rider to ride at the back of the group or with a different group if they have any concern that a rider’s skills are not compatible with the ride they are joining.
- Group riding and pace: New E-bike riders will be asked to initially stay to the back of the group until, and unless, their skill level is demonstrated to the ride leader for that pace group. Being able to ride at a faster pace does not change the expectation that you will ride at the pace of the group, even if that pace is slower than you are capable of riding.
- Faster ride groups: E-bikes will NOT be allowed on A pace rides or above.
- Bike Condition and Maintenance: E-bike riders must take the responsibility to make sure their motor is charged and can handle the length and type of ride they are joining. Should their charge not last for the entire ride the rider accepts the responsibility to manage (or arrange) their return without the expectation that the group will wait or facilitate.
- Other Team Evesham safety rules and requirements: All riders, including e-bike riders, are equally subject to all Team Evesham safe riding guidelines and applicable laws.
- Etiquette: Please appreciate that if you are riding an e-bike, you represent something new to the group and we ask that you take the opportunity to educate. We are all ambassador’s for our sport. Help people understand the new while enjoying the ride.
As Team Evesham incorporates and adapts to the ability of E-bike riders to join our rides, all riders are asked to work with team leadership to make all rides safe and successful, including those with E-bike riders. The above requirements may change as these policies are put into practice.
Some Team Evesham thoughts, questions, and information on E-volving Bikes
Health, wellness, community, and friendship through cycling have been core Team Evesham tenants since its founding. Since then, cycling has grown in popularity and we have evolved to serve our members with more and different types of rides. Team Evesham is now updating our policies and practices to allow e-bikes on our rides.
Why consider E-bikes – they’re not normal bikes?
While E-bikes currently represent only a portion of the bikes sold, their popularity, including among our members, is growing fast. E-bikes can enable aging riders to continue cycling, assist those facing physical challenges with riding, and enable people to participate in longer rides, ride more often, or ride at all.
What is an e-bike?
First, let’s make sure we all have the same understanding of what an “E-bike” is: TE allows ONLY “pedal assist” E-bikes that fit the requirements under NJ law as “Class I. low-speed electric bicycles”. Specifically, Class I E-bikes must have fully operational pedals, can have motor assistance only while the rider is pedaling, and the motor ceases to provide assistance when they stop pedaling and does not assist above a speed of 20 mph (NJ motor vehicle laws, Title 39). These E-bikes are different than those with a throttle or assist without pedaling (Class II) , mopeds, scooters, or similar. This also excludes Class III E-bikes which allow a 28 mph vs 20 mph motor threshold.
E-bikes are subject to the same rules of the road as normal bikes but under NJ law, they may also be subject to further restriction by local municipalities. For example, trails or bike path’s may be designated as “no motorized vehicles” by a locality and this would include E-bikes.
Are e-bikes as safe as pedaled bicycles?
Assuming a bicycle, E-bikes or otherwise, is in good operational condition whether it can be ridden safely or not does not depend on the device – it depends on the rider!
Riding safely is a primary responsibility of each and every rider and E-bikes are no different. Like any cyclist, E-bike riders need to align the speed and types of rides in which they participate with their skills as a rider. With speed, your ability to understand the environment of the road is exponentially more important as riding faster reduces the time you have to react. Door zones, road hazards, actions of other vehicles, all come at you faster and you need to be capable of both recognizing what is happening and reacting to it faster. This applies equally to normal bicycle or E-bike riders and either can be ridden safely if ridden within the capability of the rider.
Even though a beginning or E-bike rider may be capable of reaching the speed of a “B+” ride for example, they should not be embarking on such a ride until their handling and road awareness skills have developed to the point where they can safely manage the challenges of that ride. As E-bikes can assist a rider to move faster than they might be able to on their own, understanding and riding within this limitation is critically important to being a safe rider.
Common misconceptions: Let’s review some common misconceptions about the E-bikes being allowed:
- You don’t have to pedal E-bikes. WRONG – Class I E-bikes have to be pedaled for motor assist.
- E-bikes are not exercise, there is no health benefit to riding them. WRONG – Studies of pedal assist E-bikes go back years and have looked at heart rate and other factors and have shown that yes, it is exercise. It is just easier, similar to an easier setting on a home exercise trainer or spin bike.
- Riding E-bikes is cheating, it’s not fair to others. Well, Team Evesham rides are rides, not races. If you feel this way about E-bikes, do you feel the same way about someone riding with you who has a lighter pedal bike that helps them to go faster? With due respect, If that feeling resonates with you, please consider that you may be missing the point. Regardless of the bike or speed we ride (fast, slow, road, mountain, hybrid) we all share a passion for cycling. In some cases, E-bikes are necessary to help riders gain access to cycling. We all ride at different speeds and exercise to different levels. Should an “A” rider think less of someone who rides at a lower speed? One would hope not. As cyclists, we are often competitive by nature but we are all out to have a good time – an even better time if we can do it together.
- But I learned my skills by spending time getting stronger on the road as a rider. CORRECT and this is the key point we are focused on from the perspective of safety. As riders spend time on the road they gradually get faster and simultaneously develop the skills needed to ride at those faster speeds. There is a direct correlation between rider experience, acquired skill, and the pace at which a rider contributes to, or reduces, the safety of a group. As a result, Team Evesham’s consideration of E-bikes includes conditions and restrictions focused on making sure E-bike riders have the skill levels needed to ride with a certain group at a certain pace and that they are not to use their E-bike to ride in a faster group than what fits their experience and skill.
- I just don’t know if I am comfortable with E-bikes on rides? Guess what, you are not alone – this is new stuff. That said, our goal in considering E-bikes is consistent with our goal of educating people about cycling. E-bikes are new and change is a challenge but embracing that challenge, and educating ourselves about it, may bring more riders out. More riders means more bikes on the road. More bikes on the road helps raise awareness about the benefits of cycling to a broader audience and increases how other road users see us – benefiting everyone.