No one would argue with the fact that switching your commute from a car ride to a bike ride creates a host of benefits for both you and your surrounding environment. European governments warn the public about heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity; all of these can be combated by getting on your bike in the morning and commuting to work on two wheels instead of four. Exercise, even at moderate levels, helps to reduce stress and depression as well as improve mood and self-esteem. The financial benefits to be gained from cycling can be quite substantial, saving users money on commuting (compared to public or personal motorised transport), parking charges and gym memberships. As well as money, bikes can save you time, avoiding traffic jams and enabling you to take shortcuts that cars are unable to access.
But could it be the small drawbacks that are preventing the majority of people from making the switch to cycling from other modes of transport? This is where the electric bike comes in. It provides all of the benefits of a regular bicycle, but with the added bonus of not arriving at work needing a shower since it helps to reduce the effort of pedalling uphill and into headwinds. You can still take exercise which helps you on your way to fulfilling government health recommendations, you are still lowering your carbon footprint, and saving money.
All good models can be used manually, fully powered or power-assisted. If more people who would not otherwise cycle were to use electric bikes instead of cars, this would lower overall carbon emissions. An argument put forward by the editor of A to B magazine is that the small amount of energy used by the electric bike is actually offset by its increased use compared to that of the manual version, since electric bike users ride further and more often than traditional bicycle users, and this reduces the average carbon emissions per mile – the manufacturing process is the largest contributor to carbon emissions.
Electric bikes have no road tax, no insurance, no MOT, and no license plates. They are limited to a maximum speed under power of 15mph (although you can pedal faster than this if you want) and an average power of 200W (250W for an electric tricycle). At present in the UK, both E-bikes and Pedelecs are covered by this, although there are moves to make E-bikes conform to the same regulations as mopeds. The limits are: 200W continuous power (250W for tricycles and tandems), 15mph maximum assisted speed, maximum weight 40kgs (60kgs for tricycles and tandems). As long as your cycle is within these limits, and you are over 14, you can ride your bike legally on UK roads with no restrictions.
On top of these benefits, the electric bike compared to the traditional bicycle saves even more time because even though top speed is capped, electric bikes are able to keep a more constant speed, rather than slowing down on the tough or uphill stretches. This higher average speed actually makes electric bikes safer than conventional bicycles on the roads since fewer cars will overtake, and as A to B magazine points out, the faster your acceleration, the sooner you can get out of trouble.
So electric bikes offer safety advantages over regular bicycles, save you more money on transport, are more user friendly; and still provide healthy exercise.
With all these advantages over the humble bicycle, we think electric bikes are the transport of the future. So how can you get involved? If you live in the mainland UK, you can get yourself a good quality, affordable electric bike, quickly and easily online- and delivered to your door from Bristol-based the Electric Bike Company. Why not change the way you travel today!