10 benefits of riding an e-bike

Here are five reasons e-bikes are better than bikes, and five reasons they're better than cars

Clock09:00, Tuesday 6th February 2024
Reasons why an e-bike is better than a bike and a car


Reasons why an e-bike is better than a bike and a car

E-bikes, also known as electric bikes, eBikes or electric assist bikes, are bicycles with an onboard electric motor and battery that gives you extra power when you’re pedalling. They’re becoming more and more popular, and these days you can buy almost any kind of bicycle with electric assist, from high-performance mountain bikes and road bikes, to commuter-friendly town bikes and folding bikes.

Nevertheless, whatever form they take, e-bikes are expensive, and that cost can feel hard to justify. If you’re wondering whether e-bikes are worth it, read on. We’ll go through all the main advantages an e-bike can offer over a regular bike, and even some advantages an e-bike can offer over your car, too.

Read more: What are e-bikes and should I get one? GCN's complete guide

Five reasons why an e-bike is better than a normal bike

First of all, here are some reasons why an e-bike is better than a normal bicycle.

You can choose between an easy journey or a workout

On most e-bikes, you can choose how much assistance your e-bike gives you, with some settings giving you a massive 250 watt boost, and with others letting you do most of the work yourself. This makes e-bikes really versatile, because you can choose between getting from A to B without breaking a sweat, or having a tough workout.

For example, you could cycle to work with the maximum assistance so you arrive in the office as fresh as a daisy. When home-time comes, you could turn the assistance down and push yourself on the return journey.

You go faster and further

On an e-bike, you’ve got the power and energy of your legs, plus a motor capable of outputting 250 watts. The battery capacity of each e-bike depends on the model, but one thing is for sure: on an e-bike, you can go faster, and you can ride further. That opens up a lot of routes and adventures that wouldn’t be possible on a normal bike, especially for less physically fit riders. An e-bike can allow you to tackle climbs that would otherwise be too tough and see places that would otherwise be out of reach.

E-bikes make city riding feel safer

Because of that extra speed, e-bikes can make riding among cars feel a lot safer than on a normal bike. When riding in traffic, the worst part is often the feeling of traffic whizzing past from behind. On an e-bike, you can comfortably cruise at 25kph, meaning the speed difference between you and the drivers is much smaller, and busy urban roads feel a lot less intimidating.

Mixed group riding is more fun

Riding with friends is great, but if there’s a big fitness disparity in the group, it can take the fun out of group riding. Inevitably, there will be someone at the front, wishing the rest of the group would hurry up, and someone at the back, desperately trying to cling on to the pace.

With an e-bike, there’s no danger of trailing behind. You can head out with groups of faster riders with confidence, safe in the knowledge that you won’t hold up the group.

Hills are easier

Even if you are a road cyclist who regularly rides above the 25kph limit that e-bike motors must adhere to (or 20mph if you’re in the US), you can still benefit from an e-bike. On flat terrain, when you’re riding with a fast group, you can still pedal the bike above that limit, and it’ll feel almost like a normal bike.

It’s when the hills come, and your speed drops below 25kph, that the e-bike comes into its own. On an e-bike, hills can become your chance to recover, as you let the motor kick in and power you to the top. If you’re riding with a group, it’ll give you a moment to get your breath back, just as everyone else is working their hardest.

Five reasons why an e-bike is better than a car

Since they have that electric motor on board, e-bikes can replace your car for most short, day-to-day journeys. In fact, in many ways, e-bikes are better than cars:

You can park anywhere

Few things can be more frustrating than struggling to find a parking spot. As more and more towns and cities restrict the amount of parking available, and as more and more cars fill our road networks, it’s only going to get more difficult and expensive to find a spot.

On an e-bike meanwhile, you can park right outside your destination, for free, every time. Of course, e-bikes are expensive, so get some insurance so you can lock up with peace of mind.

You don’t have to wait in traffic

Sitting in traffic is a waste of time. 2022 data says that London drivers lose 148 hours a year to traffic, whilst New Yorkers lose 112 hours, Parisians 120 hours and Dubliners 158 hours.

On an e-bike, you can use bike lanes and back streets to skip past traffic, or slip between cars and get where you want to go. You’ll save time and fuel, and have a far less frustrating journey.

You don’t have to pay for fuel

To charge an e-bike enough to take you 10 miles requires just 3p of electricity. To travel the same journey in a car costs £1.50 — that’s 50 times more expensive.

You won’t be polluting your streets

In 2022, the World Health Organisation found that billions of people breathe air with pollution levels above WHO air quality limits. In most towns and cities, road traffic is the biggest cause of pollution, with particulates from car tyres posing the biggest health risk — that’s right, even a ‘zero emissions’ electric car causes air pollution.

By leaving the car on the drive and taking an e-bike, you will make the air in your town a little bit cleaner to breathe.

You’ll get fitter

E-bikes might give you a boost from the motor, but you still move your body. In fact, research shows that the physical activity gains from active travel are similar for riders on e-bike and conventional bicycles, because although e-biking requires less energy, e-bikers tend to ride further than cyclists using normal bikes. Substituting your car for an e-bike leads to a dramatic increase in activity levels, even if you use an e-bike with a high level of assistance.

That means that by taking an e-bike instead of a car, you will experience the raft of benefits that come with physical activity: improved brain health, better weight management, reduced risk of disease, stronger bones and muscles, better sleep.

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