The future of two wheels.
More and more people are consistently using bicycles to get to their offices, yet the powerhouse behind this change in culture is undeniable. The massive investment in bike-sharing programs, bike lanes, and more pedestrian-friendly streets act as huge incentives for regular people like you and me, to play our part in helping the environment, and improve safety out on the roads.
At the front of this revolution is the E-Bike; of course, to the regular eye, it just resembles another bicycle. What separates this one from the rest of the pack is that it comes completely equipped with a number of batteries, a motor, and a control system. This emerging alternative has been predicted to change not just the way that we commute radically, but how any savvy city-goer gets his way around.
British people are living longer than ever before, urban areas are becoming increasingly dense, and the traffic in some of the major UK cities is getting worse than even thought possible. Many city planners - particularly those in the capital, London, have taken note of this and continually strive to make it easier to bike around the city. As the authorities plan for future growth in populations, they are faced with the challenge of having to innovate solutions to solve the logistical issues of such large numbers of traffic. This, in itself, creates a massive market for the introduction of commuter-friendly vehicles that don’t require large amounts of steel, fossil fuels, or vast amounts of sweat either.
Elsewhere in Europe and even in China, sales have exploded in volume and continued to grow even further. In fact, sales are expected to grow to 130 million in just the next three years, according to the Guardian.
Additionally, in the Netherlands, which is currently the most bike-friendly region in the world. E-bike sales now make up approximately one-third of all bike sales. 40% of these e-bike users report that this mode of transport will replace the car that they use for commutes.
Okay, so it’s probable now that you’ve been convinced of all the reasons why e-bikes are becoming more and more popular, yet still have no idea how they work, or what they are.
So here is a simple yet comprehensive guide on everything that you need to know about a bike, and how exactly they function.
How E-Bikes Work
When you take a look at an e-bike, you are likely to struggle to differentiate it from any other bike that you see. There is a common myth that an e-bike is like a scooter, but nothing could be further from the truth. In the end, they are just bicycles with an electric motor added. They have the same handlebars and wheels as traditional bikes, and the mechanical elements all work in the same way as a regular bike, which includes both the brakes and pedals.
The only thing that separates like from regular bicycles is the electric drive system. Without getting into too much detail, this includes a motor, a display, and a battery. It is this battery that powers the electric motor, providing more assistance as you pedal, which helps to propel the bike forwards.
But here is the bit that concerns most people: How does it actually feel to ride an E-Bike? The short answer is that riding an e-bike isn’t too dissimilar from riding any regular bike. You will get in the bike and begin to pedal before you know it, the electric motor will kick in (with your chosen level of assistance), and you’ll be riding along just by gently pushing the pedals. The transition of the electric motor is so smooth that you will rarely actually notice when it kicks in.
Setting off from a standing start becomes easy, and you will be able to glide up hills without feeling out of breath by the end of it all, not to mention that you can kiss goodbye to strong headwinds, as you breeze through them all (excuse the pun).
How fast are they?
So with all of this electric motor and battery power, you must be wondering at this stage, how fast can you get around with an e-bike. The answer is: it depends.
In line with EU regulations, the motor itself will help you reach speeds of approximately 25km/h, and if you want any quicker than that, then you’re going to have to clench your teeth and use maximise the pedal power from your legs. This means that if you want to go very fast, the motor will not help you - the power however from a 250w motor is the same as having an olympian cyclist pedalling with you.
If you are taking your bike on a commute, however, you can get to the office a little bit quicker. The reason for this is because they make pedalling so much easier; you will feel less tired and sweaty, therefore allow you to maintain a more consistent speed throughout your journey. However, e-bikes are made for easy cycling and not breaking extensive speed records.
Are there any regulations I need to be aware of?
One common misconception that people have concerning bikes is that rules and regulations limit them; in reality, however, that is wholly untrue. While unlike regular bikes, bikes are considered to be motorised transport, which does does mean that they are subject to some laws on power and speed, but none of these are truly going to affect your experience as an e-bike owner and rider.
The only regulation that you need to be aware of is that you must be 14 or older to ride an e-bike, apart from that, it’s the same as any other bike. Unlike other motor vehicles, you don’t need a license to ride one, they don’t need to be registered, and no vehicle tax or insurance is required. They are eligible on all cycle paths and anywhere else where a regular bike is permitted.
So the question is, ‘Why is this new method booming in popularity?’. While reading these statistics and figures, you must be desperate to know what is in it for YOU; and how exactly purchasing an E-Bike can have a positive effect on your health and your quality of life.
To explain the benefits of E-Bikes, we have gathered some of the most prominent reasons why it is more effective than traditional cycling and added in some other benefits that can be experienced with this new technology, as well as debunking some common myths about this method of transport. See our range by hitting the tab in the menu bar above, or in the hamburger menu on mobile.
Why an E-Bike is more effective than traditional bikes
1. You can go faster, for further, for much longer
The most apparent benefit if an e-bike is this one. People who regularly enjoy cycling to work or any other place can do so without having to get sweaty or out of breath. Thanks to the added bit of power from the batteries and motor, you can travel much greater distances for a more extended period. They allow you to go much faster than the majority of cyclists and even some cars, thanks to the traffic congestion on gridlocked roads.
2. You will stay fit
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter if you have the bonus of an electric motor, if you are riding on the bike, you are still pedalling. This is good for all parts of your body, including your heart, lungs, and blood pressure. In addition to that, a vast number of scientific studies point towards regular exercise and reduced stress levels.
One study at the University of Basel found that bike had almost as many health benefits as regular cycling. Over four weeks, the difference in health gain was very similar to those who had been on regular bikes.
Also, if you would love to ride a bike, but your current level of fitness doesn’t allow you to do so, an e-bike is a great way to get active without putting too much stress on your body.
3. They are safer than regular bikes
Most cycling accidents take place on junctions, crossroads, and roundabouts. Usually, the cause of these accidents can be appointed to the fact that it does take a little bit of time for a cyclist to get up to speed when starting from a complete halt. Having that little boost from the battery can aid cyclists to get out of the danger zone a little bit quicker. Also, this small boost means that you are less likely to jump a red light because you won’t have to worry about sacrificing all of your momenta.
4. They will save you money
A new, high-quality e-bike is available for approximately £600, While the costs of maintenance usually are only the same as running a regular bike. When you do the sums, you will find that it is often much cheaper than maintaining a petrol or diesel car, and less than having to fork out on season tickets for public transport
5. Fantastic for dealing with hills
When it comes to tackling large, intimidating hills, e-bikes are really in a league of their own. They usually come fitted with a variety of power options, so if you find yourself struggling on the uphill, all that you have to do is crank the power up to the next level and breeze up the slope. This is one of the reasons why a bike is growing in popularity amongst mountain bike users. It means they get to spend less time in the tiring, uphill section, and more time heading downhill.
6. Makes headwinds less gruesome
Possibly the most frustrating adversary that Mother Nature can throw at cyclists: a headwind. When you have a strong gust spurring you on, you’re in paradise, but when you are facing one head-on, it’s almost as if someone upstairs doesn’t want you to reach your destination on time. You would be surprised at the difference that just a little boost in power can have when you’re trying to tackle a headwind on an e-bike.
7. You can explore the world
If you are a huge fan of touring bikes, then you will love bikes. E-Bikes are known to have wider tyres, and many others also have eyelets to ensure that racks can be fitted too. This means that riding over long distances is not only more comfortable, but it is also manageable, as you can always count on the broad electric motor underneath you to give you that little extra boost.
8. You don’t have to deal with traffic
Perhaps this is the very best reason of them all. Yes, an e-bike will save you from the misery of morning traffic. Even though you are a motorised vehicle, you don’t need to have a license yet, and you are still authorised to use the cycle lanes. Because you can lean on the electric motor, you won’t arrive to work sweaty and out of breath. In addition to that, you won’t have to dread the long journey home after a tough day at the office at work.
For example, one Dutch study showed that individuals in the Netherlands with an e-bike often commute 50% further on an e-bike than a conventional bike.
9. They can be entertaining
Lastly, riding an e-bike is a genuinely fun experience. Even though it may seem very similar to a pedal bike, except when you push on the pedals, you will get perhaps triple or quadruple the amount of power per stroke. When you bear in mind how many times you strike the brakes, this all adds up pretty quickly to offer you a smooth, enjoyable, and fast ride.
Now you might be convinced of the benefits of an e-bike already, yet still, have a little voice in the back of your head telling you that ‘now may not be the right time’ or that you will ‘do it in the future.’ Let me explain why that is wrong.
There are countless examples of why now is the perfect time to get an e-bike if you are living in the UK. The development of infrastructure and technology makes it the ideal time to hop on the saddle of an electric bike.
Perhaps the most significant barrier to beginning cycling is perceived safety. Nowadays, however, you can take great peace of mind in knowing that this is the safest time to cycle in UK history. The development of proper cycling facilities in cities all over England and Scotland makes it more reliable than ever to get about by bicycle. While there still may be some work to do to make the UK’s streets completely safe, there is now only one accident every million miles ridden, according to the department for Transport.
There are only approximately 100 cyclists who are killed in an accident every year, yet when compared to the 100,000 people who die every year thanks to long term inactivity, it puts this figure into perspective.
Even despite pollution levels outdoors, the benefit to risk ratio is considered to be around 7:1. For example, a new study shows that the health gains to be had from walking and cycling outweigh the disadvantages that can be had - even in the most highly polluted areas of Beijing and India.
As the world emerges from a global pandemic, this is the best time for anyone interested in purchasing an e-bike to do so. The kind of cycling infrastructure that has been improved all around the world, in countries such as New Zealand, North America, and Germany, is likely to be used herein to Britain too. The number of people who choose to cycle to avoid public transport. I was only going to grow in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.
The only real option for the government is to improve the infrastructure and facilities that are available in the country for people to cycle. This is what makes it the perfect time for regular people to give e-bikes a try, and for those who Cycle traditionally, it could be their chance to sample some of the incredible benefits of having a small electric motor strapped underneath them. See our Best Electric Bike Guide.
In conclusion, then, it seems that amidst the massive spike in popularity, there are several benefits to be had from bike riding. Whether it be the health benefits that have been proven, the protection of the environment, or even the enjoyment that can be had from using a bike, it all seems to be worth the hype.
With the infrastructure and facilities improvements in cities around the UK, it seems like now may be the best time to try out something new.
Thank you for reading, and I wish you all the very best with your e-bike in the future. Electric Rider is always here to offer you a helping hand in making the right decision - feel free to use our ‘Help Me Choose’ Tool available on our website and our expert team will match you with your perfect bike!