E-Bikes have long had a stigma with comments around laziness often being thrown into the conversation. We explore how e-bikes can be used to keep you fit and why the benefits of power-assisted travel outweigh the scepticism of fellow riders.
Are e-bikes cheating?
The misconception with e-bikes is that you sit on the bike and the motor does all the work. Many sceptics in the past have coined e-biking as cheating, when in fact, this is totally not the case. You still have to pedal continuously and the battery simply gives you a little extra oomph behind each rotation.
Why are e-bikes good?
There are many physical and mental benefits to riding an electric bike. Electric bikes are helping to break down barriers for those that would otherwise not travel on two-wheels at all.
Having a little pedal power allows riders to travel further to new places and tackle new routes without running out of energy early on in the ride. Discovering new routes along with being able to take on usual obstacles such as hill climbs is highly motivating. Motivation will make riders want to get on the bike more and more riding equals more fitness.
Riding with a group
E-bikes allow riders to keep up with friends when perhaps they would have usually opted out of a group ride, or felt like they were holding the group up. Riding with friends is a great social activity, can relieve stress and boost happiness. The more you enjoy an activity, the more likely you are to keep doing it and friends can keep you accountable too, motivating riders to keep getting on their bike.
For some, e-bikes are the push they need to be able to swap the car for two wheels but still get to work quickly. Using an electric bike to get to and from work (unless working from home of course!) ticks off a form of exercise for the day as well as a mode of transport, meaning you've got more downtime when you get home and are less likely to skip it altogether.
How do ebikes improve fitness?
Above we mentioned that riding an electric bike allows riders to venture further afield and try new routes. When working out, it is not just upping the intensity of an exercise that builds fitness. Upping the duration of sessions also has huge aerobic benefits which will start to improve overall endurance. Top athletes in many sports do a combination of higher intensity and longer slower duration exercises in their training plans for optimum performance and it is no different at less elite levels. Health care specialists recommend get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, so upping the distance you can pedal will help many people tick this box.
Increase heart rate
When riding a power-assisted bike you can choose how much assistance you need as you go but riders still have to pedal. If you don't pedal, you don't move. The motion of pedalling, no matter how hard or soft, will increase breathing and heart rate and gets the blood pumping. As the heart works harder, the body burns more calories. Over time and with continued activity, this will equate to improved endurance and weight loss.
Less time on uplifts
Even more experienced mountain bike riders are seeing an improvement in their overall fitness when switching to e-bikes because they are spending less time on uplifts and instead are using the bike to get back up to the top of a trail. Although assisted, riders are still pushing down on their pedals and therefore spending more total time on their bikes during an average session. Having an ebike doesn't mean a rider should use the assisted power the entire ride. To help build strength in the legs, we recommend turning on eco-mode every now and then. This will allow a rider to really put some of their own power behind each pedal stroke and fire up the big leg muscles.
Can you lose weight with an ebike?
Ebikes are a great way of kick starting weight loss. Cycling, power assisted or not, is a great cardio workout that improves health throughout your whole body. Cardio is a way of increasing heart rate helps to burn calories which in turn can help to burn fat and lose excess weight.
There are different types of e-bikes for different disciplines of cycling. Want to hit the trails, the road or want to ride as more of a casual commuter?