“Ebikes are just for people who are too lazy to pedal, right?”
We’ve been asked this question a few times recently. The truth is that ebikes do take some of the effort out of your journey. If you’re a keen club cyclist looking to get in as many hours of training as possible then riding an ebike is probably not for you. But if you’re looking for a way to get around town that’s fast, independent, and still gives you a decent workout then you should seriously consider trying one out.
Get around quickly
As roads become ever more congested and traffic speeds in major cities have slowed, ebikes make more and more sense for getting around quickly. In central London, where the average traffic speed has dropped to just 7mph, cycling makes a lot of sense. With an ebike in the EU able to assist you up to a very useful cruising speed of 15mph (25km/h), and give you a boost on hills, in headwinds and in stop-and-go traffic, they really are a great way to get around jammed up cities like London. We are designing the Hinton [Edit: now Flit] folding ebike with this in mind. Whenever the rider finds themselves pushing hard on the pedals but still going slowly, the ebike will know to give them a boost. This cuts down on dead time during your trip, making it faster and that bit more fun.
Ebikes let you pedal just the right amount so that you don’t break a sweat. This is because in Europe they are pedal assist: they boost the effort put in by the rider rather than relying on a throttle. This means that on a hot day or a hilly ride, you can turn the power up and the bike will feel like riding a tandem with a Tour de France rider on the back doing most of the work. Not bad if you need to get to the office without looking like you’ve just ridden a stage of the Tour yourself.
Exercise little and often
Even so, ebikes give you more of a workout than you’d think. A study published in 2016 by researchers at the University of Colorado found that commuting to work for just a month by ebike helped a group of volunteers to boost both their aerobic fitness and blood sugar control, as well as helping them lose weight. In fact, the volunteers enjoyed riding the ebikes so much that most of them rode more than the researchers had recommended, and several of them bought their own ebikes after the study ended. What’s more, ebikes have been shown to increase the frequency with which people ride and the distances they cover, meaning that even those who swap from a regular bike to an ebike may be getting more exercise overall.
A bike that lets you cycle how you want
Ebikes are never going to be for everyone. If you’re aim is to ride as hard as possible to train for your next race, then ebikes are probably not for you (then again they just might). But there are lots of other reasons to ride an ebike, from getting more exercise out of your daily commute to having more fun getting around town. We started building ebikes because we wanted to get more people on two wheels. If they can make it fun and easy to do just that then ebikes are something we should all be able to get behind.
[Edit: Hinton Bikes was renamed Flit in October 2018 – links have been redirected to the new website: www.dev.flit.bike]