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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 125 > ELECTRIC BOOGALOO


Chipps infiltrates the underground world of electric-bike-only riding weekends to discover the secret customs and handshakes of this growing mountain bike world.

When you have a ‘special’ hobby, whether it be radio control cars, jigsaws or a rubber fetish, you’re always aware that nonparticipants don’t really understand what it is you do, let alone why. So you always feel like you need to explain before they ask, or you shy away from saying anything at all.

However, when you’re in a space with fellow-enthusiasts – at the RC car club or the rubber dungeon, you don’t need to explain anything. Everyone is there for the same reason and everyone has had similar experiences to get there. When you’re there, you can just relax and get on with enjoying yourself and your hobby.

And so it is with e-bikes. Despite the crushing tsunami of inevitability, many ‘normal’ riders are wary of them. Many mountain bikers think that e-bikes are cheating, or ‘not real mountain biking’ and are only acceptable if the rider has a visible disability and has exhausted every other avenue of cycling.

E-bikers are aware of this stigma and it’s common for them to pre-empt that cynicism with their excuse or reasoning even before they offer their name. “Hi, I’ve only got one lung! My name’s Bob…” Even on my local trails, I came across a ‘dad and lad’ pairing going the other way. In the half-second that it took us to pass each other, the old boy, in response to my cheery greeting, offered: “You still have to pedal them, you know?”


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About Singletrack

Editorial Chipps is brushing up on his knowledge of rules and regulations. Classic Ride: Hay on Wye Barney Marsh finds out why you might like to look further than the book shops in this lumpy little corner of the UK. Bike Park Wales Samantha Saskia Dugon goes behind the scenes to reveal the people that make our pay to play fun happen. Munros Challenge Sanny thinks we should all set ourselves a challenge if we want to be truly alive. Capital to Coast Max Darkins rides from the centre of London to the south coast, in search of beer and chips. Why not? Column: Jason Miles Jason bemoans the excessive enforcement of spurious rules and regulations. Has he been talking to Chipps? Dumplings Chipps heads to Italy for a race where he has to hunt dumplings. Does he need a net, or a spear? Chipps e-MTB Chipps spends a wet weekend in Wales on an e-bike. Will life be any more fun with a battery, or is it still a wet weekend in Wales? Bike Test Dean Hersey gets stuck into three distinctive 29ers that span the width of the new (ahem, nu) school of full suspension 29er trail bikes. Pete’s Pros Pete Scullion continues to ride with (or chase after) the professional riders of today. This issue, he’s talking to Steve Peat. Jez Avery We catch up with legend of the 1990s UK MTB scene ‘Jumping Jez Avery’, and discover that behind the stunt shows and bunny hops, there’s a whole other life. Arran Sanny hops on a boat to Arran to check out the trails that are often overlooked by those going for the big obvious pointy hulk of Goat Fell. Last Word Mark swaps his car for a bike.