As the world has grappled with one deadly pandemic this year, some of us have realised that it has given rise to a second pandEmic currently sweeping the globe. You may have yourself become infected, or know a close friend who has succumbed to this electric plague.
Yes, I’m talking about CoronEvirus, which appears to have accelerated at an E-xponential rate under lock down conditions, I didn’t anticipate that one pandemic would unwittingly feed another, but here we are. In my last echo chamber rant about eBikes I was responding to the scourge getting all too close to home. Little did I know it would soon be knocking on my shelter in place door.
As I’ve steadfastly maintained my isolation, I’ve watched with horror as one particular CoronEvirus super spreader has infected ComRADe after ComRADe on his quest to reshape the MTB world in his image, a prospect that should terrify us all. Yes, I’m talking about the Prince Andrew of eMTB:
Luring people into the Aka’s or bringing a demo eBike to their local trails to infect them with so-called ‘fun’, he has proved adept at turning perfectly normal people into sEx slaves, sometimes in a single ride. I didn’t mind when it was strangers, but his insatiable appetite didn’t stop there.
First he snuffed out one of my key rEsistance fighters in Professor A Badd, which was a development that shook me to my core. As soon as the Professor started to tell me that eBikes were great with dead eyes and twitching cheek muscles like a modern day Manchurian candidate, I knew he’d been infected by the RodfathEr and we had lost another acoustic bro.
But it was when he claimed the pelt of the beautiful Grey Fox in Kev that I realised this was spreading out of control. As rad cunt after rad cunt fell to this raging outbreak I started to wonder how I could defend myself and fend off the unwanted advances of the E-vangalists.
I was fairly certain I was immune, my cycling core equipped with the right antibodies to fight off the dEmon, but I clearly need to leave my acoustic doomsday bunker and find out what was happening in the world.
I also didn’t really understand what I was up against. In my last rant on this, the super woke E-vangalists started to throw themselves at the sides of my E-chochamber, foaming at the mouth telling me how wrong I was, how ill-informed I clearly am, that I was an acoustic snow flake or that I needed to feel the groaning throb of a motor between my legs before I could comment.
The ferocity of the E-wokes, not to be confused with Ewoks, who have significantly more operational excellence than your average eMTBer, surprised me. The surprise was both the volume of eFiends, not to mention their passion for being motorised. They had that scent of a ‘you’re either with us, or we’ll eat your brains’ scenario.
Clearly I didn’t know my E-nemy as much as I thought I did… Apparently they weren’t all old, angry or morbidly obese. As I sat in my Acoustic dojo I consulted with Sun Tzu about my next move. This advice appeared relevant:
“If you know thy enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Never wanting to suc-cum, I decided it was time to seek out the E-nemy and see the milky white of their pink eyes. So when an invite to the Jeffrey E-pstein ranch in Rotorua came my way, I decided it was time to don my journalistic chastity belt, step out of my E-chochamber and start to understand the virus in it’s natural habitat.
Arriving at the E-pstein ranch, everything initially appeared to be normal. We talked about suspension, shaft lengths, niche underground German high pivot porn… You know, all the normal topics sprinkled in with some light toxic masculinity name calling. We even went for an acoustic ride in the forest and shredded berms, bumped fists and used our leg muscles.
I was stoked on hitting the forest on the Megatower for the first time in 4 months post lock down, and it felt sensational with its new Vorsprung Tractive tune in the shock. I was basking lavishly in my ignorance and letting my guard down as the good times at the Ranch rolled and the artisanal kombucha flowed freely.
But dark forces were gathering on the island. Strange noises were coming from rooms I wasn’t allowed in… I kept seeing power chords being carried around and people whispered about ‘charging’ things. Little did I know that these PrEdators had a complex and elaborate process they followed when trying to induct a new member into their e-Cult.
Maybe the night before they will take you to some secret hot pools to relax you and make you feel like it’s a holiday, to loosen you up, but as your guard comes down, their alarmingly grippy sEx gloves go on as they prepare to offer a virgin as a sacrifice to their motorised gods. I saw things that I wish I hadn’t seen…
The Virgin BridE
As I groggily sat in the Rodfather’s van breathing in the rich aroma of roofies, smegma and possum skin condoms, I was suddenly having that hot sinking feeling any time you’re about to do something based on peer pressure, obligation or because the Cult leader says you have to. As the self professed John Connor opposed to eBikes, what the fuck was I doing about to press the on button of one of these cuntmobiles?
“You’re doing it for the good of semi-pro journalism” I assured myself, but I stepped out into the drizzle thoroughly unconvinced and solidly mortified. I guess I did need to stock up on self-loathing, a thought that tried to turn the very grey clouds above us into silver linings.
Let me just break down how bad this really was… Not only was I about to partake in something that I’ve prided myself on opposing, a virginity I was about to cheaply give away to the first older man who was nice to me, but I was going to do so atop a machine from a brand that has built its business on the backs of a million middle managers, 75% of whom are named Todd, David or Chad.
Holy fuck, was this my Todd Muller melt down moment? Was I sliding unwittingly into the cesspool of middle management never to be seen again? To top it all off, I was even wearing a Ground Effect jacket. FML:
As the fingErbanging commenced I tried to console myself with the fact that at least I seemed to be allowed my ‘friends’ to have a good time, based on the size of their E-rections and the array of goofy grins which were constantly looking back at me as we set off. Like a bunch of drunk fucking Romans filing into the colosseum awaiting guaranteed carnage, they were giddy with having fresh meat thrown into the fray.
As Jeffrey E-pstein burned off in full turbo mode (At least one thing remained consistent in this strange new world), Professor A Badd assumed the role of Ms G Maxwell, assuring me that everything would be alright and if I relaxed and just tried to enjoy it that everything would be ok… His soothing tones were oddly both calming and alarming.
We were less than 5 minutes into this so called dEflowering process when all my dreams almost came true at once. Suddenly my Levo died, as in, some sort of flashing red light sequence occurred and then it tapped out like an early model Terminator that had taken a shot to the head.
My heart filled with glee!! I knew fuck all about these cyborg cuntwagons, but I knew red lights were bad and I cackled openly, already re-planning my morning heading back to the Rodfather MILF Cougar wagon to get my Megatower and restore order to the universe. I turned it back on, only to have it instantly die once more.
FUCK YES! I was now shaking with anticipation at the story this would allow me to weave into this very blog post at the extremely early e-jaculation syndrome that was the Rodfather E-xperience. I even allowed myself to yell out some highly warranted abuse and slagging.
But the E-wokes weren’t about to surrender that easily. This was their big moment, they had one hand on the holy grail and they weren’t about to let let their wEt dream vaporise so easily. The Rodfather sprang into action, mumbling something about this being his job, or being the Neo of eBikes, or inventing electricity or something equally as bizarre, it was hard to decipher as be began speaking in tongues to the Levo:
As Prince AndrEw fiddled with buttons and stuck his fingers vigorously in the Levo’s charging port, the other two chanted some sort of ritual chant. I thought about screaming, but it was clear that the thick canopy of native bush would eat my terror and laugh back at me, which of course was all by design.
The Rodfather beamed at me triumphantly moments later “There you go, you’ll just have to ride the thing in full turbo today“, my heart sank my dreams of both a Megatower ride and epic slagging content vaporised in a second. Fuck, unlike Roger Stone, my get out of jail free card was a fraud.
Giggling like PrEdators, they set off again into what appeared to be some impossible Native bush riding. Within moments I was alone, looking at the climb unfolding before me wondering why the fuck you’d bring someone in here for their dEflowering. As the experienced E-pushers disappeared into the distance, I was left floundering, either wheeling out of control like a moto GP bike, or stalling out as I foolishly stopped peddling.
I was now walking, or slaving a more accurate description, up impossibly slippery banks, hauling 25kg’s of cunt and wondering if this was the ‘fun’ they had always been frothing on about in a cult like fashion. After some struggling, it was explained to me that there was a walk button, which felt highly counterintuitive given this was allegedly a bicycle. WTF.
10 minutes into this debacle I wondered what the fuck I was doing. Objectively speaking, this was shit. I was either stopping dead like a boat anchor, the front wheel was raring up above my fucking head or I was spearing off sideways into the bush courtesy of an immense power spike.
What the fuck was this? Was it also purely coincidental that the forest around me appeared to be the location where the Predator slaughtered Jim Harper and his men? I think not. Promises from the E-vangalists to be gentle had clearly E-vaporated as they feasted on my floundering acoustic carcass. I didn’t expect to be that cunt who is last to the regroup stop by some margin.
In a moment hundreds of ladies will relate to, suddenly the Rodfather appeared in my head, which I initially thought was a lagging effect of the roofies, and his vision reminded me of a message he had sent me earlier in the week as part of his sales pitch/foreplay for this E-xperience:
“Now about this ebike caper DN. You’re in the wrong mindset. It’s not MTB as you know it. It’s a different sport . Like trying motocross. Or trials moto. It’s a new thing. You just do it on MTB trails.”
Ok then. I tried to ignore that I was in the native bush deep-end riding an Alu cyborg which violently oscillated between trying to taser me with 1000w or having all the manoeuvrability of a wrecking ball and instead focused on trying to adapt to this strange new world. It was a coin toss at this point if I would rather have had the Rodfather strain of Chlamydia mixed in with actual Covid than be getting E-fucked in the wet jungle.
It also dawned on me that this opening salvo was a little ‘Fuck you’ present from the E-vangalists for my open stance on opposing the spread of their plague. I was clearly playing the role of the person that had actively campaigned against gang bangs in the adult entertainment industry and I’d now walked into a dungeon, with the door swinging shut behind me, finding myself confronted by an army of engorged Barry’s. It was time to teach me a lesson.
The payback was cold, just how it should be served. Even the first descents were wretched as I had my initial experience of trying to slow down a fat meteor with SRAM brakes on slick native bush trails that had what appeared to be off camber anti-catch berms. I had thought there may be some salvation once the trail turned downwards, but it simply made my dEflowering more traumatic.
Eventually I emerged from the bush to a waiting congregation of E-vangalist cult members smiling like cheshire cats who had just eaten an entire hash cake. I was struggling to work out what to call the group before me…
“Don’t worry, the next climb is going to be sweet” whispered Professor Maxwell, again playing the enabler role beautifully.
Right then, time to put my bandito form and road miles to good use and get back on terms with the group after an opening stanza of being a dropped caboose. I was about to see what the Levo could do on a more open climb. As the trail opened up and we left behind the insane Native tech, I was suddenly hit by a double barrelled blast of bewilderment to the grill.
Firstly, I couldn’t quite process how fast we were going uphill. Wait, I couldn’t process how fast we were going uphill and how little effort I was having to put in to do so. Ok, I fucking know, this is Captain Obvious shit for all you E-fiends out there, but given my initiation was with some hard hitting muthafuckas, it was eyeball melting at how rapidly we were traveling upwards for me.
But worse than that, I was being fucking dropped! What… The… FUCK. I was trying to process what was going on, but I was being consistently vaporised. I’m going to go solidly off piste here in the modesty department so excuse me, but I was way fucking fitter than anyone else here and I was being annihilated like I was a beginner (I failed to acknowledge that well, I actually was).
A week prior I was punching out an FTP test of 339w average for 20 minutes and proudly vomiting on myself as a badge of honour that the form is good right now, real talk…
So what the fuck was going on? Well, it appeared I was riding the bike like a normal bike and they weren’t. The Rodfather explained to me that I had to keep peddling the entire time, “Don’t fucking stop cunt, for anything! Spin at 90 RPM!!!”
Right, noted. As we headed back into the forest, I found myself surrounded by people stoked on E, while I appeared to be the only person at the party just wanting a glass of water.
Familiar ground, but on Fast Forward
Back onto some tame looking undulating Whaka forest single track and again the hammer was dropped. Alright, let’s fucking have it. I tried to find what appeared to be the sweet spot in the Levo’s motor and just focused on chasing wheel like a rabid dog. As we ran a feral E-train on some newly crafted trail, I attempted to adjust to riding a bike so bizarrely fast for so little effort.
I mean, fuck, my HR was like 135bpm and we were doing about 30kph off road… I was having to brake uphill and we even railed what appeared to be an uphill berm, a moment in which something horrific happened: I let out an involuntary “woohoo“, or some such screeching noise of enjoyment. I instantly felt sick with myself and prayed that the others hadn’t heard me.
Fuck. Was their cult conversion process so advanced that I was unwittingly becoming their next victim? Was I already infected and showing the first signs of CoronEvirus? I had to stay calm and trust that I had immunity. I didn’t have long to wait for help.
We annihilated the new climbing trail up to Hot X in a ridiculous 7 mins, in a surreal experience that felt more like a computer game than a bike ride. Forget train, this was more like a MagLev bullet train scenario and I was perplexed at how much I had to concentrate as we rode at DH speed uphill. Towards the end I wanted to test this “you still get an amazing work out” theory the E-Vangalists tout, as I was getting cold, so I pushed my way to the head of the train and went full gas on it.
I didn’t know the Levo taps out at 32kph, nor did I realise I could ride an MTB that fast uphill, but allegedly I was. Ok, so I did get to threshold heart rate in my final sprint to the line, but I appeared to be going twice the speed than I could have gone on the Blur say. It was perplexing.
We were going to hit the Tuteata & Hot X combo. This would be my first known descent on the Levo and given we were an hour and half in, I was intrigued as to how I would find it. Prince AndrEw’s excitement was apparent:
I’ll try and describe this in a way that means it won’t be completely dismissed as anti-eBike propaganda, or as someone trying to plug a breech in their own echo chamber, as I did have a semi open mind, but by the time I was 69% down Hot X I had come to the realisation that hands down this was the worst bike I’ve ever ridden down a hill.
Let me clarify that: FUCKING EVER
Ok, so I realise that in the last 3 lines I have probably upset a lot of friends and I expect frowns now everywhere I go, but you know, authenticity comes first here. So, I had an inkling on the top section of Tuteata that something was weird, but it was down Hot X that the struggle became legit.
Was it the weight? Was it the geo & short reach? Was it my newness at riding one of these bikes? Was it the terrible grips and Lyric which felt like a jack hammer? Was it that I am used to riding superb bikes downhill? Who knows, maybe a delicious recipe of all of the above, but if this is the price you pay to get to the top of the hill faster, then the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
I’ve ridden down there faster on my XC bike, so I was slightly bemused when I eventually got to the bottom and everyone told me they’d had one of their fastest runs ever, comparing notes on how pinned they were. I looked down at my Levo, trying to work out where I needed to kick it so that it died and spewed hot battery juice all over the ground so I could make the Rodfather push it back to the van.
But in usual fashion The CrEator was already tearing off for the next ascent, where once again I was astounded at how effortlessly we dispatched Direct Road, which is usually a bit of a cuntathon on an acoustic machine.
I decided on the next downhill to try a new tactic: Ride it like I fucking hated it. Ultimately this wasn’t that hard, as I fucking really did… And this change in approach not only helped me keep relatively on the train this time, but also led to some fucking lurid moments the whole way down.
I poured as much piping hot rage & hate into that Aluminium fuck pig as I could possibly manage, and while it almost resulted in an ambulance ride on multiple occasions, it was at least semi-resembled a normal DH run, admittedly about 20 seconds off an acoustic bike time. Side thought, who brings an Aluminium bike to try and seduce someone anyone? So fucking 90’s.
Before I had time to contemplate any of this though, we were transportEd back to the top of the hill again for more… The E-vangalists were stoked. I was mostly pleased to be thrashing a demo bike in fully cunted conditions.
In my best tilt at impartiality I guess the weight of these bikes does come in handy when pumping through rollers and on some sections of trail, but most likely due to the way I was riding it and my relative inexperience, I suddenly felt like I was in diminishing returns territory from a cost benefit analysis standpoint. Holy Fuck, 2.5 hours on a Specialized and now I’m talking like a middle manager too.
The downhill struggle returned on EVS and halfway down I could feel my mouth starting to transform into a cats bum as my hands confirmed that I was allergic to both Specialized grips and a flogged Lyric (Possibly just my normal SRAM allergy playing up), usually this would be a downer, but I realised that there was a euphoric silver lining here.
As we rolled into the carpark I was greeted by a wall of E-stoke from the E-vangalists. This was the awkward moment where my echochamber, the immovable object if you will, was meeting the irresistible force; the stokE of my crew. As they beamed like a party of big game hunters who had bagged the most illusive prey, I didn’t have the heart to tell them my conclusion… I mean, look at their little faces:
As I handed back the Levo like a dildo coated in leprosy, I felt a wave of relief usually reserved for a negative STD test… As I dodged questions about my thoughts, I realised with growing stoke that I was immune.
Immunity from the Herd?
“Immune from having fun ya fucken dick” mouths the Rodfather as he reads this, but I felt absolutely zero compulsion for a second datE or to set fire to $15k the next day. Don’t get me wrong, I can see the appeal here and now fully get why this is not only propping up the bike market, but also has the industry frothing. No wonder the Dutch Taliban wanted that Heckler pumped out ASAP.
This is the point where the E-vangalists will jump in and accuse me of confirmation bias, which I can understand, so if it’s any consolation at least now I can relate to why people are frothing on E. However I have no motivation to pick up the red hotline phone on my desk which links instantly to The Hub to order me a Fox and XTR equipped Heckler or any other brand for that matter.
But my stoke at realising I have immunity from CoronEvirus has been mildly tempered by the fact that this also means I will be e-xcluded from life within the cult. With my GC’s becoming EC’s, I suspect this is a conundrum many of us will face and something I will no doubt ponder as I’m out doing solo acoustic laps and relishing in my own suffering. How do we manage the social impacts of this pandemic? I mean, look at the poor fuckers, missing an ‘A’ and all:
So at the end of the day, do I know my enemy any better? Enough to know that this very much feels like a different sport. It may look the same, smell the same or taste the same at times, but it’s very different. I’ve also concluded that there is no stopping the spread of CoronEvirus, which is a pretty obvious statement, but it’s going to continue to rage out of control.
At least now I can appreciate the phenomenal way these bikes go uphill, and how intoxicating that must be in wiping out an aspect of riding many people hate or try to avoid. As such I can see the appeal for a massive swath of people, how easy CoronEvirus is spreading, or why so few of us are immune.
I’m not sure there is a vaccine either, short of making sure you have some drop handlebar bikes in your armada to help inoculate yourself. Thanks, I think, to the RodfathEr, Jeffrey E-pstein and Professor Maxwell for the initiation and helping me confirm my immunity.
I’m off to both bask in said immunity, wade through the flood of hate mail/comments abuse I’ve now received for riding an eBike (Proof that in a modern partisan world there really is NO winning) and to try and make myself relevant to my friends on eDominated WhatsApp groups… All while vomiting on my deck (best not said in a kiwi accent) to remind myself why I love human cycling so much.