As a leading stockist of e-bikes in NZ, and with a range that suits all budgets, we field a lot of enquiries about these awesome machines. One of the most common questions is from people who are tempted to buy one but are a little worried their fitness levels may fall. Will an electric bike turn them into a lazy rider?
Our answer is no! And we have seen research that proves it. A survey by the University of Zurich shows that e-bikes do not make you lazy - in fact, they will probably encourage you to ride further and gain excellent fitness benefits as a result.
Zurich University researchers conducted an initial survey with over 10,000 riders who rode electric bikes as well as conventional bikes. Afterwards, they followed up every fortnight for nearly a year. Survey participants logged their time in metabolic equivalent task (MET) minutes per week. It sounds complicated to follow but it is actually relatively simple; moderate-intensity physical activity is regarded as those who achieve 3 - 6 METS - this equals a comfortable riding speed between 8 kilometres per hour to just under 16 kilometres an hour. Meanwhile, riding at 24 kilometres an hour will boost the MET level right up to 10.
One of the most significant findings was that a lot of e-bike users use regular bikes, too. They didn’t discard their old cycles and exclusively use e-bikes. Actually, the surveyed e-bike owners rode both an e-bike or a conventional bike for longer periods of time than riders who exclusively used non-electric bikes. Plus, trips taken by e-bikers using both e-bikes and conventional bicycles were longer in both time and distance compared to non-e-bikers.
Other statistics from the survey reveal that people on e-bikes reported longer average trip distances for both their electric bikes (9.4 kilometres) and conventional bikes (8.4 kilometres.) On the other hand, those who ride conventional bikes logged significantly shorter trips (4.8K). Plus, the daily travel distances for e-bikers averaged 8 kilometres - conventional cyclists logged just over 5 kilometres a day.
You can argue that it is easier to ride for longer on an electric bike. But that’s not the case at all. In many cases, the e-bike riders in the survey had the same and even slightly higher activity levels than those on a conventional bike. On average, reported physical activity for e-bikers was 4,463 MET minutes per week - on the other hand, conventional cyclists recorded 4,085 MET minutes per week.
This survey confirms what we already know; riders of electric bikes are not lazy. They still get a lot of fitness benefits out of their bikes. They expend just as much energy as riders on conventional bikes. So, if you are thinking about an e-bike but are worried it won’t be good for your fitness, think again. Contact us if you have any other questions about our e-bike range.