E-bikes al­lowed dur­ing en­durance race

South Canterbury Herald - - SPORT - ES­THER ASHBY-COVEN­TRY

A com­pet­i­tive cy­clist is not im­pressed that e-bikes will be al­lowed, for the first time, in the Ti­maru Alpine En­ergy 10 Hour Moun­tain Bike race at the Scenic Re­serve on Novem­ber 4.

E-bikes (elec­tric) as­sist the rider ped­alling through a com­pact mo­tor which is mounted near the rear wheel crank or a hub on the front.

South Can­ter­bury Moun­tain Bike Club li­ai­son and con­tes­tant Blair Westoby said the e-bikes were aimed at rid­ers who were not overly com­pe­tent.

‘‘If they (e-bike rider) are do­ing a race like the 10 hour they need to be some­what com­pe­tent,’’ Westoby said.

The 10 hour race, which is in its 13th year, is staged over a fast but chal­leng­ing 9 kilo­me­tre cir­cuit, with teams of up to five rid­ing in a con­tin­u­ous re­lay from 10am un­til 7pm. The team which com­pletes the most laps wins. Solo rid­ers can com­pete in their own cat­e­gory over 10 hours or six hours.

The 10 hour race was a very tech­ni­cal en­durance race, re­quir­ing a high level of fit­ness, he said.

He was con­cerned e-bik­ers may not be fit and could get in the way of other cy­clists and poten- tially fall off or cause ac­ci­dents.

‘‘E-bikes help the less able to get into moun­tain bik­ing but I don’t think they should be in this race.’’

Westoby is com­pet­ing in his fourth 10 hour this year as part of a team.

Cy­clist and cy­cle shop owner James Smith does not think e-bikes de­tract from the huge achieve­ment of rid­ers on man­ual bi­cy­cles.

‘‘It’s awe­some. There’s more peo­ple out rid­ing,’’ Smith said.

He said the e-bikes var­ied in power, with three to five set­tings.

‘‘It’s like get­ting a push on the back go­ing up a hill.’’

Spe­cial Events Ao­raki event man­ager Chris Thomas said he had been asked to in­clude the e-bike cat­e­gory by past com­peti­tors.

Though e-bikes were not as flex­i­ble as man­ual bi­cy­cles, Thomas did not fore­see any prob­lems hav­ing them in the race.

‘‘I don’t know about their com­pe­ten­cies but after a cou­ple of laps they will learn as they go.’’

In the Pass 2 Pub moun­tain bike event, also or­gan­ised by Spe­cial Events Ao­raki, e-bike en­tries were al­lowed for the first time in March. Four e-bik­ers en­tered and fin­ished mid-field, he said.

PHOTO: JOHN BISSET/STUFF

Cy­clist and bi­cy­cle shop owner James Smith thinks adding an elec­tric cat­e­gory is a good idea.

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