Just over on the other side of the English Channel, the Tour de France is roaring through the Gallic countryside at a frighteningly fast pace. Riders hit average speeds of well over 40km/h, holding this impressive and energetic pace for up to 5 hours at a time. The physical toll of the 3 week event is up there as one of the most demanding in professional sport; cyclists regularly need to consume up to 8000 calories a day just to maintain the energy to compete! It’s unsurprising, therefore, that certain individuals in the sport’s colourful past have sought out underhand tactics to give them an advantage and a place in cycling’s folkloric history. One invention that has caught the limelight in recent years is ‘electronic doping’, the use of secret motors hidden within the expensive bikes themselves. But how realistic a claim is this?
In 2014, a Canadian rider crashed during a high speed descent in the Vuelta de España, coming off his bike in the process. Yet, somewhat mysteriously, the rear wheel of the bike continued to spin at a high rate despite there being no driving force on the pedals. The event was caught on camera by a TV team, shown on the slow-motion video below. Immediately, skeptics descended on the event with a range of conspiracy theories and ideas about the ‘electronic doping’ that might be taking place right in the highest levels of the sport:
Such claims have been circulating for several years, to the point where the sport’s governing body, the UCI, have begun to x-ray bikes and use heat detectors to seek out illicit technology. Ryder Hesjedal, the Canadian rider in question, was eventually found to have done nothing wrong – the rear wheel’s continued spin was an unlikely and quite misleading physical occurrence, as proven in the video below:
Here at Fully Charged, we’ve never knowingly provided a member of the professional peloton with an e-bike, but if you want to experience the thrill of cycling quickly and confidently thought town, come down to our showroom in London Bridge and take one of our e-bikes for a spin!
Video Credit: CyclingHub14