While this post will be a ride report, it also opens up the debate into e-bikes. My brother-in-law, Brandon, was in town visiting from Dallas this last week and wanted to go mountain biking. Being a BMX rider, he has the technical skills and balance on a bike. Coming from Dallas, he lacks the adjustment to the altitude. I had the opportunity to take him on a ride with a full suspension HAIBIKE AllMtn 5.0 e-bike that is currently on loan to MTB Home.
For those that are not familiar with e-bikes, they are electric assisted bikes. They increase the output that a rider puts in with an electric motor. Some of the more die-hard folks feel that this is cheating. On the flip side, others say that it is an avenue for more people to enter the sport of mountain biking. One very contentious piece is whether e-bikes should be allowed on non-motorized trails.
In classic out-of-towner fashion, Brandon showed up in jeans and a UT t-shirt, amped for a ride. I couldn’t have planned the outfit better myself. After refusing the offer of some bike shorts, we decided to tackle the climb up and out of Cement Creek and over to the Brush Creek Drainage. Since he was on an e-bike, we had to choose motorized friendly trails as these are the only trails that these bikes are currently allowed on. We chose to climb up Walrod, to Double Top, to 409.5 down to Brush Creek Road, a ride I never would have attempted had he not been on an e-bike. This trail is a rugged climb of more than 2000’ over 6 miles.
Chunky rock and steep climbs would have easily turned us around had Brandon not been on the e-bike. The bike was a perfect way of leveling the playing field. I got to go out and challenge myself while bringing a less experienced rider along with me.
At the top of the climb, sweeping views down to town and a very unique perspective of Mt. Crested Butte offer the perfect picnic spot. After the junction of Double Top and 409.5, the trail has a consistent downhill pitch dropping 2000’ over about 4 miles. The 409.5 trail starts out wandering through a high meadow of flowers just below point lookout mountain. Open meadows turn to rooted tree sections. Some of the tree sections were a little boggy and torn up from moto traffic. Other than those few spots, the tacky technical trail is a super fun descent. This is where Brandon’s BMX background shone through and we had a quick playful descent.
Whether you are for or against e-bikes, I can say that this ride would not have been possible had we not had it. I would have been forced to take Brandon on a much less adventurous ride that wouldn’t have been as much fun for either of us. The e-bike allowed Brandon to tackle one of the harder climbs in the valley all in his jeans and a Texas Longhorns t-shirt.