The first time I saw an electric bike — better known as an ebike — I was struggling up a hill. Suddenly, a silver-haired man came whizzing by in regular city clothes. I felt a wave of envy as he left me in the dust.

That was probably five years ago, and since then ebike use has exploded. In 2020, ebike sales in the United States for just the month of June totaled roughly $90 million, up 190% from the previous June.

It’s hard to remember, but regular mountain bikes didn’t become commercially available until the 1980s, and when the early adopters hit trails previously used only by hikers and horseback riders, conflicts happened fast.

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