The most common taunt about e-bikes is that the use of an electric motor in a pedal-based sport is cheating.
There is a common myth that electric bikes are like scooters or mopeds, but this simply isn’t true. E-bikes are pedal-assist, which means they use a small electric motor to boost the power created by your own pedalling.
To ride an e-bike you still have to pedal, and pedalling takes effort. You pedal and the bike just boosts your power. Now, the more sceptical of you may argue that this is still cheating, but let me put it to you another way:
Yes, electric bikes make cycling that bit easier, but this only makes people more likely to do it. We applaud anything that stops people being put off by cycling, especially if it helps achieve what we all want—more people cycling and fewer people using cars. Add to this more people getting up off their bottoms and getting onto a bike in the first place.
I simply don’t find the thought of struggling to get up hills appealing. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the fun of being on a bike.
The truth is that even fit, experienced cyclists may be tempted to reach for the car keys when faced with a long, tough journey that involves steep hills. So if e-bikes help people get up hills or bike around to run errands, that can only be a good thing. They’re also great for keeping cyclists active while they have injuries, or helping people keep cycling as they get older.
Electric bikes are fantastic for commuters because you can get where you are going in good time, in your work clothes, without breaking a sweat. And, if you buy the right e-bike, you can switch the motor off completely and still get the exercise you want and need.
The New York Times outlines research undertaken by the University of Colorado. The researchers wanted to determine whether electric bikes — even with the added assistance of a motor — would provide a meaningful workout for people who previously had not been exercising much. After one month, the researchers found the riders were healthier and more fit, with significantly greater aerobic fitness, better blood sugar control, and, as a group, a trend toward less body fat.
With increased fitness and other health benefits being only a small part of the benefits an e-bike offers, we firmly believe that the future is electric.