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Perspectives

E as in Excluded: With the E-Mountainbike among Self Pedallers

  • Joscha Thieringer
  • October 1, 2019

When Herbert and Gisela, both in their mid-60s, comfortably ride their e-mountainbikes up the forest road to the alp, nobody is surprised anymore. But what happens when you're only in your mid-30s and the only one in the group to switch to E-MTB? Our author dared to try it on his own.


"Five beer and..." - my friend, who tries to be a joker when ordering this drink, points to me - "a water for the guy with the E-Mountainbike". Hahaha, the four others from our group jeer. As the only E-Mountainbiker among all self pedallers I am an easy target. I can tell by our first stop.

It's an experiment. How do you treat someone who doesn't get on an electric mountain bike for reasons of age, frailty or obesity? I don't look really fit, but a real competitive disadvantage can't be discerned at first glance.

 

Ramp? I didn't notice anything. My friends apparently did ...
Ramp? I didn't notice anything. My friends apparently did ...
Image credit: privat

E-Mountainbikers don't have many friends

For the trip with my five mountain friends I borrowed a Scott Strike eRide 910, an extremely chic mountain bike with 29-inch tires, which has a new price of 6,000 euros. And with an electric motor that, with its 250-watt support, makes climbing uphill a pure pleasure. It could. If the others in the group wouldn't moan and sweat so reproachfully on their "normal" MTBs.

I know what it's like myself: When the tenth ramp builds up in front of me after the ninth ramp, I even curse the butterfly that crosses the road with such a stupid flutter. Simply everything and everyone whose head does not threaten to explode with effort. And even more the idiotic E-Mountainbiker, who doesn't even have his sun cream and sweat in his eye.

 

The Scott Strike eRide 910 enhanced my experience
The Scott Strike eRide 910 enhanced my experience
Image credit: privat
Stupid sayings, which of course lie on my lips, I prefer to refrain from completely. My helmet would probably do nothing against the reactions of my mountain friends.

Just shut up.

So my most important and first insight as an e-mountainbiker in a group of groaning self-climbing pedallers is: just don't stand out. Keep in the background and occasionally quietly mention that the electric motor at lowest level most probably only compensates for the weight disadvantage - my bike weighs about 24 kilos. That I switched from "Eco" to "Tour" at the last ramp secretly: Shhhhh!

Stupid sayings, which of course lie on my lips ("Are you sweating yet?", "Enjoy the beautiful view!"), I prefer to refrain from completely. My helmet would probably do nothing against the reactions of my mountain friends.

"E as in easy", yeah, that's fair to say. But keep "E like excluded" too. Even though I'm by no means the only e-mountain biker on the Lower Engadine Trails, I think I'm aware that the greetings of the bikers and hikers we meet are less meant for me than for my sweaty friends.

 

My advice to e-bikers among self-pedallers: Always stay discreetly in the background.
My advice to e-bikers among self-pedallers: Always stay discreetly in the background.
Image credit: privat

Acceptance through perseverance - this also applies to E-MTBs

So I'm going to play this role: always stay on the defensive and prefer to make even the silliest joke about my own comfort. In fact, my friends got used to a quietly humming Bosch engine working its way uphill behind them as early as the second day. And on the third evening nobody rolls their eyes any more as I plug the battery to the power supply for charging. Maybe also because they ran out of jokes ("Look here, Joscha is charging his calves at the socket, ha ha")?

After four days, it happens: During our last Lower Engadine day tour I don't really have to listen to a single line about my E-Mountainbike. "Acceptance by Perseverance" - it has once again proven true. And the E now stands for easy again.

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