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  Last updated: 5/22/2018

Electric Bikes

This article (Over the Alps on a Bike With a Boost) caught my eye as it suggested a way to let those who aren't quite as strong (spouse, physical limitations, slowing down but still yearning to get out on that bike) enjoy the camaraderie of cycling with a partner or group.

And here's another.


This is a concern I hear regularly when e-bikes come up in a discussion.

If you are talking about cardiovascular fitness, my answer is an unqualified no. With the power off (or battery out) an e-bike is just a heavy cross bike. You work the same muscle groups and sit on the bike in a similar position.

Are you going to be able to push that extra mass of slightly less aerodynamic metal as fast as your lightweight road bike? No. Will your maximal power (wattage) output remain at the same level (although at a lower top speed)? Yes.

So that means you can continue your personal training program (using intervals, for example, with a power meter as your measuring tool) and end up at exactly the same level of fitness as if you had done the same wattage-directed training on your lightweight road bike.

E-bikes are pedal ASSIST and are not electric scooters. So if your ride with the same level of exertion, riding an e-bike should be no more detrimental to your fitness (assuming you continue on a regimented training program) than riding with the boost of a tail wind or from riding in a peloton. But if you start to enjoy the ride, and back off on your level of inout, then, of course, de-conditioning is the inevitable result.

I understand the resistance to e-bikes. I enjoy keeping up with my weekend group, knowing that I am doing it all on my own (without electric assist). And I know I would miss that sense of accomplishment on an e-bike.

But as I get older, I face the inevitable slowing that we all get to experience. If I want to keep the enjoyment of a group ride, I have to stay with a peer group that ages right along with me...or get an e-bike.

If you want to continue to measure yourself against your peers on a weekend ride, then by all means take the road bike. But if this is just concern about training to the maximum possible (for your age), that training can be done just as effectively on an e-bike while commuting during the week, or riding with your spouse on weekends or vacation.

The big benefit of the e-bike revolution is that these bikes are putting more riders out on the road, and with more regularity, as time passes. Friends whose "significant others" never wanted to ride, now tell me that with an e-bike, they (the other) is now pushing them to find a time to ride together.

And an e-bike is just plain fun. You find yourself looking around as you spin at at an easy rate rather than focusing on how many more intervals you need to finish that day.

Finally, there is the aging factor. We all get older, and as we do, are abilities to churn out watts of power decrease - no matter how hard we try to fight it. If you are barely hanging on with your weekend riding group, an ebike may be the answer. You may get a few comments, but then just point out that no one escapes father time, and their time will come.

And I will say, as one who scoffed at e-bikes for many years, fighting the trend for longer than I might have, (I'm now 73) an e-bike is really fun to ride!!

Top 5 Commercially Available Electric Bicycles

One of my readers, Miles Walker*, pulled together this summary of currently available (as of 12/2011) electric bicycles.

Electric bicycles are something of a curiosity for many people, as it seems like an abstract idea. Quite simply, an electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike, is defined as a bicycle that uses an electric motor to power itself. There are three important components to an electric bike: the electric motor, a battery, and a controller that turns the bike on as well as regulates the power delivered to assist and propel the bike. The idea is that while the bicycle must be pedaled by the rider, the electric motor augments the mechanical pedaling so that pedaling actually becomes easier. Usually electric bikes do not go faster than 20 miles per hour. This article reviews the top 5 electric bicycles available on the market today.

  1. Urban Mover UM26S TERRAIN

    Urban Mover produces some of the higher range, high quality, and most lightweight electric bikes on the market. Their UM26S Terrain model is the ultimate electric bike in terms of flexible options and varied uses. There are many great features of this bike that make it highly flexible: first of all, its flexible, and weighs only 43 pounds. This makes it highly portable. It has a range of up to 60 miles. This bike also comes with its own carrying bag. Retail price is around $999.

  2. Yuba elMundo Cargo Bike

    This e-bike is excellent for those who want a little more room to carry their stuff around with them, thanks to an extra long back tail over the rear tire. It is also great because it offers a wide variety of fully customizable and practical accessories and gear. For example: a baby seat for young passengers; stand alone kickstands; and a high quality bag that is precisely fit to the cargo bike's long tail. This bike is great for grocery shopping and running other errands around town.

  3. Daymak Shadow Ebike

    This is another innovative, high quality e-bike with a higher price tag. However, it uses novel wireless technology to make this electric bike completely wireless. The wireless nature of this bike means no wires in the open, saving the owners of this bike from many of the other common complications that can arise in wired bikes. Priced at around $999.

  4. Stromer

    This elegantly designed bike is made by Swedish manufacturers, and is made with some of the finest ebike technology around. Dual power modes offer the rider the ability to cruise effortlessly, or to assist in the delivery of power by pedaling. With a maximum range of 45 miles with power assist, this is one of the longer ranged bikes.

  5. HANEBRINK Electric All-Terrain

    This is one of the best and only all-terrain e-bikes, built for riders who like to go off paved roads. A three hour charge will give this powerful bike a one hour ride. With additional batteries, the ride time can be extended to five hours. With fat tires and a strong chassis, this bike is made for adventure.

*Miles Walker is a freelance blogger who usually writes about getting the best car insurance quotes at Car Insurance


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