filed under: surfacing
Soil Displacement and Erosion on Bike-Optimized Trails in a Western Oregon Forest
The emergence of electric bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes, is a rapidly growing component of the bicycle market in the US. As a transportation option, they represent an opportunity to reduce vehicle use and emissions, as well as the physical barriers to cycling. For use on trails, they present similar opportunities to reduce barriers to cycling but, as a new use, present new challenges for trail management.
A Comparison of Environmental Impacts from Mountain Bicycles Class 1 Electric Mountain Bicycles and Motorcycles
In the fall of 2015, under contract with the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA), with counsel from a field of recreation management experts, and through a review of existing studies of erosional impacts from trail users, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) conducted a scientifically controlled field study designed to measure relative levels of soil displacement and erosion resulting from traditional mountain bicycles, electric mountain bicycles (eMTBs), and traditional off-road motorcycles (i.e. dirt bikes). The observations were compiled in controlled environmental conditions, with each type of bike making multiple passes on separated sections of the same trail within a single test site.
Published January 2016
A compilation of best practices and guidelines for the planning, design, construction, and management of your trail employing sustainable design.
This study aimed to compare conventional mountain bike and eMTB use. This was done by investigating 2 questions: (1) What proportion of exercise response is retained for an experienced mountain biker while using an eMTB when compared with a conventional mountain bike? and (2) What are the perceptions and beliefs of experienced mountain bikers toward eMTBs both before and after riding an eMTB?
If a hard surface recreational trail is in your future, you owe it to yourself to look at the benefits of cost, construction and long term reduced maintenance that can only come with a trail paved with concrete. (This article is sponsored content.)
On average, the majority of survey respondents disapprove of e-bikes being allowed on the trail. This remains true across the board for each of the major user groups; however, mountain bike rider respondents are less likely to disapprove of allowing e-bikes on non-motorized trails and equestrian respondents are more likely to disapprove.