Ever heard of electric bikes? When it comes to ebikes I’ll be the first to ‘fess up that I was quite sceptical in the early days.
Way back in the late Nineties and early Noughties (when I first heard rumours about these fancy new-fangled bits of tech) I figured that they were most likely just a bog-standard pedal bicycle with a big old lawnmower engine welded on to the back end. Practical? Possibly. But I didn’t really feel that they were going to have the “Cool factor” that I craved.
But, fast forward a decade or so, and I began hearing more details about them and I thought to myself okay, maybe, they’re closer to motorbikes. Take off the petrol motor and replace it with an electronic motor? I reckoned that they’d probably look like those impossibly futuristic-looking bikes in the film, Tron. Very, very cool but, unfortunately, with a decent chance of getting me wrapped around a large oak tree.
Fast forward a bit further and I decided to do some detailed research on these intriguing new bikes and found they’re actually really incredible. Whilst they can absolutely do all that standard pushbike stuff, they can actually do a huge amount more.
Interested? Want more? Okay, let’s have a quick look to whet your appetite a bit more.
Why are ebikes so good?
If you start off by picturing an ebike just like a standard pushbike. Usual quantity of wheels (two, plus some three-wheeled adult e trikes), comfy saddle, light aluminium frame, pair of pedals, and handlebars). But then it’s taken to the max by adding some electric magic, coming in the thrilling form of a powerful electronic motor and li-ion battery.
These are known as ‘Pedal-assist’ bicycles. In layman’s terms that means, as you spin the pedals, the electric motor will kick in and deliver a power boost to your legs, making pedalling even easier! You’ll find that getting up to the summit of steep hills becomes a dream (particularly when you get the chance to cruise past some non-electric bicyclists). Long bike rides are a breeze! Carrying heavy loads of gear (such as a week’s food shopping) is a pinch. And you don’t end the day with knackered and tired legs either.
The tech for ebikes has made giant leaps forward in the last decade or so. The batteries last a great deal longer, plus they’re easy and quick to charge up again. The electric motors are also very powerful. One of the big plusses for me is that many e bikes don’t even look different to standard pushbikes because they’ve got those motors / batteries stashed away in the frame. But don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me!
Who are ebikes so good for?
It wasn’t long ago that ebikes suffered from a bit of negative PR. There was this assumption amongst some people (and probably the media) that ebikes were purely for folk who couldn’t be bothered to actually use pedal a ‘proper’ pushbike. Thankfully though, times have changed as people wake up to the benefits of these ‘super’ e bikes.
So, who benefits from them? Let’s look at a couple of case studies.
If you’ve put on a pound or kilo here and there, and are keen to get into a new healthy lifestyle, then you might be mulling over a fitness program. Cycling can be a fantastic form of exercise as it’s not high-impact. Sadly, when you’re overweight, the mere thought of saddling-up on a bike and setting out to cycle ten miles or so can be fairly intimidating. What if you feel too tired when you’re halfway round? What if you don’t have the strength in your legs to get you up those steep slopes?
That’s where ebikes are great. They’re generally built to be more rugged than a normal pushbike (with many suitable for riders of over 300Lbs) and they’ve also got the power to get you up and over those hills and along those miles. You’ll still burn lots of calories (and shed the weight!) but you’ll be able to do it with a bike that makes you feel safe.
If you’ve ever commuted on a (non-electric) bike you’ll know that it’s not exactly a whole heap of laughs. There’s a decent chance that you’ll get to your workplace, kitted out in your best suit and tie, but sweaty and very tired, with a face that looks more akin to a bright red tomato. Not exactly an image that’s going to get you that much-hoped-for job promotion any time soon. Take an e bike though and the experience will be totally different.
Have your usual invigorating shower and get dressed in your tailor-made Saville Row suit, then jump on the ebike and allow it do all the hard graft for you on the journey in. You’ll arrive crisp, fresh, dry and ready for that job promotion. On the way back, you’ll maybe choose to jump into the lycra road racing gear to target a ‘PB’ time…or just relax and enjoy coasting home under electric power. The choice, as they say, is all yours!
To sum up...
You’ll have guessed by now that I’m a bit of a fan of e bikes. With those powerful lithium-ion batteries and high-efficiency motors, that keep going mile after mile, they’re such have such great benefits to so many people in getting from A to B. They can be a great choice for folk who’re keen to move to a healthier, greener travel choice. Why don’t you get involved with this new e biking movement and go and grab an electric bike for yourself! Have fun! Ben bicyclevolt
Submitted by Ben Jones. Thanks Ben!