According to the Dr. Behooving taxonomy of powered and non-powered machines, eBikes belong with all those inelegant gadgets that have extraneous motors: the electric can opener; Shimano’s electronic derailleurs; and of course the automobile. I’m not complaining about eBike riders taking up space on my bike track. How could I? I overtake the lame gits all the time! My objection is philosophical.
As I see it, the human body is a motor that strengthens with use. If the only motor we relied on for transport was the motor built into our bodies, the problems we face providing parking in cities would be greatly reduced. The motors, at least, could be parked in any of those places we have already provided for parking our arses: lounges, chairs, stools, beds, toilets, sybians… I should stop… okay, one more.
The only things for which we would need to provide parking, would be the tools we use to draw motion from these flesh and blood motors. If those tools could carry things, the way a bike can if it has a basket or panniers, those tools might rarely need parking at all: they could be kept by our sides as we worked or did shopping. Life would be elegant.
I refer you now to Maslow’s Pyramid and the highest of the needs that makes any sense: aesthetics. Once we have a fixed address, something for dinner and our wives and children to laugh at our fart jokes, we begin to crave goodness (in the Platonic sense of being true to ideals) justice and order. And once we start thinking this way, the eBike starts to look pretty shabby. The battery with its limited life and dependence on dubiously sourced energy coming out of a socket, and the ridiculous hub, all start looking like a Japanese bidet. The eBike’s only chance for acceptance, since truth and beauty are too much to ask, is if somehow it can be pretty.
It behooves beautiful women to ride beautiful bikes, powered by elegant means. Beautiful women have internal strength and can provide their own power. Can we demand so much, though, of women who are merely pretty? Our lower expectations of her mean the pretty woman does not let us down when, for example, she reveals her natural face in the morning, or the scars in her armpits betraying her breast augmentation, or confesses that she rote learned all those quotes from Sartre just to impress me but has never actually written an essay. Should a pretty lass be found to have a battery hidden somewhere beneath her Po Campo, most people would accept this as part of her charm.
The most beautiful bike shop in Australia, with pure white walls—most shops have clutter—is Morgans in Sydney. I was there on the weekend and surprised by a pretty black filly over there by the wall, casting coy glances toward me. It took me some time to discover this one had been to the doctor. With bikes you don’t look in the armpits. You have to look closely beneath the rear rack to know if she’s been augmented.
A pretty bike for your pretty lady? It costs $2500. I think you should do it!