Thursday, July 18, 2019

New Outside Column, Now With E-Assist!

Here's my latest Outside column, which is about how you should get a tax break for buying an e-bike:


Though of course anybody who reads Internet comments knows cyclists don't pay any taxes at all, which invalidates my entire argument.

Speaking of e-bikes, Specialized is getting lots of press for this thing:


Now, to be clear, I don't think motorized Fred bikes should qualify for my tax cut, nor should e-mountain bikes or e-gravel bikes or any other assisted sporting bicycle.  No, in order to qualify for the subsidy you must purchase a bicycle that is appropriately utilitarian, as determined by a smugness panel of which I hereby appoint myself chairperson.  We (meaning I) will then evaluate every e-bike on the market* and determine whether or not it's eligible.  For example, Brompton Electric?  Subsidy:


Trek Powerfly?  No subsidy:

*[Manufacturers please send your kickbacks in digital currency to the following wallet address: 132040330581425017742601013954495679929193446910684375817922565556150614417166726937757457734098724]

This is not to say I have anything against sporting e-bikes, mind you.  My only concern about them now is that they're going to lead to a lot more people gratuitously calling out "ON YOUR LEFT!," which I cannot stand.  In fact, I feel strongly that e-bikes should be allowed in the Tour de France on the following basis:
Then again, I have no idea whether or not the Tour de France needs livening up this year, since I'm more detached from it than I've been in many years.  Indeed, I can officially say that I have absolutely no idea what's going on--and I don't mean that cynically, or smugly, or contemptuously, either.  It's just that at this point in my life my brain is basically a 10 Items Or Less line, and sadly the Tour is one of the things I've been forced to remove from my basket in order to get through the day.

That said, occasionally the odd tidbit seeps into my consciousness via Twitter, and this seems pretty compelling:

Usually when I disappear abruptly from a public place it's for one or two reasons: 1) I'm about to get in really big trouble; 2) I've really got to use the bathroom.  So perhaps one of those situations applies here.

[Abruptly disappears.]

32 comments:

Dorian Gray said...

"...and I don't mean that cynically, or smugly, or contemptuously, either."

It that is true, suggesting checking in with your doctor, because you might be dead. Maybe a Twilight Zone thing going on from yesterday's post.

Seattle lone wolf said...

Actually the Tour has been pretty entertaining this year. Eleven different winners in the first 11 stages. (I don't know who won today.)

Chazu said...

I'm left wondering how long it will be until I start seeing longstanding local Strava KOM records "shattered" by eFreds.

Some guy from upstate said...

I like this idea. The environmental benefit return on investment for an ebike is huge. You could make the same case for non-electrified bicycles, although it would have to use the same sort of utility-based criteria for allowable bikes (no one does the environment any favors by sticking a mountain bike in your car and driving 20 miles to a trailhead, which is a thing I did Sunday, but I didn't drive to work the whole week before that, so I get to salvage some smugness). Of course, I also thought that I should be able to use the money for the subsidized YMCA membership we used to get as a health benefit that I didn't use to buy bike parts.

Of course, New York State (of which I believe New York City is a part) still needs to fix our vehicle and traffic code. I'm looking at you, Andrew.

mikeweb said...

And imagine the tax breaks - and smugness points - if you charge your e-bike at home and you also have (tax subsidized) solar panels installed.

Al said...

Good article about ebikes, Mr. Snob. But I would like to remind everyone that electric cars are vaporware. EVs are just a marketing ploy to keep the cars-first transportation clusterfuck going. It's slight of hand. In 2018 about 400,000 EVs were sold in the USA while at the same time over 12 million pickups, SUVs and crossovers were sold. This is exactly what our automotive overlords want. They just keep building more and more cars. The privately owned automobile is corporate capitalisms most important product. This is the reason that the cities that we live in are being over run by automobiles and their body parts. An EV is still just another car and if you own an EV don't be deluded that you are "doing your part" to save the environment. "We will not leave the task of shaping the future of urban mobility to others."- Dieter Zetsche, Daimler AC chairman.

huskerdont said...

Yes, agree that this has been the best TdF in a while so far. Has not been completely controlled by one team with a race leader who just coasts along protected by his teammates. The yellow jersey actually switched shoulders a coupla times, and the yellow jersey wearer assisted in a sprint lead out for a teammate, which I do not recall ever seeing before. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

This is the only bit of TDF news I've read this year:
https://www.velonews.com/2019/07/news/watch-mountain-biker-jumps-over-tour-de-france-peloton_497384

Looks like fun to me, but then again I would've landed in a tree.

Anonymous said...

I agree with AI at 1:11pm

Most of America is addicted to the auto - pure and simple - and the entire way we have designed the country, our homes, our schools, our cities, and our transportation infrastructure is to nurture and feed the "automobile-SUV-pickup-industrial complex." It is so disheartening. With EVs we still have to maintain this same, soul-killing, expensive infrastructure. Perhaps a shift to EVs will open up and illuminate the possibilities of E-bikes - that is what I am hoping.

back to our regular programming - Yes, the TdF is really good this year.

HDEB said...

A person wearing cycling clothing would have a low chance of having their fancy Illegal E-Bike confiscated by NYPD.

Fourhourerection said...

My Radwagon has to qualify. It’s freaky utilitarian.

anonymous said...

Dear Snobby Ocasio Cortez:

Where do you get off with this "only utility bikes" bullshit?

My daily driver for over ten years has been a Fisher HooKoo. Granted, it's from 1993. And granted, it's been heavily modified. Squish fork, buh-bye. Indexed Gripshift is now Suntour friction thumbies. Rack, check. Fenders, check. Kickstand, check. Sprung saddle, even. Utility out the ass.


Before a host of old injuries drastically curtailed my riding, I rode it in preference to driving. Grocery runs were fun ; singletrack was funner. Beer runs were the funnest of all.Even now it is a treat on those rare days when I feel up to some singletrack. And I could still strap on the big panniers and make a grocery run, if only...


So what's my point? you tell me. You're the one that ain't had six shots of vodka. And the whole tax credit thing-Anyone that can afford a couple grand for a bike doesn't need a tax break. Because fair share or something. Maybe tax breaks for anything that will take 700x35 and fenders. Mmmmm, vodka. Maybe this: Utility is in the ride of the beerholder.

Robert Craig Knievel said...

"This is the only bit of TDF news I've read this year..."

As the linked article noted, several have done it before. Chapeau to all for making it over and not landing on the TdF.

Anonymous said...

Holy hell, the cat/cucumber video. Why did I click that? Bad enough the script was written by Grandpa Simpson, but then it's read by one of the slowest talkers outside of Alabama. Even on 1.75X speed it was still infuriating. Tie the frickin onion on your belt already and head on over to Shelbyville jeez! (Cucumbers look like snakes, they claim. You're welcome. I would add, lizards and crocs.)

Most interesting thing I've seen about the TdF this year was about how they supply the live video feed. Castle porn don't come cheap, folks. There are two helicopters at like 500 ft getting all the sweet shots; there's one circling above at like 2,000 feet acting as a relay for the other two and all the motorcycles; from there the signal goes up to an airplane circling at 10 or 20,000 that sends it to a truck, that sends it to a satellite, that sends it to another truck, that sends it to a ground station or something.

https://arstechnica.com/cars/2019/07/how-helicopters-bring-us-amazing-views-of-the-tour-de-france

https://www.flightradar24.com/blog/how-the-tour-de-france-goes-from-cycle-to-screen

wishiwasmerckx said...

Anon 4:51, I read an article last week where NBC admitted that the high cost of the broadcast rights and the unbelievable production costs and challenges exceed the ad revenue from broadcasting the tour, bit that they are committed to continuing to show it.

Anonymous said...

Even the bikes have onboard cameras! Too many darn motorbikes, team cars and radios getting in way of bikes.
Do not get me started on the dumber than chump spectators on mountains! Taser and flail the lot of them!

George Krpan said...

Creo, another cringeworthy Specialized name. I'm converting my touring bike to electric, Bafang BBSHD mid-drive from Luna Cycle. There are now scientists who are called climate change criminals.

Anonymous said...

"Stolen" is the catch-all description currently used in all Strava KOM notifications...

Pist Off said...

I believe in the potential of e-bikes to replace many cars some of the time, after putting together a modest kit bike for my mother-in-law. It makes an immensely useful vehicle. But the entrenched psychology behind our automotive dependency is not easy to change. In cities this is an easier sell as cars have a lot of obvious downsides. Maybe urban millennials and gen Y will embrace e-bikes if they can afford them. I have far less hope that older generations in suburbs or rural areas will entertain the idea. Weather, the office clothing code, and traffic safety problems all conspire against anything less than the familiar comfort of a car. Add in Trump’s determination to use fossil fuels forever, and my cynicism is high about significant change within 12 years. These days I’m cynical that we’ll even be rid of Trump in 12 years.

Matt said...

@ Chazu at 11:26: Strava has a special category for e bikes, and the numbers don't show up except to others on e bikes (I'm pretty sure anyway)...one of the mechanics at my LBS is the coach our local High School MTB team...the shop got an e-mtb for him to ride at HS practice (a few of the kids are REALLY FAST)...this way he can stay in front of them as the 'rabbit', urging them on (he's a REALLY good rider, downhills he simply SLAYS...it's the climbs he needs help on to stay in front of the young-uns). None of his Strava uploads show up to me as I don't have an e-bike (I thought he just wasn't uploading them, but he says he does but only in the e-bike category). Sounds like Strava already has it figured out so-as not to wreck the leaderboards and such w/ ebikes mixing w/ regular bikes. Now if they'd just fix it so we can set a ride as "group" or "solo" (my group ride PR's have destroyed any chance I have of PR'ing them solo).

Just asking said...

@ Pist Off at 1:05 pm

I wonder how many of the folks attending the Greenville Trump rally this week rode bikes to that event?

Any guesses?

Pist Off said...

@Just asking,
From what I know of Trumpists, is there a number less than zero? There’s a lot of extreme right wingers in NoCo. I know a few that ride “seriously,” but none use a commuter/utility bike. If you’re trolling, and about to reveal a group of evangelical African-American Republican college-educated women that rode e-bikes to the ersatz Nuremberg rally, well, meh.

Al said...

@Pist Off at 1:05: My guess is the answer to how many of those folks rode a bike is none because to them the bicycle is socialism on two wheels.

Anonymous said...

Getting a feeling your entire post was a set-up for the final gag-line. Still, 10/10 for wordplay.

der blaue Reiter said...

@ Just asking 3:57pm
Chicago will happily accept any and all vintage Schwinn’s that those jerks care to “send back”.
And: great links in a great article, Snob!

anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure they could all afford to drive, thanks to this robust economy and our energy independence. God bless you, Mister President.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 4:04pm,

Sounds like you'd have an easier time making those grocery runs on a subsidized ebike.

--Tan Tenovo

NYCHighwheeler said...

You sound... different... today.
Yesterday was The Chainstretcher MTB race at Blue Mtn in Peekskill. Seems a good time was had by all. Also, RAGBRAI started yesterday, and despite a little rain in the beginning, it looks like some of the best weather for RAGBRAI in years.

Skidmark said...

No BikeSnob on WBAI radio this Monday morning? I got no memo...

pbateman paid for nbc gold but prefers to simply read the race coverage on bikesnobnyc said...

I appreciate the tireless/tubeless efforts of the curators of this here blog provide covering the Tour de France year in and year out.

Any dogs get hit on the route this year?


guiatem said...

Hello? Hope it's all right with Tan Tenovo.

BamaPhred said...

Re Outside column, now I have Martha and the Vandellas singing No where to run, no where to ride....