Cycling has a time in 2020. The interest in racing bikes and mountain bikes is greater than ever, major companies report one month’s arrears on bicycles. And it’s not surprising – with trips effectively canceled until at least 2021, more and more buyers are turning to their own roads and backyards for entertainment. Fortunately for bicycle manufacturers, the ‘safer home’ mentality of 2020 coincides perfectly with the rise of affordable and consumer-oriented e-bikes.
E-bikes are essentially traditional bicycles with electric motors. The e-bike trend is a few years behind the electric car trend, which really took off with the introduction of Tesla to the consumer car market around 2013.
Since then, more and more consumers have decided that eco-friendly travel is a priority and are opting for e-bikes for commuting and shopping. In the mountains, buyers realize that e-bikes can take the pain out of uphill mountain bike tours and make the rides more fun.
But athletes who cycle for the cardio or training benefits will likely still sniff their noses on the e-bikes, often seen as “ cheating ” in the minds of traditional cyclists and mountain bikers. Unfortunately for those veteran cyclists, that skilled mindset is anything but correct. With the right knowledge and technology, almost anyone at any skill level can train fantastically on an e-bike. Here’s how.
How do e-bikes work?
Unlike a regular racing bike or mountain bike, an e-bike has an electric motor to help riders move themselves. Depending on the bike, the rider can choose to avoid pedaling entirely or use the motor to adjust the level of assistance on slopes or long roads. With a non-motorized bicycle, pedaling uphill can be extremely tiring, and it can feel like you’re pushing extremely hard to make the wheels turn, even in the lowest (easiest) gear.
According to Lauren Butler, the City and Kids Product Marketing Manager Trek bikes, riding an e-bike generally feels like a traditional bicycle. “Your riding experience feels like the same natural experience as riding any other bike, except with extra power you can ride farther and faster.”
E-bikes have an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery. Depending on the size of the battery, it can take from two to six hours to fully charge the battery. While riding, a handlebar display shows the rider and adjusts the assistance level of the motor.
On bicycles with pedal assistance, the rider must pedal for the motor to work. On an e-bike with a throttle, the rider does not have to pedal (comparable to a scooter). Some bicycles offer both options, but many countries classify those with a throttle as mopeds or motorcycles instead of bicycles.
What are the benefits of cycling?
Cycling is one of the best cardio training options for the average person. With low to no impact (except crashes), cycling uses all of your major muscle groups, improves joint mobility and, of course, increases your heart rate and your lungs pump, especially when climbing uphill or navigating obstacle-ridden terrain.
According to Dylan Renn, a full-time mountain bike coach and former professional mountain bike racer in Northern California, mountain biking is generally more difficult: “A mountain bike is more demanding and requires more power, while on an e-bike the motor helps with the power.”
Renn says his requests for one-on-one and group e-bike coaching have skyrocketed this year, in parallel with sales reports from e-bike retailers. He thinks traditional bicycles and e-bikes can work side by side, ideal for riders trying both.
“The e-bike allows you to operate at a higher level than you can because of the power input. So if you can master the skills on an e-bike, your overall mountain biking skills will improve.”
Why do people choose e-bikes?
In a word, convenience. In three words: convenience, simplicity and recovery. Riding an e-bike will almost always be easier than a bike that requires 100 percent human strength. It lays out longer and more challenging trails in the rider’s wheelhouse and can give riders more confidence knowing that backup power is available if their muscles or lungs hit a metaphorical wall halfway through their rides. But according to Devin Riley, US director of marketing before Canyon bikes, it’s not just riders who aren’t in shape who choose e-bikes.
“ While we’ve seen strong demand for e-bikes from adult riders who either want to replace a car or continue to do tough rides on Saturdays, there is also a generation of younger mountain bikers interested in the extra range and power of a e-bike. -bike, ”he says.
As a former cyclist, Riley says he has used his e-bike to compliment his now hobby, taking his e-bike on muscle recovery days or when he wants to ride a third lap, but his body only has the energy for two. .
According to Trek Bikes’ Butler, riders often opt for e-bikes to explore new areas they couldn’t reach on their own, covering more distance in the same amount of time. E-bikes also give riders with physical disabilities access to otherwise inaccessible terrain and allow riders to recover from injuries to the bike earlier in their recovery.
“If you can’t ride like you used to, e-bikes are a great solution,” says Butler. “You still get a lot of exercise and enjoy being outside, but the assist makes it more possible and relieves the pressure on your joints and back.”
E-bikes can also make it easier for people of different skill levels to ride on bike tours. And of course e-bikes are better for the environment than cars. According to the League of American Cyclists60 percent of journeys of less than a mile are made in vehicles. E-bike assists can enable some of those drivers to take those bike rides, reducing their overall CO2 emissions.
So how do you stay fit on an e-bike?
So if traditional mountain bikes require more effort and strength, should people looking for a better cardio workout opt to forgo the motor? Not necessarily, says Riley. “You can both get the same cardio workout,” he says. “It all depends on how fast you turn the pedals and how much you ask the e-bike to help you.”
Renn says e-bike riders should be aware of their heart rate while riding. “You do get the cardiovascular benefits of an e-bike, but it doesn’t feel as stressful. Your heart rate is 9-10 beats per minute lower on an e-bike than on a mountain bike when you’re riding in your high-intensity zone. is the same effort, but with lower heart rate zones in an e-bike. “
While a lower heart rate can slightly reduce the number of calories burned over a period of time, it can also give riders the energy they need to ride longer, which ultimately burns Lake calories than a shorter ride.
Riley suggests riders use the e-bike to complement a traditional ride, rather than replace it entirely. E-bikes, he says, can help riders access new trails; For example, a city rider can use the e-assist to drive outside the city limits and lower the level of assistance once he starts his training-oriented ride.
He also points out the possibility of customizing workouts with an e-bike: if you need a day of rest for your quads, increase the support level. And if it’s really a core workout you want, use the e-assist to hit the trail before starting a core workout on the ride down (most technical riders are on the downhill side).
Ultimately, the extent to which an e-biker, cyclist or mountain biker can train and train depends entirely on the user. Mountain bikers can take it easy by walking up steep terrain, and it is unlikely that most people’s heart rate will be put into fat-burning mode by putting an e-bike into full support mode.
But the idea that e-bikes are ‘easier’ is a misconception: when used correctly, they can both extend your workout and allow you to spend more time on your bike, even on recovery days. And with trips likely to be suspended for at least a few more months, it’s an excellent time to put on a helmet and ride a few miles on two wheels.