11 Reasons to Get an Electric Bike
11 Reasons to Get an Electric Bike
Electric bike is becoming more popular as an affordable, healthy & low carbon car alternative. so having answered the fundamental question what is an ebike?, the next subject to consider is, what are the benefits of adding a motor to your pedal power?
From riding to work, to fast-tracking your route to the top of mountain bike trails, here are 14 benefits of riding an electric bike.
No. 1: An ebike will enhance Health and Fitness
Would you ride your common bike up the steep hill you live on just to buy a bottle of wine or a loaf of bread? Not likely – I’d take transit. Sadly, this would not make you fitter. But my electric bike will make you fitter.
Studies have suggested that ebike riders’ hearts can be working at more than 90 per cent the level of riders of non-assisted bikes, but riders may perceive less effort.
And the scientists concluded that riding an electric hybrid bike to work brought most of the benefits of commuting. Riders on ebikes averaged 89 per cent of the mean beats per minute they recorded riding without a motor.
No. 2: Faster riding to save your time
On your electric bike you will be able to cycle faster than the average cyclist, yet still use the cycle routes that cars and motorcycles cannot use. As a result, you may well find that your electric bike is your fastest way to get to work. And it doesn’t take up space and doesn’t cause traffic jams.
Personally I have never had a single commute on my electric bike where I did not at some point whiz past a car as if it was standing still. Usually I pass hundreds of almost stationary cars. Every time I drive past a car I am reminded of how much I loathe the experience of driving a car: locked in a tin can, getting mad at other drivers and having them get mad at me. When I am forced to drive I find myself staring wistfully at the cyclists whizzing past me, obviously full of joy and exercise-induced endorphins, and find myself seriously questioning one of the fundamental myths of modern society: the notion that the motor car represents convenience and freedom.
As I inch along in traffic gridlock, all I can think is: “HOW exactly is this convenience and freedom?”
Electric bike laws dictate that a bike’s motor will cut out once you ride over 25kph/15.5mph in most countries (although that increases to 20mph in the USA), so you might find you’re riding unassisted if you’re already quite fit and riding a performance machine, particularly if you’re riding an electric road bike.
But even so, unless you ride somewhere absolutely pan flat, your speed is likely to increase overall.
No. 3: Ebikes make it easier to climbing
Many cyclists struggle on hills, and even if you’re a climbing ace, your speed is likely to drop below 15mph on many climbs. That means the motor will cut in and provide assistance, with the amount dependent on the level of support you’ve selected.
Once you’ve crested a climb, you’ll be fresher too, so you’re less likely to want to stop to recoup and more likely to press on.
No. 4: No Sweat
Sweat is an important issue if you’re cycling to work, especially in Summer. If you get an ebike, you’ll ride cooler, as your effort level can be less thanks to the motor. If you’re commuting, that means you’ll arrive at work less hot than if you were riding a non-assisted bike. I loved this story, told by a committed cyclist who somewhat grudgingly tried out an electric bike:
“I changed my tune about electric bikes after my first long commute. I had mounted Schwinn’s top-of-the-line Tailwind e-bike in leafy Brooklyn, dubious of the proposition of a battery-powered bicycle. Cyclists, after all, ride to exercise. This seemed like cheating.
Seven miles later, by the time I got to Times Square, it dawned on me. The e-bike isn’t about exercise, strictly. It’s about commuting. The bike’s electric motor helped me climb up to the Brooklyn Bridge, and then ascend a long incline from the Hudson River to the traffic-choked heart of Manhattan. The Tailwind transformed a normally sweaty bike commute into a pleasant, energizing spin. Indeed, I had given up on bike commuting to work because the ride left me drenched, and with no shower at work, it was a no go. The e-bike made bike commuting possible again.”
(Adam Aston, “The Schwinn Tailwind: An E-bike for Commuters”, Bloomberg Business Week)
No. 5: Space saving
If you’re tight on space (who isn’t?), the best folding electric bikes pack down into small packages that you can store under the stairs or in a cupboard.
Even a non-folding electric hybrid bike will be a lot easier to find a space for than a car, if you live somewhere without off-street parking.
Most ebikes are heavier than their non-assisted counterparts, which is worth bearing in mind if you have to carry it up any stairs.
No 6: Electric Bikes are Safer
Would you think that a slow, regular bicycle would be safer than an electric bike? Not necessarily.
It’s a little known fact that women have been riding bikes since they were first invented. Their numbers have decreased as cars have invaded the streets and made cycling unsafe in most places. But an electric bike can make cycling in traffic safer
It is well known that male cyclists outnumber female cyclists pretty much everywhere (except in the Netherlands, where cycling is so safe that even small kids can commute by bike). Research indicates this has much to do with safety: cycling is perceived as unsafe, and because of this, many women don’t want to cycle (perhaps because of a sense of responsibility towards the many people that most women take care of). This is very unfortunate, not least because bike riding is so liberating (as Susan B. Anthony noticed a long time ago).
In this respect, I have a lot of hope for the potential of electric bikes. An electric bike is less dangerous than a regular bike in traffic. As soon as you start riding one, you will notice how the ability to quickly accelerate, and to occasionally keep up with motorized traffic, both help to keep you out of danger. You are less likely to be rear ended because motorists have more time to see you. Intersections are the scene of most collisions, and the fast acceleration of electric bikes gets you out of the danger zone faster. The fewer cars have to overtake you, the safer you are.
Plus, because you have power to help you go up hills, you don’t have the temptation to go downhill at high speeds to get your speed up for the upcoming ascent – definitely a useful safety feature. Also, cyclists on electric bikes are more likely to stop at stop signs and red lights, because they have the power to easily pull off again.
Research shows that electric bikes cause modern women to cycle more – so maybe their relatively greater safety is in fact helping us to move back to the good old days when the streets were full of women on bikes! 15 reasons to get an electric bike
Research shows that electric bikes cause modern women to cycle more – so maybe their relatively greater safety is in fact helping us to move back to the good old days when the streets were full of women on bikes! The beautiful ebike above is a Spark ebike, which is reviewed in-depth here
No. 7: An ebike is cheaper (and faster) than a car
The cost of this luxury is enormous, and in fact cars are usually the second biggest expense in most people’s budgets (after housing). Imagine the vacations you could afford if you could massively reduce this enormous expense. An electric bike will enable you to be completely or partly car-free, which will enable enormous savings.
For short-to-medium length journeys, an ebike is more efficient and less expensive than using a car. You don’t need to tax an ebike to ride it, and although it might be a good idea to buy electric bike insurance, this will be far cheaper than car insurance.
The cost per mile is also tiny relative to a car and for urban trips an ebike is often faster. Plus, it’s non-polluting, so it’s better for the environment.
If you need to get to the shops for a top-up, an ebike may get you there faster than a car journey, and there’s not the hassle of finding and perhaps having to pay for parking. Once you’ve shopped, the motor helps with carrying the extra weight of your purchases home.
An ebike journey is cheaper than public transport as well, and it’s point to point, so you probably won’t need to walk as far at either end of your trip.
Urban cities are becoming more and more congested and difficult to navigate in cars. On an electric bike, you move around quickly and cheaply, and park for free. So you will also avoid the cost of parking tickets.
For most people the thought of surviving without a personal car is daunting, and many people believe it is entirely impossible. However, when an electric bike is combined with transit and/or car hire, or co-op car schemes, or taxis, it becomes quite easy. Check to see what options are available in your area. For example, renting a car once a month for a day of shopping would cost just a tiny fraction of what it costs to own a car all the time.
No 8: Escape Gas Dependency with an Electric Bike and more environmentally friendly
The horrific BP oil spill in 2010 showed us that the gas on which we all depend is a very vulnerable commodity. And soaring prices constantly remind us that gas is a finite resource. But at the same time, over 90% of Americans still commute by car, and 77% of those drivers commute ALONE in their vehicles. We are devouring our expensive oil supplies like they will last forever – but they WON’T. Of course not everyone is going to stop driving cars completely – I know I haven’t. But if a lot more of us use an electric bike at least some of the time, we can certainly reduce oil consumption, and help to make our oil last longer.
No 9: An ebike will help you explore new places
An analysis of health and transport data from seven European cities found ebike riders took longer trips than cyclists without motors. Therefore, ebikers gained a similar amount of fitness gains to pedal-powered cyclists.
No. 10: Strengthen the legs & less muscle strain
Extra assistance means less strain on your muscles and joints, particularly since the motor will give you most support on hills and accelerations, when most effort is needed. That means you should need less recovery time and you’ll be fresher for another ride.
It’s helpful if you’re just getting into cycling, too, and maybe haven’t yet developed the muscles and beginner’s cycling skills you need to move fluently on the bike.
No. 11: Remove fat
In general, cycling is a great way to burn calories, because you’re so focused on the journey and the fun that you can easily spend several hours exercising.
It is possible to lose weight while cycling by applying a few simple techniques, both on and off the bike. These include eating regularly and reducing the amount of food that you eat. Cycling is often presented as a good alternative to low-impact aerobic exercise. Compared to running or jogging, it allows you to increase your heart rate with less wear and tear on your knees, ankles and other joints.
It is also a great way to help you lose extra pounds. In fact, you can burn an impressive number of calories while you pedal, especially if you ride at a faster pace.
Do you ride a electric bike? Share your experience to us!