Are E-Bikes Really Bikes?

No one puts new wine into old wineskins (Mark 2:22, ESV).

Springs means warm weather for cycling. Flowers are nice, blooming trees beautiful, some like the start of baseball, and others plan vacations.

All pale in comparison to cycling on a warm Spring day.

This week, finally, global warming came to Ohio!  

It was warm enough to start cycling. For those from other states – the #1 reason that you need to move to Springfield, Ohio, is that one mile from my house, I’m connected to 450 miles of paved bike trails.

Ohio! Not Florida… not Arizona… not California… not Montana, and certainly not Washington, D.C. Ohio has more paved bike paths than any other state or district!!!!!

I was on a portion of the bike path this week and was passed by another cyclist. I try to avoid being passed on the bike trail, but as I age, for some reason, am finding it increasingly difficult.

The guy really passed me. As in zo-o-o-o-om!

I looked closely and he was on a trike (three-wheels) and his bike was aluminum (heavy). He wore a fishing hat, had baggy clothes, and converse tennis shoes. I had two wheels and a carbon frame (think Tour de France), an aero helmet along with spandex clothes, and shoes that clip to my pedals (think make sure you unclip when you stop!).

And this guy passed me. I was insulted, and since trikes are notoriously slow uphill, made plans to pass him on an upcoming hill. I was going to zoom by him and give him a smirk.

It didn’t happen. I ate three wheels of dust.

Then I noticed. He was on an e-bike!

I work hard to go fast (though I’m getting slower); this guy didn’t get in shape to go fast, and he won’t ever go slower. Life isn’t fair. The book of James teaches us to consider it all joy when encountering e-bikes on the bike path, but I admit frustration (James 1:2-4, OGV).

Which brings me to the theological question:  Are e-bikes really bikes? And:  Will e-bike riders get into heaven? With the guy in the fishing hat, my initial answers were “no” to both questions.

Being magnanimous and fair-minded Pastor Grant, I’m rethinking my original conclusions.

Also, I did some research.  

The pandemic created a boom with e-bikes, with sales increasing 145 percent – or more than double the sale of classic bikes. After the pandemic, the sales of e-bikes continues to climb while normal-traditional-real bike sales suffer decline. And most disheartening – e-bikes have outpaced the sales of e-cars, making them the world’s bestselling electric vehicle.

I’m accepting that a lot more three-wheel dust will be in my future.

Commuters using e-bikes have also risen dramatically. One of my go-to bike paths runs from both north and south to downtown Springfield. I’m thinking that the only traffic jam in Springfield will now be on the bike path!

Back to my original question:  Are e-bikes really bikes?

Unfortunately, yes. However, those who ride normal and self-effort bikes (s-bikes) will burn more calories and receive greater rewards in heaven.