If you’ve ever ridden an e-bike then I’m sure this situation will be very familiar. You’re riding along, minding your own business as you approach a group of riders on analogue bikes riding up the hill ahead. As you ride past them, the inevitable “Cheater” falls out of the mouth of one of the riders next to you.
In the early days of electric bikes there was definitely a preconception that unless you were elderly, ill or injured an e-bike was not something any self-respecting rider should be using. While this has become less as the bikes have developed and more people have realised the benefits for themselves, I think there will always be a small section of people who remain sceptical of anything battery powered.
When I get the inevitable “cheater”, my usual retort is “You can’t cheat at having fun” but I thought I’d break down the reasons exactly why an e-bike isn’t cheating, for those who are yet to be convinced.
Double the Mileage, Half the Time
When you’re strapped for time an e-bike is a no brainer. The pedal assistance up to 15mph allows you to blast up hills and cover double the ground you would on an analogue bike. On my e-bike I’ve completed rides in 2-3 hours that would take the best part of a day usually.
Double the Mileage, Double the Progression
If you’re like me and the main reason you ride is for the descending and the feeling of progression then you’ll love an e-bike. The ability to quickly lap a trail to repeat a bit you messed up will help you build confidence and improve your skills at twice the speed. Plus the sheer volume of additional downhill you’ll get to ride compared to an analogue bike will help to keep pushing you along.
They’re actually a great workout
While I do agree it’s possible to make a ride extremely easy through the use of an e-bike, using one in the right way can provide an incredible workout.
Sure, you’re not using as much leg strength as you would on an analogue bike, but there are massive benefits from a cardio perspective. The weight of a full fat e-bike will really work your upper body too. I have finished e-bike rides as tired as, if not more tired than I would have on an analogue bike in the same time frame.
A level playing field
Everyone is different, and so are their fitness levels. It can be hard sometimes when you want to ride with your usual riding buddies, but other commitments or illness have kept you off the bike and your fitness levels have taken a hit as a result. We also must admit that we come in all different shapes and sizes, so there’s always going to be some who find it easier than others to get to the top of a hill. Riding an e-bike offers the opportunity to be able to ride with your mates no matter what your current fitness status without the stress of struggling up the next hill or trailing along behind.
To echo my statement above – you can’t cheat at having fun. Yes, if you rocked up to a race with a hidden motor and ran away with the win then I’d agree that’s cheating. But if you want to start and finish your ride with the biggest grin on your face then I can’t recommend an e-bike enough. Those uphill slogs that you dread suddenly have you laughing, charging up them at 15mph, and being able to do multiple laps of your favourite trail is an absolute winner in my eyes.
They’re my top 5 reasons, but there’s a wide range of benefits that come from riding an E-MTB. While I haven’t completely ditched my analogue bike just yet, if I could only have one bike I’d be hard pushed to get rid of the e-bike as I know I’m guaranteed to finish the ride with a smile on my face, and for me that’s what riding bikes is all about!