Sometimes, riding an ebike is so easy that it may feel like you're cheating.
Odds are, you may have heard hardcore cyclists suggest something similar as you pass them near the top of a punishing hill on your route home. (Or, more likely, from safely behind a keyboard on social media.)
The truth is, electric bike riders have nothing to worry about. They don't have to think twice about how to shave a few minutes off their daily commute, conquer major hills, or arrive where they need to be less sweat-drenched.
But since we're an ebike company and therefore preaching to the choir, here are five ways you can silence the naysayers, skeptics, and critics when prompted in the wild.
1. Ebikes actually provide a serious workout.
Chris Douglas was determined to donate his kidney but needed to lose 40 pounds before he could do so. His ebike helped him meet and exceed his goal, and to date, Chris has lost 90 pounds since his first ride two years ago. Read his story here.
New research shows that taking a spin on an ebike provides virtually the same kind of workout as riding a regular old bike.
How can that be? If you’re not sweating through your clothes or huffing and puffing your way down the trail, you can’t really be exercising, can you?
According to multiple studies, yes, you totally can!
Researchers at Brigham Young University recently had 33 amateur cyclists go through a six-mile loop on both ebikes with pedal assist and conventional bikes.
Riders assigned to ebikes had an average heart rate of 145 beats per minute, just 10 beats less than conventional cyclists, and falling well within what public health professionals describe as “the vigorous intensity zone.”
“Those who used ebikes still had elevated heart rates and enjoyed their experience,” BYU Professor Benjamin Crookston said. “I think this is a game changer for those who have found biking too difficult. It makes this important form of exercise accessible to a broader community.”
2. It’s not cheating when you make your own rules.
We created a digital home for ebike news, culture, and other Rad Stories. It's called The Scenic Route, and inside you’ll discover things that can both inspire and empower you.
They're people like Tina Still, a Radvocate and former truck driver with a larger-than-life personality and a zest for life on wheels, or Blair Hebert, a swing musician who used a RadMini to dramatically reinvent himself at the age of 60.
At the end of the day, you have to choose the mode of transport that best helps you get the most out of your life. And there's nothing about that choice that diminishes anyone else's ride.
3. Conventional bikes aren’t for everyone. And that’s OK.
Our vision is a world where transportation is energy-efficient, enjoyable, and accessible to all. We have accessibility built right into our mission statement.
Not too long ago, we heard from Alden Kent, a Rad rider in Okatie, South Carolina.
Kent had recently gone through open-heart surgery and used our bikes to lower his resting pulse rate to pre-surgery levels, a pretty impressive feat to say the least.
Still, some cyclists couldn't keep their jabs to themselves.
“A few people have stopped me to say I am cheating by riding a power-assist bike,” Kent told us. “They are unaware that I am 70 years old and 7 months removed from open-heart surgery, where I had one heart valve replaced and another repaired.”
“Without the RadCity, I would not be riding a bike. The hills would increase my heart rate too much,” he added.
Ebikes give thousands of people like Kent a chance to get back in the saddle. It highlights one of the most beautiful things about ebikes: they're accessible to everyone.
4. Ebikes lead to longer rides.
Ebikes give you the tools to ride farther. All of our bikes are designed to give you 25-45+ miles per charge.
We hear from a lot of our riders that pedal assist gives them the confidence they need to go on longer excursions (and boy do we mean long).
A study in the journal Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives found that they're not alone.
According to its data, physical activity levels were similar in both ebike users and conventional cyclists, but ebike users had an edge when it comes to distance. The average venture on an ebike was charted at 9.4 kilometers, about 1 kilometer more than on a non-electric bike.
Not only that, but the study concluded that ebike riders cover significantly more ground per day -- reaching an average of 8 kilometers compared to 5.3 kilometers among traditional cyclists.
5. It's an argument that misses the point.
Not only do we strive to provide the absolute best product support, but our in-house team of experts is always creating new online tools to help riders improve their etiquette and maintenance skills.
Some cyclists may feel frustrated by ebikes whizzing by on trails, but they’re failing to see the bigger picture.
Ebikes are getting more butts on bikes. Not just butts that might otherwise be on couches, but butts that might otherwise be in cars.
That’s good for everybody, especially when you consider that cars give off about 404 grams of pollutants per mile. That means ebikes play an important role in giving us all cleaner air and, frankly, more pleasant rides for everyone.
Plus, whether you ride an electric or conventional bike, we can all agree that the U.S. cycling infrastructure is just not up to snuff.
Sure, it may be improving in some circumstances, but not a single American city made it onto 2019’s Copenhagenize Index, one of the cycling communities most recognized ranking systems.
Bike trails aren’t going to get more comfortable for anybody unless it’s clear that more people are turning to cycling.
Not sure if an ebike is right for you? Check out five reasons we think everyone should give an electric bike a shot and our guide to picking the right bike for you.