Ebikes are showing up on the roads, trails, and bike shop showrooms everywhere. You can get an ebike for road cycling, mountain biking, and even casual trips around town. But who’s riding these electric bikes, anyway?
Here are three types of riders you’re bound to see on an ebike:
Sure, there are those diehard cyclists who consider ebikes “cheating.” But any experienced rider who has vocalized ebike criticism probably just hasn’t tried one yet.
The idea that using an electric-assist bicycle is somehow cheating is an outdated notion.
Ebikes can take you faster and further on your rides and, no, the motor isn’t doing all of the work. Ebikes like the Specialized Turbo line give a rider control over how much assistance they use. And, since the assist only kicks in when you’re peddling, there’s still a fair amount of effort and physical exercise that comes along with the ride.
Today’s savvy experienced riders are enjoying the benefits of an ebike. If you’ve only got a limited amount of time to ride, who wouldn’t want to travel 4x further in that short span of time?
And why wouldn’t you want to speed to the top of the climb so you can get back to the fun part — the descent — even faster?
So, unless you’re sneaking an ebike into a competitive non-motor bike race, taking out an ebike isn’t even close to “cheating.”
The added speed and distance that an ebike can provide allows even the most experienced riders the opportunity to shake up their normal routines and go further (and faster) than ever.
In a surprising plot twist, you don’t have to be an experienced rider to enjoy an ebike, either. Casual riders may be getting even more benefit from electric-assist bicycles than experienced riders.
A study in the peer-reviewed journal Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives found that physical activity levels were similar between e-bike riders and conventional cyclists, in part because e-bike riders had “significantly longer trip distances.”
More Time Riding = More Exercise
A 2016 study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology published results from a small University of Colorado Boulder study on ebike commuting revealed that participants voluntarily rode twice as much as required: four hours a week on average and almost 200 miles per participant over the four-week study. These participants saw significant health improvements over the course of the study, including improvements in blood pressure and glucose tolerance.
Keeping Up with the Pack
Ebikes are allowing casual or novice riders the opportunity to keep up with friends or family members who are more experienced.
“…the ebike bridged the gap between my current skill set and athletic ability and what I needed to keep up with the experienced riders I was with.”
– Melissa Z., I Tested a Specialized Ebike. Here’s What I Thought
Casual riders who may only take a conventional bicycle out occasionally are finding that ebikes are making bike trips more accessible, easier, faster, and more fun.
LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. It’s a consumer segment whose attitudes and behaviors place health and sustainability in the foreground.
LOHAS typically have a greater awareness of social and environmental responsibility than the average consumer and tend to “vote with their dollars” by purchasing products that will make a difference in their health and the health of the planet.
Unlike a casual or experienced rider who chooses an ebike for sport or hobby, a LOHAS is more likely to purchase an ebike in order to cut down on car trips in order to fight climate change.
A 2017 paper published in Transportation Research found that ebike use led to 25% fewer car trips on average.
According to a 2015 study by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, a dramatic increase (about 20 percent) in cycling worldwide could “cut carbon dioxide emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11 percent in 2050.”
For LOHAS consumers who place a priority on sustainability and alternative transportation, ebikes are the answer to reducing car trips and cutting harmful emissions.
Did you relate to one of these three ebike riders? Whether you’re an experienced rider who would love to cover more ground in less time, a casual rider who wants to get more exercise and keep up with more experienced riders, or a passionate environmental activist who wants to take more cars off the road, an ebike is the answer.