BREVARD, N.C. (BRAIN) — As a former professional, Chris Carmichael understands the mentality of the competitive cyclist and is well aware of the ire e-bikes spark among some of his brethren. Nevertheless, the CEO of Carmichael Training Systems felt it was time to write about the electric bikes’ positives.
After 37 comments and counting on his June 22 blog post 7 Reasons Analog Cyclists Should Embrace E-bikes Carmichael confidently can say the topic generated the most engagement of all his previous posts.
While most readers agreed with Carmichael, a few didn’t. Negative comments included the position that they’re a symbol of the softening of society; they’re on the same level as mobility scooters; and they’re motorized vehicles and therefore should not be allowed in bike lanes.
“I understand it,” Carmichael told BRAIN. “When someone passes you, especially if you’re a hardcore cyclist, you know they couldn’t do that if they were on a regular bike. It’s an ego adjustment. If anyone wants to put it as anything else, it’s not. It’s just an ego adjustment.”
Of the seven reasons, Carmichael said the most important is it makes cycling more inclusive.
“Getting more people out there on bikes, raising the visibility, is going to add to more safety measures,” he said. “It brings more people into the sport.”
CTS holds several training camps each year, and Carmichael said he is contemplating ways to incorporate e-bikes into the excursions.
“We’ve had some of our athletes ask us that they would like to have their spouse join them. We absolutely see incorporating e-bikes into our camps.”
Carmichael said the only downsides to e-bikes are battery life and some public lands laws regarding motorized bikes.
“But the positives in my view really outweigh the negatives,” he said. “It’s a breath of fresh air to the cycling industry. We need it. We’ve seen sales declining. Why not? People who would never be able to join in on a ride are now doing it. That’s super cool!”
Regarding e-mountain bikes, Carmichael said Europe has welcomed them more readily than the U.S. “It takes a while for the laws to get with this new technology. I think the regulations right now are behind the technology. An e-bike is not much different in any sense than a regular mountain bike. It needs to be examined.”
While he doesn’t own an e-bike, Carmichael, 59, said he’s tried one (a Pinarello) and was impressed. “I’m coming up on 60 years old. There’s going to be a point when I’m going to have to make an adjustment.
“It gave me a little sense of freedom. That’s one of the things that everyone connects with is that sense of freedom.”