Don’t be put off by the sweat and the Lycra; there’s more than one way to join the cycling movement.
Words Sarah Bright
A year ago, I would have shuddered at the suggestion of going for a bike ride. I evade exercise and would prefer to hold the sofa down on the weekend. Living at Waikuku Beach surrounded by extensive cycle tracks, my partner was regularly out on his bike and incessantly harped on about “the great outdoors” and “being in the fresh air” and all that malarkey. No thanks. My cranky knees twitched at the notion. That was until he suggested we buy an electric bike (e-bike)… and what a revolution it has been; I am now an enthusiastic convert and nothing beats being out there in nature, turning the pedals and feeling the wind in my hair.
With prices decreasing and recent improvements in removable battery technology, electric motors, suspension, and lighter weight designs, e-bikes are becoming more commonplace and accepted by the public in all genres of cycling. From your work commute, pleasure riding, fitness riding to technical off-roading mountain biking, there is now an e-bike to suit every person and budget. Who wouldn’t want to go further, faster and to more places? They ready do amplify your pedalling power and your ability to do and see more.
Isn’t an electric bike cheating?
That’s a legitimate question a lot of people have. And the answer is a firm no. It’s sensational how these bikes have converted a whole troop of people to get on their bike, often on trails otherwise inaccessible to them by other means. Many who believed that bike riding was impractical or impossible because of distance, hills, windy weather, fitness, health reasons, joint problems, ageing or even because of the inconvenience of having to shower and change clothes after a morning commute. All this is eliminated with e-bike ownership, along with fuel prices for the commuter. It’s surely a win-win for the rider and the environment.
You can choose how you use the motor and don’t have to use it all the time. Merely adjust the amount of pedal assist depending on how you feel. It can still be quite a workout but without the worry of getting exhausted and stranded far from home. You can turn up the level of assist or even, on some models, use a throttle. Most e-bike riders get more exercise as they ride more often and for longer distances. I know mine still makes me puff but without me getting home in a sweaty, achy mess.
Top tips for buying an e-bike