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Is Using an E-Bike Cheating?

A lot of people tend to think that electric bikes are cheating when compared to normal bikes, as it appears that you don’t work as hard. However, it is clear that when it comes to the facts, e-bikes can be seriously beneficial to your health.

man on bike in countryside

University Research

Researchers at the University of Colorado conducted research into what happened when they gave out-of-shape men and women some electric bikes to use.  The twenty volunteers had plenty of different health tests, and were let loose with an e-bike, a heart monitor, and a GPS device. They were asked to ride to work and back for at least 3 times a week for a month, spending at least 40 minutes riding.

At the end of the experiment, every single volunteer has ridden the entire minimum amount, with many riding more than required. Their heart rates had averaged around 75% of their maximum heart rate, meaning that they were still getting a moderate amount of exercise – despite the motor assist. They had ridden at an average speed of around 12 miles per hour, so were able to enjoy fairly leisurely rides.

The main thing to take away from the experiment is their final health test results. The volunteers were healthier and fitter, with much better aerobic fitness, better blood sugar control, and less body fat.

Aerobic Benefits

The University of Agder in Norway decided to conduct research, as they were unconvinced that e-bikes could have aerobic benefits. They got participants to use portable oxygen analysers linked to GPS, as they rode both regular bikes and e-bikes. These rides simulated bike commuting to work. The difference between e-bikes and regular bikes are summarised thus:

When riding the e-bikes, they were 8.5 times as active as compared to when resting, and used approximately 51% of their lung capacity. When riding a conventional bike, they were 10.9 times as active as compared to resting, and used 58% of their lung capacity.

This difference was far smaller than what the researchers were expecting. It meant that people using e-bikes were still getting the levels of moderate exercise recommended, even with the pedal assist. In fact, Professor Elling Bere actually stated: “The conclusion is that e-cycling is a good form of physical activity and I think many will be surprised to hear it. […] if more people stop driving cars and start using e-bikes to their jobs it would have a positive effect on public health.”

couple on bikesSome Health Benefits of E-Bikes

E-bikes can vastly improve your own personal fitness levels – especially if you do little exercise to begin with. Of course, if you’re already a professional athlete, then they may not do too much to benefit you. However, e-bikes can have the following positive health effects:

  • Reduce risk of cancer
  • Reduce risk of heart disease
  • Increase fitness
  • Help you lose weight
  • Higher levels of well-being, self-confidence, and stress tolerance
  • Reduce tiredness and sleep difficulties

Studies have actually shown that those who cycle to work have a 39% lower rate of all-cause mortality compared to those who don’t. This is even after adjustment for other risk factors.

Core Strengthening

As e-bikes are a fair bit heavier than conventional bikes, they can actually help strengthen your core, including muscles, bones, and joints. This is because you have to steer, pedal, and balance the bike. You will continuously be using your core muscles without even realising it. In fact, as Prodeco Tech says:“Joint conditions such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and chronic lower back pain affect a majority of Americans today, all of which can lead to an increased risk of fracture, pain, disability or deformity. Physical activities, such as riding an electric bike, is a safe and readily accessible way of improving bone strength and reducing the risk of osteoporotic fractures.”This means that e-bikes can actually help with your body, as well as your fitness and weight.

man on bikeMore Information

So there we have it. It’s clear that e-bikes can definitely be beneficial to your health, despite having pedal-assist. They may not have quite as substantial an effect as regular bikes, but the difference is quite small, and they work as an excellent gateway into exercise. It is therefore clear to see that e-bikes are not cheating.If you need any extra information about the benefits of e-bikes, then don’t be afraid to give us a call. Ring us on 0116 321 4123, email us on support@pluginbikes.co.uk, or check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.