Are E-bikes Good for Fitness?September 7, 2022
As an e-bike blogger, I have become used to this question popping up, “Why would you want a motor on a pedal bike, surely people ride to get fitter?”
It depends on how you look at e-bikes. They are not a rival to the expensive cycles ridden by lycra-clad 20-somethings with miniature biceps in their calf muscles. They are however a competitor to the petrol-guzzling motor car and they are an attractive proposition to the vast majority of us that want to go a long way on their bike but haven’t frankly got the energy to tackle big hills, endless roads and every mile – it’s not like going for a ride on a bike should always equate to a vigorous gym workout.
In a recent survey of riders of their brand of e-bikes with Leeds University, they found that 38% of riders replaced their cars for smaller trips with the e-bike and 77% used them daily. That’s a big saving on petrol and car running costs that can go straight back into the home budget. In fact, you can save rather a lot of money by buying an e-bike!
But e-bikes are not just a way of saving money. People buy them to get out in the air, to pedal, but with the safe knowledge of having the back-up of a motor when they need it and this means they are leading a fitter and healthier regular regime. The aforementioned survey also revealed that people with e-bikes go 10 times further per week on them compared to their normal bikes (an average user covers around 1200 miles per annum compared to 120 miles per annum on a non-electric bike). When you take on a journey of, for example, 10 miles you will most likely pedal about half that distance on the flats and so that might be a good five mile journey – more than many ride on a normal bicycle. So – this is in the realms of keeping fit.
Another important point which we know to be true from interacting with dealers on a regular basis is that people that buy e-bikes are often people who are overcoming a fear of cycling. They may be in old age, they may be unfit, and they may be overcome or dealing with current injury or mobility issues, but the fact is that an e-bike gives reassurance to users that may need the backup help of a motor when riding.
In summary, e-biking is something of a unique proposition. Any idea that the electric motor robs the rider of a chance to improve fitness simply is not founded and to the contrary – electric bikes in general empower a wide range of riders of all abilities and ages to get off the sofa, get out of the door and to simply get riding!