Essentially every man, woman, and child over the age of ten knows who Elzie Crisler Segar's Wimpy is. Wimpy was Popeye's compadre. He was lazy, gluttonous, and at times cowardly. Wimpy prized one thing over all others: his beloved hamburgers. His intense burger-love became so iconic that a chain of burger joints opened up named after him. Now, I've never eaten at a Wimpy's, but the imagery that his name conjures of glorious pyramids built out of hamburgers makes me want to. That said, while Wimpy was famous for his appetite, fans of the cartoon also synonymized him with some of his other traits. You see, Wimpy was somewhat of a scam artist and a coward.
Wimpy was always looking to grift a free meal and weasel his way out of situations he often himself had caused. Some of his famous lines include "I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today," or when he was trying to placate an angry mob: "I'd like to invite you over to my house for a duck dinner." Once at a safe distance he'd yell "You bring the ducks!"
"What on earth does this have to do with an electric bike?" Relax fella, we're getting to it. Working in an electric bike shop for some years now, we've met a wide variety of people. All of these people are drawn to electric bikes for a good number of reasons and for different purposes. Every once in a while you get that one customer in the store looking for an accessory or one of our non-electric folding bike models with a very specific attitude towards the electric bikes. This attitude generally plays out as follows: the customer looks around, notices the electric bikes, inquires about them, scoffs, and states "Electric bikes... isn't an electric bike cheating? I don't know, isn't it kind of wimpy?" An image of Wimpy, hamburger in hand, immediately pops into mind. The image of him in the same physical space as an electric bike simply doesn't make sense. The attributes he represents (so very much so that his name is directly literal) just don't jive with the electric bike community.
If your purpose for using an electric bike is to win the Tour de France by employing a secret electric motor for bicycle, then yes, an electric bike is cheating. If your goal in life is to become a no-holds-barred extreme fighting champion, wrestle large predatorial cats for sport, and kick down as many sand castles as you can during your free time, then yes, an electric bike is wimpy. But then again, in that case so is receiving first aid when wounded, using oven mitts, enjoying the sound of an acoustic guitar, and brushing your teeth. For those of you that partake in competitive cycling or have virulently competitive personalities, an electric bike is not for you. An electric bike does not fit into your persona. But for everyone else, biking isn't about being the fastest and the toughest. For most people, biking is about functionality or fun. And since when is functionality or fun supposed to be hard? By definition, the harder something is, the less functional it is. And, more often than not, people like their pleasures simple. According to this logic, electric bikes make nothing but sense.
People ride electric bikes for so many reasons. Some people use them to commute to work. An electric bike will replace a car, reduce pollution, and allow you to get gentle exercise. Or, if you need to get to work appearing completely presentable, an electric bike will let you commute without breaking a sweat. An electric bike is practical because it is infinitely cheaper than a car, to maintain or purchase one. It's cheaper than taking taxis or car service. For others, electric bikes allow them to conquer distances or hills that prevented them from biking prior. In that sense, an electric bike is an enabler, further building the cycling community. Others yet turn to electric bikes due to knee surgery or the aging process. An electric bike allows them to continue to pursue what they love, what they're passionate about. It lets them keep up with the grandkids. Other people yet simply ride electric bikes because they're fun. At the end of the day, electric bikes encourage cycling, promote it by making it as user friendly as possible, and help extend its benefits to the riders and their communities. This is hardly anything to scoff at.
Now, all of that said, please look at the man depicted to your right. Can you envision this man on an electric bike? No. No you cannot. Wimpy would not ride an electric bike. He definitely would not. He definitively would not. His essence, that which he is, simply does not correspond with the mere idea of an electric bike.