Many people give e-bikes a raw deal, especially aficionados of traditional bicycles. They claim because e-bikes are motor-assisted they are an easy way out and not a true fitness tool. So, are you limiting your workout and damaging your potential fitness levels? The quick answer is no, so hop on your e-bike and get moving!
Like all forms of exercise, e-bikes are an excellent way to stay active. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic dedicating hours to fitness each day or need a break from online casinos, social media, and work, e-bikes could be the answer. And here’s the good news, they are not a waste of time.
According to research completed at the University of Zurich, electric bikes are not for the old or lazy, as misconceptions would have you believe. In the study, researchers conducted a survey and then followed up every two weeks across 10,000 e-bike and conventional bike riders.
Over a year of surveys, participants tracked their metabolic equivalent task (MET) minutes every week. For an indicator of the levels of activity MET measures, here’s a breakdown:
- MET level 3 to 6 is moderate physical activity. In terms of biking, a pace of between 5.5 mph and 10 mph
- A riding pace of 15mph signifies intense activity and has a MET level of 10
The University of Zurich published the results of its study in Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives. One of the biggest points made in the paper is that many e-bike riders also use conventional bikers. Moreover, they tend to use either of these bikes for longer trips than riders who only ride a conventional bike.
Electric bike riders are also taking longer average trips, managing to cover 9.4K during an average ride. When these e-bike riders get on their conventional bikes, they average 8.4K per trip. In contrast, those who only use conventional bikes manage just 4.8K trips.
It is clear from the study that some stereotypes about e-bikes can be laid to rest.
“The cliché of e-bikers being old or ‘lazy’ might not be right,” research author Castro Fernández said.
“A considerable part of people using an e-bike may do it because they need to make trips, which are too long or too hilly for a conventional bicycle,” he said.
Looking specifically at activity levels, e-bike riders were largely similar to conventional bike riders. People who ride electronic bikes, their MET level average was 4,463 minutes per week, higher than 4,085 MET minutes/week for normal cyclists.
“In our study, we found that the larger gain in terms of physical activity levels is found when e-bikers replace e-bike trips with car trips,” said Castro Fernández. “Furthermore, we found that the transport mode substituted by the e-bike is still used frequently afterwards.”
With that in mind, “e-bikes become a complementary mobility option.”