Advocating for safe places to ride bicycles does not usually produce results overnight. In fact, I would say it can takes years and even decades to see the results. I'm not one who usually likes waiting to see results, so this personally is teaching me some patience. But looking back over the last 10 years, I can see the fruit of our labor. Things are getting done. Of course, having safe places to ride is only one part of the equation.
This past week I had an opportunity to speak in front of a great group of people who are directly involved with our state-wide trail network at the annual Michigan Parks and Rec conference held this year in Grand Rapids. The discussion centered on the emergence of electric assist bicycles (ebikes) and how to safely incorporate them into the existing and future trail system. With anything new and unfamiliar there usually is plenty of hesitation, so I tried to separate fact from fiction and bring a fresh voice to the discussion. In our stores and at demo events, we have seen the positive reaction that this fairly new form of transportation brings to the broader public. These are some of the key points that were discussed:
Ebikes come in all shapes and sizes for many different uses including recreational, commuting and trail use
- Ebikes allow more people to enjoy cycling no matter what age or ability
- They are safe to ride and can provide a perfect balance between exercise and transportation.
- They are not motorcycles and can integrate very well on the road, on paths and on trails
- People using ebikes to commute to work or shop locally will reduce auto congestion
- Ebikes are incredibly fun to ride and are guaranteed to put a smile on your face
More people on bikes and safe places to ride them benefits our local communities in many ways including healthier populations, growth in downtown areas, reduced traffic congestion and more visibility for what is ultimately a great activity.
Even if you are not in the market for one, if you are curious about ebikes and what they are really about I encourage you to stop by one of our locations and test ride a bike. A customer came back from a test ride the other day with a huge smile on his face and exclaimed, “That made me feel like I was on my best bike ride ever.” I could not have said it better.
Michael Reuter, CEO
American Cycle & Fitness