Before buying an ebike, be sure to consider all the pros and cons. Sure, they are as simple and natural to ride as a regular bicycle, but there are a few things you need to know to ensure they’re right for you. First, let’s focus on the positive.
Riding an ebike is still exercise
On the surface, riding an ebike may not provide as much exercise as a regular bike on a kilometre-to-kilometre comparison. Keep in mind that an ebike has an electric, pedal-assist motor, so it simply helps you pedal. It doesn’t do all the work for you. You can set the amount of assistance to adjust the amount of workout you want.
However, many ebike riders find they get out more often and go further than they did on a regular bicycle. Have you ever wanted to ride in Gatineau Park or other scenic areas, but you hesitated because of all the hills? That’s not a problem when you’re on an ebike. And it’s less of a concern that you won’t be able to finish the full 20-kilometre trail because the ebike can help with that too.
There is also a good feeling about seeing more of your community. On an ebike, you have more time to look around. You can see the leaves changing colours in the fall, gardens bloom in the spring, the beautiful old homes in your neighbourhood and all the other things that drew you to the area. Do you notice them while driving?
You don’t arrive at your destination sweaty and smelly
But, ebikes are not just for leisure. Commuting to and from work is less of a concern on an ebike than it is on a regular bike.
Because of the pedal assist, you don’t have to work up a sweat getting to work in the morning. Depending on your fitness level, your tendency to sweat and the weather, you may be able to simply freshen up in the bathroom at work, rather than need a shower.
And, if you’ve had a long, hard, tiring day at the office, you can crank up the assist to help you get home.
Ebikes are environmentally friendly
As well as cutting down the cost of using a car, you also cut down on your use of fossil fuels. An ebike may not eliminate your need for a car, but it can reduce your need for one.
Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University at Albany, Brian Rose researched to compare the carbon footprint of charging his ebike with fuelling his car. While he found that his Honda Fit would emit 333 kg of carbon dioxide over 1,200 miles, the electricity needed to power his ebike 1,000 miles (he can take bike paths as shortcuts that he can’t in his car) was only 3 kg.
Ebikes are cheaper to buy and operate than a car
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably already interested in getting an ebike. You may already know that they are more expensive than a traditional bicycle. While they can start around $1,500, they can be $7,000 or more. That’s still cheaper than a new car.
If we consider Rose’s research, she needed 37.5 gallons of gas to drive 1,200 miles. The average price per litre of gas in Canada this past year was about $1.17 per litre, according to GasBuddy.com. That’s $199.19 in gas.
For the ebike, Rose figured her 1,000 miles of riding consumed 10 kilowatt hours of electricity. We pay 13.4 cents per kilowatt hour at peak periods, which would cost $1.34.
Final thoughts before buying an ebike
With the addition of a motor, battery and controller components, ebikes are typically heavier than traditional bikes. The pedal assist more than compensates for that.
Before buying an ebike, you will want to protect your ebike investment and make sure you will want a safe, climate-controlled place to store it. Unfortunately, the pedal assist will not help you get up or down a flight of stairs if that’s where you need to go to store it.
Ebikes are as easy and fun to ride as a traditional bicycle. Many of the same rules of the road apply to ebikes as regular bikes. However, the laws governing ebikes differ by province, so be sure to read What are ebikes? And are they legal in Canada?
So what kind of ebike is right for you? Hope this was a good read before buying an ebike.