So, eBikes, eh? It's just cheating, isn't it! You're on a bike but don't have to do anything as the battery powers everything.
Well, that's what a lot of populist opinions will say, and who's to argue? Well, these studies for starters.
Switzerland's University of Basel worked out that e-bikes get you just as fit as non-electrics. A small sample, but reasonably vigorous with it's conclusions.
Another Norwegian study confirms that electric bike riders experience physical exertion 95% of the time. The conclusion speaks volumes.
- “Cycling on the E-bike resulted in lower trip duration and exercise intensity, compared with the conventional bicycle. However, most of the time was spent in MVPA*. This suggests that changing the commuting mode from car to E-bike will significantly increase levels of physical activity while commuting.” (* Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity)
One thing that can be said is that it's not a good for fitness as riding a normal bike. However, what happens when you don't feel capable of riding a normal bike in your local neighbourhood? This is what happened to my parents as they got toward the end of their 70s. The short hills and inclines in their area just made getting on the bike just too much. So, they would naturally go back to driving a car. And they did, and didn't as will follow.
Another study (which I've seen but have lost the link, damn it!) talks about how eBikes help soften the heartrate changes. When we go uphill, we exert more and our heartrate goes up.When we go downhill the reverse happens. With an eBike, this change in heartrate is flattened out. This is ideal for older people who need to exercise still, but the higher heartrates of going uphill put more stress on them than is healthy.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, here's me with my mother on a 14-mile ride around their local neighbourhood. This simply wouldn't happen without the eBike. Look at the amount of pedalling happening. Without that the bike just doesn't go. This was well over an hour of moderate exercise that wouldn't happen without the eBike.
Here's the video of the route. Look out, music! (Go HD see * below)
0:11 Starting from Wenhaston, near The Star
0:28 Ah, uphill
1:02 Flat riding
1:28 Another incline
1:45 Into Darsham
2:45 Smaller inclines towards the end
3:30 Last incline, I can't keep up!
So, lots of populist opinion can be split on he "it's cheating" meme. And lots of purists can take about how riding a "proper" bike is better. But neither of them cater for my parents, so I'm not interested.
* How to go HD.