Helping to make commutes to work more eco-friendly, as well as providing effective yet easy-going opportunities for exercise, electric bikes are proving to be the favoured form of transportation for many people. Taking the classic bicycle design, e-bikes feature a battery-powered motor that gives an extra push to your wheels, bringing you a faster, smoother ride. With electric bicycles, pedals and breaks are still mostly mechanical, so your body will still get a workout, but the motor helps take away that hard edge some find while cycling on rough terrain. The batteries on most e-bikes can complete a journey from 50 to 70 kilometres, and will take just 2 to 5 hours to fully recharge!
Pretty much anyone who can ride a pedal bike can ride an e-bike, but for elderly people, people with mobility issues, or those who find regular, long-term, intense exercise difficult will find that e-bikes can open up a world of possibilities. With the motor, getting that first push-off or pedalling up and down steep hills suddenly becomes so much easier, putting less pressure on knees, hips, the back, and arms, while allowing you to keep the muscles active.
To make e-bikes even more accessible, you don’t need to pass any kind of tests or get a specific license to ride one on the roads, as they are not considered a motor vehicle. So long as you’re over the age of 14 and you’re wearing a helmet, you’ll be legally able to ride your electric cycle anywhere you can ride a bicycle. This makes them an even greater asset to anyone who finds themselves unable to drive, whether through choice, lack of resources, or restrictive medical conditions.
E-Bikes have been recognised as an official and great source of exercise for many people, and because of this, it's possible to get one through the Cycle To Work Scheme!
While charging up your bike’s battery is bound to contribute in some way to your carbon footprint (unless you’ve managed to swap all of your energy sources over to renewables, of course) there’s absolutely no doubt that they are much kinder to our world than a car, motorbike, or even taking public transport. With most bikes using lithium batteries for power, they don’t require a near-constant stream of fossil fuels being pumped into them, nor do they put out toxic gasses and fumes. This makes them an ideal transportation method for anyone trying to cut down on their driving time so they feel like they’re taking care of the Earth more.
E-bikes are not considered a motorised vehicle, so they are subjected to fewer rules and regulations than cars and motorbikes. In order to be considered a non-motor vehicle, the e-bike must have these specific traits:
- Pedals are present at all times when riding
- The motor cannot propel the bike above 6k/ph
- The motor output is no more than 200W
- The bike weighs less than 40kg
- The power switch is automatically set to ‘off’, with the rider needing to keep hold of it in order for the motor to be ‘on’ and running.
Look out for these specifications when buying an e-bike to make sure you can get the most out of it, with the least amount of trouble. While you’re out on your electrical bike rides, make sure you’re being mindful of the few laws you must follow in order to keep both yourself and other people on the roads safe:
- You must be over 14 years of age
- You must wear a helmet and have lights installed on your bike
- Only ride where you can ride an analogue bike
- Make sure the battery is in good condition and is not leaking before you head out. Batteries are easily replicable, so even if you find that it has become old or damaged, it won’t be too long before you’re back to pedalling down the road with the wind rushing behind you!
For more advice on how to get the most out of cycling so you can enjoy getting fit, check out our articles on Essential Cycling Accessories and safety tips and tricks! Make sure to take a look at our e-bikes and other cycles on our Bikes page, and find some cool accessories to help you stay safe while riding here!