From The Editor’s Desk…

Cycle Volta's pledge of responsibility.

No e-bikes sign
Sign at the entrance of Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park in Orange County, California.Toby Hill

I’m going to paraphrase here, but author C.S. Lewis and basketball legend John Wooden both have been famously quoted saying that the true measure of one’s character is what you do when no one is watching. Let’s face it: It’s pretty darn easy to do the right thing while in the public view, when you know you’ll be held accountable for your actions.

So what does this maxim about character and personal accountability have to do with Cycle Volta? Let's get to it.

I firmly believe that ebikes should be allowed in more places, whether it's an electric cruiser on a neighborhood bike path or a Class 1 pedal-assist eMTB on high-mountain singletrack. In the US, we're waaaayyyy behind countries in Europe where ebikes have been warmly embraced, and are freely enjoyed on all sorts of terrain.

But do I believe ebikes should be granted the same access as traditional pedal bikes throughout the US? Absolutely not. A shotgun approach like that does not allow for analysis of individual sites, their frequency of ridership, and their suitability for different modes of transport. It also removes land managers’ and transportation officials’ valuable perspectives from the decision-making process.

But many riders who have invested no small chunk of change in their ebike(s) flout the rules—either willfully or through ignorance—and are riding where they shouldn’t under their local regulations. This is not doing anything to burnish our reputation with fellow bike path and trail users who have yet to get on board with the fun and utility of ebiking. And it’s not helping move the needle on ebike access in a positive direction.

This is a long way of saying Cycle Volta will do the "easy" work of photographing and filming ebikes only on paths, roads, and trails where each class or type of ebike is allowed—presenting our public face in an honorable and responsible manner. We'll strive to remain beyond reproach in this regard, and serve as a model ambassador for the activity of ebiking. And if we screw up on that front, please call us on it so we can pull down the offending content, offer an apology, and change our behavior. Use the comments sections on our website and social channels. Better yet, email me directly at toby.hill@bonniercorp.com.

We’ll also do the right thing when no one’s watching. All the test riding that goes into our coverage of ebikes will be held to the same standard: Stick to the places where that class or style of ebike is permitted, even if it’s not particularly convenient. We hope our readers will do the same, and will put in the time researching where they can legally enjoy their ebikes in their local area.

Further, we’ll continue to do the right thing by not following a “pay to play” model when it comes to reviewing ebikes and other products. All of our reviews will be written by longtime cyclists whose decades of experience in the saddle on myriad types of bikes will inform their unbiased testing and analysis.

That's not to say we won't work with brands on creating content together to better inform and educate our audience—and, yes, Cycle Volta might benefit financially from integrating a brand presence into that content. But a review or opinion on this website or its social channels will never be bought and paid for. There already are plenty of media outlets for that sort of content. We'll stick to unbiased reviews.

Lastly, we’ll do the right thing by listening to you, our readers. Let us know what we’re doing right, and what you think should change. Suggest ebikes and other products to review. Events to cover. Issues to tackle. Personalities to profile. Stories to tell.

We want to hear from you. Because a ride is more fun when it’s a communal experience.

Toby Hill
Editor-in-Chief
Cycle Volta
toby.hill@bonniercorp.com
(949) 272-6378