The rise in mass popularity of eBikes has been dividing opinions in the cycling community. Some people criticise eBikes for ruining the fun and purity of riding traditional bikes or laugh at them for being only for ‘lazy, fat and old people’. Well we are here to clear the myths and educate you on why an eBike shouldn’t be sneered at!
Our International Marketing Executive Kyle Gouveia, at Reid International Headquarters in Bournemouth, England has been commuting by an eBike for the last 5 months. So, we’ve got some practical opinions of someone who’s been commuting all his life but only recently has converted to electric.
What is an eBike? Who is it for?
Generally, an eBike – electric bike, is known as a bicycle which is assisted by a battery. Well, we know that some eBikes are allowed to be purely throttle, however for worldwide legality, today we’ll be discussing pedal assist eBikes, which still require you to pedal, but with a little boost!
For many cyclists who carry lots of cargo along with them, an eBike makes it easier to haul heavy luggage around. For bike riders who are not in their best health conditions owing to their age or illness, a pedal-assist bike can be their best friend. For regular commuters lke Kyle – our International Marketing Executive, who cycles to work every day, his eBike gets him to work comfortably and sweat-free on his daily 8-mile return commute.
According to Kyle, his eBike doesn’t understand a hill.
‘No more effort needed and no incline too steep, I go everywhere at the 25kph speed limit whether I’m going flat or up a hill’.
Sounds like the effortless climb that we always dream of for every time we reach a hill, don’t we? Especially for those long, steep climbs which you see almost everybody dismounting their bikes and push them to the top, from you’re Middle aged Man in Lycra to your novice cyclist.
Is it fair to criticise eBikes as ‘cheating’ and only ‘for the weak, old, lazy, overweight people’?
No. It’s absolutely unfair to criticise anything solely negatively, eBikes being no exception. Since the eBike we are discussing and legal across the world is pedal-assisted, it literally means that you still have to use your physical strength to cycle along your way; the bike doesn’t ride for you. If you cycle an eBike on difficult roads for a long time, you’ll definitely sweat just like riding a normal one. Hence, you can still shed some pounds and keep fit, cycling an eBike, especially if you’re going to push yourself as much as you would on a normal bike.
People who are overweight or physically challenged looking to get into cycling as a method of getting healthier, could benefit from some electric assistance to build up fitness on a bike, it makes getting out and riding less daunting. When their legs lack the strength to carry a heavier rider up the hill (even the best riders struggle with the steep ones!), there comes the power from the eBike to push them through. Furthermore, even cycling enthusiasts who are recovering from injuries or not as fit as they used to be, can still get outside and enjoy the pleasure of riding on an eBike. Obviously, people who still find the enjoyment out of cycling should not be ridiculed when they ride on pedal-assisted bikes and should be applauded for not giving up and still wanting to get out and explore…
… Having said that, it is unavoidable that eBikes are dividing the cycling community with all the unfavourable comments about ‘cheating’. Funnily enough, this school of thought once struck Kyle, BUT things have changed:
‘I was in a very similar camp before I got the eBike myself, however, once you ride electric it’s hard to point out the negatives. I respect that cycling is pure and the standard design for a bike has remained practically the same since invention, however, we can’t always stay in the past, we progress and it would be naive and bigoted to stay in the past when there’s such benefit to be gained. eBikes are for everyone, like a car would be for everyone, are cars just for the weak, the cheating, the old? Or should we all be Fred Flintstone, lift our cars up and run them where we need to go? No. eBikes are for everyone who wants to get where they want to go quicker and with less effort than other alternatives. Like a non-eBike is to walking, like a bike is to a motorbike, so on and so forth.’
We can’t agree more! Obviously, riding an eBike is nothing to be ashamed of.
So, what are the basic things to know about eBikes?
As its name – ‘electric bike’, you need to charge it time to time. For Kyle, it takes around a few hours to charge and at the moment, he’s charging it once a week on his 7/8-mile (11/12 km) round commute, around every 40 miles (64km). For many ebikes now and with all Reid models, the battery is detachable which makes it more convenient to carry it anywhere you want to charge it, instead of being forced to take in the whole bike.
So far, we’ve been talking about how effortlessly an eBike runs. Apart from that, another outstanding feature of its is that there is a speed cap for an eBike for your own safety. According to the EU law, eBikes need to be capped at 25kph. Although Kyle agrees that a cap should be in place, he believes that if it adapted to the Canadian rule of 32kph, it would be better suited in the EU and have a bigger appeal and uptake.
People are literally inclined to riding eBikes…
… And we have a couple pieces of evidence! Last year in the Netherlands, e-bike sales even surpassed traditional bike sales. Keeping in mind that the Netherlands is one of the world’s biggest cycling nations, you’ll have a picture on the scale of the market over there! More significantly, according to a recent survey of nearly 1,800 e-bike owners in North America, they definitely ride more on their eBike than on the traditional one. Beforehand, 55 percent of respondents said they rode daily or weekly. After buying an e-bike, that number soared to 91 percent. It is quite rational because even if you are physically fit, you still get exhausted from cycling a long, possibly hilly, road; let alone from bike training or racing. In this case, an eBike is quite a life-saver.
In short, eBikes ride the same, move the same and handle the same as traditional bikes, but cost you less energy and time to travel between destinations, especially on difficult roads. More exceptionally, with that bad boy, you can unlock routes that you’ve only dreamed of doing earlier. What’s not to love about eBikes?
At Reid, we believe that the freedom to move is for everybody no matter the age, strength and shape. When life is experienced on two wheels, we become healthier, more mindful, more focused people. Understanding the wish and requirements of different people, we have a range of eBikes for both avid cyclists and casual commuters.
Think that an eBike should be your new bike? Check our range of eBikes here.