Electric-assisted bicycles are new to the American market after being popularized in Europe in the last five to 10 years. When someone hears electric-assisted bicycle it may conjure up a lot of misconceptions. Many “biomechanic” cyclists disdain the idea of someone “cheating” with an electric motor. Perhaps the John Muirs of the world dislike nature and tranquility being disturbed by buzzing electric motors.

However, from a health and fitness perspective, an e-bike may be appropriate as a tool.

The biggest myth of e-bikes is that a person with no fitness or ability can hop on an electric motor and go about with ease. This is not true. An e-bike only assists the pedaling that is already happening. These bikes have limited battery supply, and on eco mode only make cycling marginally easier.

Another myth is that e-bike riders are lazily skipping all the years of base fitness real cyclists all would like to think they possess. This also isn’t true. According to Transportation Research, most e-bike owners are also “analog” bike riders as well. Even so, it takes pedaling and skill to ride an e-bike, just as it does a regular

bicycle.

Now here are the statistics that may surprise: The Transportation Research Group reports that e-bike riders ride longer, and get more exercise than regular cyclists. How can this be? They examined the metabolic cost of riding a bike and extrapolated it to the amount of riding being done. While e-bikes had a lower intensity of exercise, the minutes of riding exceeded standard enough so that the total MET’s (metabolic equivalent measure) were higher for the e-bikes. (4,463 met/week vs. 4,085/week) .

The average trip distance was around eight kilometers (five miles) vs. five km (three miles) in favor of e-bikes as well. This likely points to the commuter or grocery store runs that would be so much easier on an e-bike. Consider Sisters Country: Who wants to cross town in a car in summer? Wouldn’t an e-bike be a joy?

While just catching on, e-bikes provide a fitness opportunity for those who might not be able to access it otherwise. It opens doors to put less cars on the roads. These machines are not rocket ships; they’re heavy and slow. They aren’t any noisier than a conventional bike. While it is embarrassing as an avid cyclist to be passed by one, it’s not the end of the world. An e-biker is likely a fellow biomechanical rider who respects mileage under the legs and muscles rather than motor.

Give a look to an e-bike if commuting, errands, or getting back into fitness is something interesting. All major manufacturers have good options and the bike shops in town are keen on the technology and how to get the right bike for anyone.