E-bikes can be a beneficial addition to a stable, especially for those who might need a little assistance in riding certain distances, or to climb certain hills. They may allow those who enjoy cycling to participate in group activities, may allow family members who are not as strong to keep up with a stronger family member, and may allow a rider coming back from injury or coping with a disability to enjoy group riding.
The following represents the Waterloo Cycling Club policy on e-bikes for all rides. Anyone using an e-bike on club rides must observe the following:
An e-bike will only be allowed when it is used in pedal assist mode. No other types of speed control such as handlebar throttles allowed.
The e-bike must follow the Government of Ontario e-bike specifications.
Those choosing to ride an e-bike need to be fully self sufficient and ensure that their bike is in good working order (as with all members’ bikes) with particular attention to the specific elements of the electric components such as the battery.
Riders are expected to follow the code of conduct for e-bikes.
Code of Conduct
A rider needs to ride within their group riding skill level and accepted group pace level. Eg. A new member just learning to ride in a group should not then ride an intermediate ride simply because the bike allows the pace.
Generally this also means that a rider would not ride faster than the group pace (i.e. “riding off the front) or be at the front of the group a disproportionate amount of time as they may be pushing the pace too high for the rest of the group. Where groups are doing a rotation, regardless of what type of bike they are using, members need to be aware of the pace of the group during their rotation or not participate in the rotation.
Considering that the maximum pedal assist speed of a legal e-bike is 32 kph, fast groups may be too fast as they can exceed this maximum if riders expect the e-bike to keep them at pace. If a rider can reasonably keep pace except for circumstances such as hills where the fast group pace slows then an e-bike in the fast group could be an option.
Riders need to be aware of how their e-bike reacts when the motor kicks in, and should anticipate and control any surges that may happen so that the group is not affected. E-bike riders should leave more than the usual space behind another rider until they are fully comfortable with their e-bike’s motor behaviour.
Riding in an appropriate location within the group and communication will be key elements. This is similar to the communication required when riders stand up to pedal or suddenly slow down up a hill. Riders with e-bikes can typically go faster than average riders on a hill so must be vigilant in their positioning and speed control so as not to disrupt the group.