Looking up from a gruelling uphill ascent and grimacing as a cyclist whizzes past you with a humiliating lack of effort. In your exhaustion-induced stupor, you may be inclined to venture that you have just seen Chris Froome. In reality, you have actually encountered an e-bike.
The name is relatively self-explanatory – e-bikes are simply bicycles with an integrated electric motor. Of course, the motor gives you a distinct edge in performance. The extent to which its propulsion relies on pedalling or the motor itself is dependent on the model you purchase as well as the setting you select. If you are considering delving into the dark arts of electric bikes, here are 5 things you need to know.
The initial outlay required to acquire an e-bike can seem like a lot, but over time, it will actually save you money. The price point of e-bikes remains relatively high compared to their purely pedal-powered counterparts yet there have been attempts to crowd fund cheaper alternatives and the gulf in price has continued to close. As with anything though, a higher price is generally indicative of quality – and e-bikes are no exception.
If you adopt an e-bike as your primary mode of transport, the savings are enormous. In the absence of parking fees, car insurance and petrol costs, e-bikes liberate you from the day-to-day costs of running a car. Over time, you will more than re-coup the fee you paid for the e-bike.
Unlike their relatives – the moped and the motorcycle – e-bikes do not require any kind of license to operate. Accordingly, there are some concessions when it comes to making e-bikes road legal in the UK. You have to be at least 14 years of age in order to ride an e-bike and speed of the electric motor tops out at 15.5 miles per hour.
Typically taking around three to four hours to charge fully, the motors in e-bikes typically last around 50 miles. If you do happen to misjudge the battery life on your e-bike, it isn’t like being stranded in a car with a flat battery, you can simply pedal away.
The appeal of e-bikes is undeniably rooted in their ability to make you feel capable of competing in the Tour De France. Whilst this may not be music to the ears of cycling purists, you can’t help but admire how e-bikes have allowed those who thought their cycling years were long behind them to become re-acquainted with the sport. Ailments and old age are no longer a barrier to enjoying cycling.
E-bikes have the rare ability to make the commute seem like an altogether more feasible task. Most are deterred by the thought of turning up to work exhausted and sweating through their shirt. With the helping hand offered by the e-bike, you are more of a passenger than an active participant, allowing you to tackle uphill ascents with ease and enter the office rejuvenated and fresh.
Because it is purely electric, the e-bike is more environmentally friendly than almost any other transport option – including public transport and carpooling. E-bikes are classed as Zero Emission Vehicles, but there are technically emissions caused by the generation of electricity needed to charge them. Even then, their contribution to environmental issues is essentially negligible.
If you are eager to get your hands on one of these innovative modes of transport, look no further than a giant e-bike.