Fully Charged: Bikes & Beards


In the bike world, beards are part of the culture. You see a lot of cyclists with beards, and some are pretty impressive. I’ve never really grown one before now, because I didn’t care for that much hair on my face. 

Every year I eschew shaving for the month of November. It’s part of the No-Shave November movement, which is a drive to bring awareness about cancer and how its treatment causes hair loss. The idea is to donate what you would have spent in shaving costs (blades, cream, etc.) to education about cancer prevention. 

Every December I shave it off, but this is never done in one day. I typically leave part of it in the most ridiculous way for a couple more days. Sometimes I’ll have mutton chop sideburns, while last year I made myself look almost Amish. 

This year, however, at my girlfriend’s request, I kept it. “I can shave it off any time,” I thought, “so why not?” To my surprise, it came in fast and full. I got chided by some of my coworkers, sometimes called Grizzly Adams (you have to be old enough to remember that show!), etc. It makes for a fun work environment.


I live in Santa Monica, a lively beach community where there’s a grand chasm between those who own or rent there and the growing homeless population. I don’t blame the homeless, I can’t think of a place I’d rather live. The temperature is pretty good all year round, very little rain, and unfortunately a city government that looks the other way on homelessness.

The funny thing about having a big, bushy beard is that I have to be careful with how I dress. If I have on shabby clothes, some people avoid me like the plague (or is that measles?) when I walk down the street. 

The Santa Monica city council made the beach bike path off limits to any electric vehicle, even pedal-assist bikes. The cause was all the accidents on e-scooters (e.g. Bird, Lime) making the SMPD have a problem codifying and enforcing anything. I was angered by it, not only because it is one of my favorite places to ride bikes that I review, but also because the scooter companies can absolutely geo-fence places where they’re not supposed to be. 

“I typically leave part of it, in the most ridiculous way, for a couple more days.”

For those unfamiliar, geo-fencing is a virtual fence that can be set up anywhere. They make kid and senior tracking devices that can alert people if grandpa absentmindedly wanders out of the house. The scooter companies have proven that they can shut down their scooters if they travel into or out of specific areas using geo-fencing, but they refuse to do so. 

I’m also limited in where I can ride off-road, as the current federal law governing the National Parks is that e-bikes are “motorized vehicles.” This covers the Santa Monica Mountains right by where I live. I’m hoping this gets helped by so many states now adopting PeopleForBikes’ three-class system. Wyoming just did, becoming the 13th state so far. 

I try to help the cause as much as I can by spreading the word and getting people to take a demo ride on whatever bike I have with me at the time. 

Seeing those e-bike smiles is what it’s all about. Getting more people on two wheels is the goal!


In this issue we have a new feature called “Readers and Their Rides.” In this one we feature an amazing-looking build inspired by WWII bombers and vintage motorcycles. Check it out on page 10, and if you have a build or even a bike you’ve customized from stock and are proud of, let us know. 

This issue also features our first ride aboard a new, full-suspension e-MTB built by Brent Foes. Foes is a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, and he has been designing and building hardcore mountain bikes that have been used by some of the top gravity racers in the sport. Brent is never one to let any new technology pass his welder by, and like so many others, he decided to see what would happen if he put pen to paper and flame to aluminum to build the ultimate e-MTB.


In addition to the e-bike racing found at the Sea Otter this year, there has been a lot of activity when it comes to competition. From the GNCC to the Boogaloo series that ventures out of California to the UCI-sanctioned World Championship in Mont-Sainte-Anne in Canada, you can expect to see more coverage here of not just the racing, but how new technology is playing a role in advancing the bikes we all ride.

With USA Cycling now involved and working actively to configure rules for the future of e-bike racing, and big industry players getting involved with rider and event sponsorship (always with a tip of the hat to Troy Lee for his earliest efforts), we can say that it is definitely an exciting time to think about e-bike competition.  


I’d love to hear some great reader stories about how e-bikes have changed your life. E-mail me stories and pictures at [email protected]. You can also send them in snail mail or via passenger pigeon. Until then, get out and ride!


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