Checking In With Pro Downhill & Enduro Racer Anneke Beerten
“Whoa, the dirt is amazing today!” With a big smile on my face, I carved my turns in the mountain bike park of Snow Summit in Big Bear, California. Thunderstorms had finally started rolling into the mountains at the end of summer, and the dirt was in great condition. The tires were digging in instead of surfing over the loose California gravel. After finishing my run, I was ready to roll back into the chairlift line and head back up. Unfortunately, the lift had stopped running because of the storm that was developing in the distance. I was disappointed and thought, “I wish I had my Specialized Levo e-bike with me so I could just keep riding and do a few more runs and enjoy the current conditions.”
Most of the time people get called out for being lazy when riding an e-bike. But, riding a pedal-assist bike is anything but lazy for me. After racing the UCI World Championships E-Mountain Bike event in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, last year and winning a bronze medal, I can tell you that it was physically one of the hardest races I have ever done! Super-steep climbs, long technical downhills, and over an hour of pushing that bike and myself over the max! I got a lot of positive comments on social media after that race, but also a lot of negative comments and people hating on me for racing.
Pedal-assist bikes have opened up the opportunity for many more people to start cycling, and they can be used for many more things. I love seeing parents towing their young kids up the mountain with the support of an e-bike. Parents are getting a good workout in, and the kids can get to the top and shred double the amount that they normally would. I do not come from a family that is into cycling at all. My dad was always complaining that it was too windy in the Netherlands to ride. But a few years ago he bought an e-bike and started cycling with my mom. On average, they ride 50 miles a week now!
I understand that not everyone is a fan of e-bikes, and that we still need to work on the trail behavior of some of the people who are riding them. Be mindful and respectful of each other on the trail! Have respect for hikers, families with kids and other cyclists.
I’m currently recovering from a concussion sustained in a car accident, and I am not allowed to do any high-intensity training. My e-bike is the perfect recovery tool at the moment.
The other day I was doing a small, easy cross-country loop on my e-bike. I stopped at the top of the climb and someone said to me, “You look like a fit girl. Why are you on an e-bike?”
I answered, “Because it makes me happy.” Riding makes me happy no matter what kind of bike I ride, but riding my e-bike is like the cherry on top of the cake or the bubbles in my La Croix. It’s that little extra that makes me smile even more.
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.