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Looks like I'm going to have to be a little bit more restrained in calling out cyclists with motors on the CCT --

The Secret Service agent can't keep up with the Energy Secretary without an electric motor boost? Dude!

We have issues with e-bikes on washcycle? I say it's one less car, and it's more exercise than Metro so, where's the problem (aside from blind machismo)?

Aha, I think I've seen him. It is a good question, tho, why some peak physical specimen like a secret service agent cannot keep up with a 50 something nobel prize winner without an e-bike.

Also: I would like to see the honking motorist pulled over by the Secret Service.

The DOE's General Counsel drive's a Mazerati? Doesn't sound very energy efficient.

@Catherine,

where's the problem

I'm pretty sure that both the NPS, which administers the DC portion of the trail, and the Maryland Park Commission both prohibit use of motorized vehicles.

It may be one thing for someone to be using assistive power to maintain a reasonable speed but recently there was a fellow on the trail using an e-bike to climb the hill at 30 MPH plus.

I think the trail is just too crowded now as it is.

Perhaps the e-bike is not to keep up with the secretary but if he needs a speed boost to stop a threat or detain someone?

@JeffB

The SS agent is basically a cop, and cops can do anything they want. What planet are you from?

@Tom,

I wasn't referring to the cop but was responding to Catherine's comment regarding eBikes in general and the trail.

P.S. - I'm pretty sure I'm from Planet Earth but willing to listen to other opinions.

@JeffB
E-bikes are federally legally considered bikes, not motorized vehicles, largely based on energy output, which caps the power assist to 20 mph. I highly, highly doubt that anyone was going uphill at 30mph with one of these (an actual e-bike, not a scooter or moped, both of which are different). They're allowed on trails as states/local jurisdictions permit (VA and DC allow, I've never looked into MD or NPS, never thought about NPS as a desperate jurisdiction).

As for the trail being too crowded as it is....that seems very counter to "bicycle advocacy" and is a position I cannot empathize with. It sounds as if this person really was going that fast (again, I'm highly doubtful because of the speed/wattage caps), it's more an issue of speed limit enforcement/trail manners than e-bikes. And there's plenty of issues with speed limit enforcement/trail manners to go around (downhill yields to uphill, people!!!!!)

lol "separate" jurisdiction. Sorry :)

Catherine said: " (downhill yields to uphill, people!!!!!)"

True! And if you need something to remind you why that is, remember the origin of this custom:

If you were on your animal-drawn cart and you were going uphill it was much harder to get going again after stopping than it was for the animal-drawn cart coming downhill to stop, let the uphill cart pass and continue....

30mph uphill on a bike must be exhilarating!

@Catherine,

I'm a pretty good judge of speed but let me amend what I said. Where I saw the fellow was on the long flat portion of the trail alongside the canal by Fletcher's boathouse.

He was flying by everybody so I'll stand by 30 MPH there. Probably even he had to slow some going up the hill itself.

But he made enough of impression not on just me but others that there was a posting on the CCT web page asking for people to provide reports.

And the next day riding home I saw a MD motorcycle cop parked in the woods along the trail. My thought was he was on a stakeout waiting for him.

Haven't seen him since so either he got caught or got the message.

I agree with you that trail manners are more the issue here than the type of bike you have. I've been using the trail for 7 years now. Starting about 2008 there was a big uptick in usage.

The type of riding one can do on a largely empty trail just doesn't play well on a crowded one. One reason the trail has gotten so busy is because of the lack of alternatives.

The Feds can classify an e-bike however they want to but when I'm riding on the trail and someone blows close by me at 30mph - or 26 going uphill - I don't care that they're greener than a school bus. I agree that manners would help, but if "good manners" were commonplace or easily enforced, we wouldn't have so many cyclists retreating to the (expected) tranquility of the trail.

Until the day that these motorized lions lie down with the human-powered lambs, I prefer a nice clean prohibition: No motors on bike trails.

More importantly, the senior members of the executive branch get a pretty broad exemption from most traffic laws. I cannot imagine any NPS or MPD cop stopping secret service from operating a bike on CCT.

@ jeff b and john,

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. While it may be possible to get to 30 on the flats (I'm still doubtful, but you were there and I wasn't ), I still think the issue is more about following existing rules and manners and less about where the power comes from.

There are pleanty of folks out there (mainly the type I call "spandexies") who routinely go 20+ and blow by ME on my e-bike. (I have a bike computer spedometer...I stick to 18 or less at all times, even downhill). I *always* yeild, even uphill because I've got less to lose my losing momentum, while both major trail accidents I've seen involve the speed deamon type passing without enough space/time.

I DO see where you're coming from, ebikes do make it easier for people to break the speed limits etc. I just don't think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. Basically, more people on bikes aee better than less, and we should ALL do better to follow the rules.

What is this whole "yield to uphill" thing? The rule is stay on your side of the trail and don't pass unless it is safe to do so. They even painted a yellow line to help you figure out where the middle is.

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