E-bikes allowed during endurance race
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.
Cyclist and bicycle shop owner James Smith thinks adding an electric category is a good idea.