There’s no longer any doubt about the myriad of benefits that electric bikes confer on the individual and society more broadly. Here are the most important benefits of using an electric bike:
- Health Benefits (ride longer, ride more often)
- Reduces stress
- Save money on commuting
- Save money on trips to the store
- Parking is easy
- Avoid traffic
- Faster to your destination on most short urban trips
- One of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation
- Makes biking more inclusive for seniors and those with chronic health conditions
- Easy to maintain
- Becoming very affordable
Now that we’ve got a good summary going let’s dig deeper into all the advantages of buying and using electric bikes.
Unfortunately, and probably through some evil lobbying or PR organization’s efforts, electric bikes got a bad rap for some time. And although that perception is starting to change, many purist cyclists still insist that e-bikes are for the “lazy” and that riding an electric bike doesn’t have any health benefits. Thanks to multiple studies, however, we’ve learned that the opposite is true. Despite the easier riding, owning and riding an electric bike offers plenty of health advantages for almost every rider. Here are just a few:
Studies have shown that the average electric bike trip, especially on those e-bikes with pedal-assist technology, is far longer than rides on non-electric bikes. This fact means that the total effort and calories expended are often as high if not higher than traditional bike trips. With the added range that people experience riding on an e-bike, it simply makes people want to ride longer distances, simply for the recreational aspect.
Ride More Often
Simply put, electric bikes turn people into regular bikers. Knowing that you can ride farther, longer, and in challenging road conditions such as hills, gives the average rider more confidence about getting on their bike more often. This fact bestows the obvious health benefits of a cardiovascular and muscle workout on a more regular basis. Riding more frequently also helps combat our often far too sedentary lifestyle.
Find Yourself Outdoor More Often
Those of us lucky enough to venture into the great outdoors regularly can attest to the healing benefits of simply being outside. This is often associated with reduced stress and anxiety, which leads me to my next point.
Whether you prefer to take your electric bike on recreational rides on the weekend or use it five days a week to tackle your commute, riding an electric bike is a major stress reducer. Exercise of any form has been shown repeatedly to reduce stress by increasing neurotransmitters, called endorphins. And if you’re using your electric bike to commute regularly, you’ll also enjoy the added benefit of not being stressed out by being stuck amidst an endless sea of gas-guzzling traffic. All this to say, riding an electric bike is definitely a step in the right direction for improved mental health and well-being.
Increase Core Muscle Strength
While many electric bikes are now available with throttle only propulsion, meaning you don’t have to do any pedaling, most people still prefer the pedelec assist mode that comes standard with the vast majority of e-bikes. This means that you’re still going to be getting a bit of a low-intensity workout throughout your core muscle groups despite some assistance.
Great for Injuries or Chronic Health Problems
Athletes and non-athletes sometimes suffer injuries due to their training, physical competition, or even off-court happenstance. In these instances, many of them try to slowly rehabilitate their physical condition through the use of a bike. And while this is all good and well, the electric bike offers the ability for those who have been injured to slowly recondition themselves, without being relegated to a stationary bicycle.
Owning an electric bike has also been a massive boon to those with chronic health conditions or moderately disabled. It’s offered a way for them to enjoy the outdoors, and perhaps even get in a moderate or low-intensity workout without worrying about pushing themselves too hard. The flexibility of electric bikes with throttle and pedelec modes offers people in these situations to ride with confidence, knowing that if they get too tired, they can rely on their bike to still get them home without the added energy expenditure from their bodies.
With electric bikes now available in recumbent versions, more moderately disabled persons can also take advantage of the electric bike format.
Can Be Used for Training Purposes
One of the biggest advantages of electric bike riding, even for top-notch athletes, is performing low to medium intensity workouts. What’s great about this is that with the sophistication of electric bike pedal-assist technologies, athletes can often set just the right amount of assistance in an effort to keep their heart rates within a precise and narrow range. It also allows them to cover longer distances without fretting about what a steep hill will do to their heart rate.
The economic benefits of owning and riding an e-bike are undeniable. Let’s break them down further.
Like most forms of transportation, the cost of owning and operating an electric bike can vary widely. If you’re intent on owning a top-of-the-line electric bike, like this one, you can easily wind up spending many thousands of dollars up-front. On the opposite end of the spectrum, electric bike manufacturers have now been able to drive down many e-bikes to below $1000. And don’t be fooled; these are still high-quality bikes with terrific components from some of the world’s top manufacturers.
Most likely, though, you’ll probably wind up spending somewhere between $1,500 to $3,000 on an electric bike, at least at the time of this writing in the year 2020. While it’s no chump change, this initial cost is certainly far lower than a traditional gas car, hybrid or even electric vehicle. It’s also generally more economical than a motorcycle or electric moped.
The costs of commuting by various modes of transportation depend on several different factors.
- Mode of transportation
- Length of commute
- Where you live
- Cost of gas
- Cost of electricity (you can further reduce this with solar panels on your roof)
- Cost of public transportation
That said, there are plenty of somewhat intangible costs that are difficult to calculate, such as time lost due to traffic, public transportation breakdowns, and delays. After all, your time is still worth some amount of money. There are still some averages we can rely on to inform us just how economically efficient electric bikes are compared to other modes of transportation. Note that the figures below are for the total cost of ownership, including maintenance, not just fuel costs.
- The United States IRS (Internal Revenue Service) says that the average cost of driving an average car is around 51 cents per mile.
- Public transportation costs in the U.S. average around 18 cents per mile.
- Electric Cars, on average, cost about 25 cents per mile to operate.
- According to one study by ElectricBikeReport.com, the average cost to operate an electric mile falls somewhere between 0.0625 cents and 0.245 cents per mile.
As you can see, operating an electric bike is perhaps the cheapest method of motorized transportation available globally. And you won’t just save money while commuting. You can cut down on all kinds of costs, including trips you take to the grocery store (even with a more expensive cargo e-bike). Quick errands around town or in the suburbs also suddenly become far cheaper, even after buying optional rack bags or a bike trailer.
Ditch Your Gym Memberships
Got an expensive gym membership burning through your income? You might get just as good a workout with an electric bike, thus allowing you to ditch that unnecessary monthly financial albatross around your neck.
Earn Money With a Side Gig
If you live in the city or suburbs, there are tons of opportunities to earn a side income using your electric bike. Delivery services in the U.S. such as Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats are always looking for delivery drivers and are now allowing electric bike riders to work for them. In the U.K., the same is true of delivery services like Just Eat, Food Hub, Deliveroo, and Hungry House. Just don’t spill that special cargo while you’re tackling your city’s mean streets and turns!
Faster, Cheaper and Better Commuting
Of-course commuting isn’t just about the costs. It’s about other tangible benefits that you’re likely to enjoy when you switch over to riding an electric bike. Consider the fact that things like parking suddenly become a complete breeze. And as long as you’ve invested in a decent bike lock, you won’t have to worry about theft either. That’s because any half-decent electric bike these days has either an integrated into the frame battery or a removable one with a lock. Of course, that also means you can take your battery to charge at your office using a standard common plug.
As I mentioned before, you’ll also benefit from a light workout on your way to and from work. But if you toil in a stuffy button-down office where your appearance is important, and there are no shower options, the electric bike offers an easy and fast way to arrive without any perspiration. This is especially true of electric bikes that allow you to engage the motor in throttle only mode meaning, no pedaling necessary.
Consider that you won’t be waiting in and wasting time in traffic, especially in cities with dedicated bike lanes. In most cities, you’ll be getting to your workplace just as fast, if not quicker, than if you had taken public transportation or your car. This benefit is often overlooked, but is a terrific side effect or riding your electric bike.
Because most electric bikes, especially those with 500W or higher motors, provide a great deal of torque power, you’ll often be out-accelerating cars and bikers riding traditional bicycles. This means you’ll be out in front of other bikers in crowded bike lanes and simply zooming by others at around 20 miles per hour.
With the exception of using a lithium-ion battery whose recyclability can remain questionable in some parts of the world, electric bikes are by far one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation available. Operationally they produce no exhaust, leave no harmful chemicals, and are both quiet and safe to operate. They are, except for the battery, no more environmentally impactful than a standard non-electric bike from a manufacturing standpoint. The total environmental impact of a bike’s electric battery has been estimated to be similar to that of two average laptops.
This is perhaps my favourite part of why I think electric bikes are so awesome. In addition to all the massive advantages I’ve already listed, electric bikes have numerous social and societal benefits.
As I mentioned in the health benefits section, electric bikes can make biking and venturing outdoors far more accessible to those with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Additionally, those who suffer from being home-bound can now break some of the social isolation by way of increased mobility within their neighbourhoods or towns. All thanks to the mighty electric bike!
In particular, seniors are beginning to take advantage of various electric bike formats to improve their mobility and enjoy exploring their neighborhoods. This can be a great social boon as well.
Simply put, electric bikes make mobility far more inclusive, and for those that simply like to zoom around their town, electric bikes are just a great deal of fun to ride!
Ah, you thought I was finished. But no, I’m not done extolling the virtues of electric bike ownership. There are also numerous practical benefits of riding these bad boys around. Let’s list them out:
- Easy to Charge – Most electric bike batteries are removable and can be fully charged in approximately 4-6 hours.
- They are becoming increasingly affordable each year as the cost of batteries and components continues to shrink.
- You can find plenty of quality electric bikes for under $1000.
- Affordable and compact 2nd or 3rd batteries means you can easily and significantly increase your bike’s range on longer trips.
- They require as little maintenance as regular non-electric bikes
- High versatility and now available in every type of bike, including electric mountain bikes, electric recumbent bikes, electric road bikes, electric hybrids, and even electric folding bikes.
- If you’ve already spent a significant amount of money on your existing bike, there are plenty of easy to install conversion kits that will convert your regular bicycle into an electric bike.
- In most cities and towns around the world, they don’t require any level of extra licensing or insurance.
So that’s it. Did I convince you to buy an electric bike? As e-bikes continue to be refined and become ever more sophisticated, the advantages of owning one for yourself or even one to share with your family will only grow.