A specific class of electric-assist bikes is now allowed on all trails, gondolas, and lifts on Forest Service land for the first time.
Say what you will about e-bikes, but they are definitely here to stay. And not just around town and along grocery store bike racks. Pedal-assist mountain bikes are adding speed and accessibility to rugged singletrack and off-road trails.
And California’s Mammoth Bike Park opened the door even further, granting unprecedented access to e-mountain bikes. Announced this month, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will allow Class 1 e-bikes throughout Mammoth Bike Park. The move makes Mammoth the first park on USFS land to allow unfettered access to electric bicycles.
Mammoth to Allow e-Bikes in 2018
The decision follows a “thorough review” by the USFS on the impact and safety of e-bikes in the park.
“This approval allows rapidly emerging recreational use e-bikes to be implemented in the SUP [special use permit] boundaries with appropriate oversight by MMSA,” said Margie Derose, acting district ranger. “We determined that Mammoth Mountain would have the ideal bike patrol park staff to implement this use and manage it accordingly to minimize any issues if they arise.”
Only Class 1 eMTBs – pedal assist with a max speed under 20 mph – will receive permits. With a permit, visitors may ride anywhere within park boundaries, including lifts and gondolas. But according to Mammoth, the e-bikes will allow “an alternative for up and side-hill travel,” as most people take lifts.
According to Joani Lynch, Mammoth Mountain’s vice president of brand marketing, e-bikes will improve “access and inclusivity” within the park.
“They give us the ability to introduce mountain biking to new and different audiences,” she said. “And having reviewed the impact and usage of e-bikes on trail systems in Europe, where they’re quite common, we think they’ll fit well into our bike park.”
Riders with a qualifying bike can purchase a park pass. But those without a bike of their own can rent from a fleet of Trek demo bikes at the park, starting at $59 for four hours. Plus, Mammoth will host individual and group e-bike lessons and guided tours.
Mammoth Bike Park opens May 25. If you’re interested in visiting, check out the park’s website for passes and info on tours and rentals.