Over the last few year, I've gone from E-bike skeptic to E-bike rider. Now, I own a commuter and an E-MTB that I ride as much as my regular bikes. Likewise, a lot of the E-bike hate I used to hear from cyclists has melted away and been replaced by stoke and enthusiasm. E-bikes are becoming cool now. Even my parents, who never showed interest in my hobby before, bought themselves E-bikes.
If you’re sitting on the fence, wondering if you should switch to an E-bike or add one to your quiver, here are a few good reasons for why I made the leap.
1. I Drive My Car Less
Cycling instead of driving is a meaningful way l to save on gas and reduce your impact. Unfortunately, it can be hard for many to choose riding over driving when you’re limited by time or fitness. I’m a “hardcore” cyclist, and even I never liked commuting or running errands by bike. But once I got a good, utilitarian E-Bike, all that changed.
Electric motors mean you can go farther and faster, and use less energy. Add the right gear to your set-up and you can haul a full week of groceries or your children across town with ease. You don’t need to mess around with lycra riding kits or worry about sweat ruining your clothes. If you live somewhere with decent bike infrastructure, it’s even possible to beat cars to destinations.
Of course, just buying an E-bike doesn’t instantly transform you into a car-free guru. But I find just having an E-bike in my garage makes riding the easy option when popping out for quick trips. I just put on a helmet, and I’m gone.
Also, because the E-bike makes it easier to carry a heavy and secure lock, I feel better parking it around town than I do with my nice non-E-bikes. And parking? Not having to fight for parking spots at my local Whole Foods has truly been a blessing.
2. I Can Ride (A Lot) More
Go farther in less time. Photo: Orbea
For me, getting outside on my bike is essential to my mental health. But as I’ve gotten older, life has gotten busier. Work and family have taken up more of the time I used to reserve for riding. On most weekdays, I’m barely able to sneak out for lunch rides, and these rides are often too short and unsatisfying.
E-bikes completely changed that for me. If I only have 30 minutes to an hour to spare, I’ll choose to ride the E-bike because I can double, even triple the distance I normally cover. Since I see and experience so much more, suddenly, these brief rides feel more productive, fun, and worthwhile, so I end up doing them more.
This was especially useful with E-mountain bikes. I almost stopped riding my mountain bike because I only ever had time to knock out a single lap on my local trails during lunch. Now, I can get 3-4 laps with lots of descending. E-bikes have the power to transform short rides into epic ones.
Best of all, E-bikes have improved my recovery rides during intense training blocks (more on the fitness aspects of E-bikes below). Now, instead of short, boring spins around town, I go on long E-bike cruises where I travel super far but still pedal at a recovery-level effort. With my E-mountain bike I can even hit the trails on recovery days and work on my skills without fatiguing myself. E-bikes let me ride way more than I can otherwise, and riding more is always a good thing.
3. I Get Good Exercise (Even With a Motor)
You still need to work, but you work just the right amount. Photo: Orbea
With Class 1 and Class 3 E-bikes that use a pedal-assist motor (these are the only type that TPC carries), you still have to pedal. But the boost you get from the motor reduces your physical strain and allows you to always exert an effort you’re comfortable with. Speed, distance, and terrain are no longer limiters, so people who would otherwise struggle on a traditional bike can go out on an E-bike and get a significant amount of exercise.
Researchers at the University of Colorado even performed an e-bike study and found that when non-exercising men and women E-biked for about 40 minutes, only three days a week, they significantly improved their cardiovascular fitness and blood sugar levels in just one month. Yes, you have a motor, but riding an E-bike is still effective exercise, especially for people who would otherwise be sedentary. Plus, because they’re so easy and fun to ride, they prevent people from getting discouraged so they continue exercising.
E-bikes are also a great option for people who want to ride with faster riders but lack the fitness or experience to keep up. I can even get my dad to come and ride with me and work on his high cholesterol thanks to his E-bike. This wouldn’t be possible without a motor, and I’m super thankful for the freedom it’s given him.
4. I Have Lots of Fun
Yeah, E-bikes are fun. Nuff said. Photo: Trek
I don’t think there’s much that needs to be explained here. Literally, everyone I’ve seen ride an E-bike for the first time has come back with a huge smile on their face. Do you remember the joy you felt as a kid when you rode a bike for the first time? Yeah, it’s just like that — but boosted.
5. I Can Take Advantage of Rebates
More rebates. More money for picnics.
Is the cost of an E-bike making you pause? Fortunately, several cities and states are offering incentivization programs designed to get more people on E-bikes for less.
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Taking advantage of a local rebate or voucher program could save you hundreds of dollars on your E-bike purchase, making it much easier to stomach.
You might also consider doing what I did — sell your old bike for cash or trade it in to fund an E-bike. I used store credit to make my Certified Pre-Owned E-bike a quick and easy purchase.
[button]TPC SELL // TRADE[/button]
6. I Want Get More People on Bikes
Photo: People for Bikes
As stated above, there are E-bike incentivization programs encouraging more people to buy and ride E-bikes. But not every state offers one (yet) and the hard truth is that many cities in the US aren’t exactly bike-friendly when it comes to infrastructure and drivers.
Buying an E-bike (or any bike) won’t change things immediately, but money talks and the growing popularity of E-bikes makes it clear to governments and businesses that the future of cycling and eco-friendly transportation matters to people. The exploding popularity of E-bikes and incentivization programs has already created more bike lane advocates. It’s led to an E-bike tax credit bill making its way to Congress.
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So if you do get an E-bike, ride it a lot and encourage others to try it! Make people curious and jealous, especially people who aren't "cyclists." The more people we can get riding bikes and appreciating what they offer, the more voices cyclists will have to enact meaningful change. This will lead to better cycling infrastructure, more affordable bike options, and more favorable laws.