Why Electric Bikes make you Fitter than Regular Bikes

by Guest on November 16, 2010


Mike's BionX Bike is missing

Mike’s bike was conspicuously absent from the top tier of our company bike parking ... day after day.

I’ve been commuting to work on my electric bike for two years now. A few months ago, one of my colleagues – let’s call him Mike – decided to follow my example. Mike is 20 years younger than me, and an all round jock: he coaches skiing, mountain climbs, and scuba dives in sub-zero waters. So being such a jock, he of course elected to use a regular bike, not an electric bike.

After his second commute, he started in on me about my BionX electric bike: “Why do you use that thing?” And “You don’t need a motor, just use a regular bike!”

I reminded Mike about the hill that we both face on our commutes – a hill that is not only extremely steep, but also goes on for two miles. “Hey, it’s not so bad,” was his response. To which I said, “Knock yourself out.”

A week later, parking my electric bike in the indoor bike parking my company kindly provides, I noticed Mike’s bike wasn’t there. It wasn’t there the next day either. So I went down to the IT department to ask Mike what the problem was. He made some kind of excuse. The next day, the same thing happened. And the next. Eventually I decided to cut him a break and stop asking him. It was obvious what had happened.

That hill just got the better of him. No one wants to climb Everest twice a day.

And there you have the explanation for why electric bikes make you fitter than regular bikes, in a nutshell: people on electric bikes usually end up doing much more cycling than people with regular bikes. My BionX electric bike helps me to get up the massive hill on my commute. It flattens it out for me, so that I don’t wake up dreading it, and don’t spend my work day dreading it. The result? Unlike Mike, I keep commuting by electric bike every day, while he gave up after just one week of doing it the hard way.

By making it easier, electric bikes also make it more likely that people will cycle more.

The Transport Research Laboratory in the UK found that electric bikes usually get used at least twice as often as regular bicycles. So while sweating up that steep hill on a regular bike every day would obviously make Mike fitter than me, the reality is that he just ain’t doing it – while I am getting steadily fitter every day on my BionX electric bike. It’s a case of the tortoise and the hare: I might not work quite as hard every day, but I do it every day, and that’s better in the long run.

Mike might be younger and stronger than me now. But thanks to my BionX electric bike, I am getting fitter every day on my way to work – while he drives his car. I might just out run him one day!

By guest blogger Average Joe Cyclist

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