Ever since Magura USA became the U.S. service provider for Bosch eBike systems, the pedal assist bikes have been a part of their press camp in one way or another. Of course, eBikes are not allowed on most of Sedona’s trails so there have been creative ways to get the e-xperience – from riding dirt roads, moto trails, and even races on one of the local golf courses. While the tag team human powered mountain bike/eMTB race was a huge amount of fun, the bigger takeaway from camp this year was the discussion about eBike controversy that Bosch facilitated with a discussion panel spanning from full eBike supporter to the opposite end of the spectrum. Even though it didn’t result in an immediate decision to the place of eBikes in the world, the ability to have a civil conversation about the pros and cons seemed like a huge step forward, and something the industry should be doing more often.
For the second camp session which I was attending, Bosch’s Marketing Manager Jonathan Weinert selected three individuals to be a part of the panel. In this case that meant Tony Donaldson, the editor of Electric Bike Action, Patrick Traylor who is an Inventory Analyst at JensonUSA, and Brian Riepe, the editor of Mountain Flyer. Each had their own experience and motivations for their stance on eBikes and regardless of their position, it seemed like a very open, honest discussion on where eBikes (specifically eMTBs) should exist or continue to exist. Hopefully more of this type of constructive, mature dialog will continue in the industry as we continue to figure out how eBikes fit into the cycling landscape.