As the world starts to make tentative steps towards leaving lockdown, and starts to establish a ‘new normal’, it’s a great time to reconsider your everyday travel needs – and an electric bike could be exactly what you need.
Electric bikes have come a very long way in recent years, and are no longer defined by clunky looks, noisy motors, or limited range. Modern e-bikes look almost identical to standard push-bikes, with only a slender battery pack marking the difference, and can help you keep moving for over 100 miles, depending on their capacity.
Curious? Here are the other reasons why now is the perfect time to consider making the switch to an electric bike
It’ll transform your commute
Working from home is great, but it’s not always possible (or desirable). For many people, public transport is the most practical way to get to work, but maintaining a distance of two meters between passengers means the capacity of buses and trains is vastly reduced. That means longer journey times, longer waits, and a great deal of frustration.
A conventional bike can be a great alternative for commutes that are too long to walk, but they have some distinct drawbacks – not least of which is working up a sweat. Having an electric motor take some of the strain means you’re less likely to arrive at work needing to change your shirt.
Some electric bikes, like the newly launched Cowboy 3, also eliminate the risk of oil smears on your pants by replacing the usual chain transmission with a belt (which is also much less likely to cause mechanical problems during your journey).
It's more hygienic
Electric bike hire schemes have sprung up in cities worldwide, but many have put their services on hold during the pandemic due to the difficulty of properly sanitizing handlebars between riders. Having an electric bike of your own eliminates that problem.
It also means no more touching buttons, ticket machines, door handles, parking meters, or anything else you’d usually need to tap and poke on a typical journey by car, bus or train.
It's great exercise
An electric bike is also a great way to enjoy some gentle cardio – particularly if you’ve not been particularly active during the pandemic. Cruising on an e-bike is much less effort than doing all the word yourself, but can still get your heart pumping.
You can choose to push yourself harder, too. Most electric bikes will only boost your speed to around 15mph, which is a reasonable pace, but definitely won’t make you the speediest cyclist on the road. If you want to go faster, that’s fine – but you’ll need to do all the work yourself.
You can even switch off the electric motor entirely whenever you like, only using it when you’re tired, or need an extra boost to get up a particularly steep hill.
It makes cycling accessible
If you’re a little older, have a condition that makes you tire easily, or have an injury, an electric bike can make cycling enjoyable again – even if you haven’t stepped on a pedal in years.
An e-bike is also an excellent way to get out and enjoy the countryside if you’re lucky enough to live within pedalling distance of some green space, which can be a great way to relieve stress and improve overall wellbeing. With less energy spent pedalling, you can go further, faster, and enjoy your surroundings more
Yes, the power to charge your bike’s battery could have been generated by a fossil fuel power station, but it’ll still have a far smaller carbon footprint than any kind of car – even an electric one – due to their lower power requirements, smaller size and lighter construction. As the energy mix moves more towards renewables, that situation will only improve.
An electric bike also has a smaller amount of ‘embodied energy’ (the amount of energy needed to manufacture it) than a car.
It's just fun
If you’ve never tried an electric bike before, the initial burst of speed as the motor engages might take you by surprise – but it’s exhilarating. You might have a regular bike gathering dust in a garage or shed, but we’d be surprised if you can resist that power-assisted rush for long.
- We've also rounded up the best electric scooters available today
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Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)