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Why is an Electric Bike a Good Way For an Older Person to Get into Cycling?

Why is an Electric Bike a Good Way For an Older Person to Get into Cycling?

  • Friday, 08 September 2017
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Nothing about road cycling today. It’s all about electric bikes

I’m a road cyclist, that’s what I do in the cycling world, and so on my website here I tend to focus on topics related to road cycling, particularly for older people like me.

However I know that for many older people getting into cycling generally, and particularly road cycling which can be a little strenuous, is not necessarily so easy. There’s all sorts of issues for many older people relating to fitness, mobility and more, and to some people cycling is as much about getting around as anything else.

I’ve had older people say to me they’d love to get on a bike, either because it just looks like fun or because they used to cycle but don’t any more, but just find it too much.

For many people, particularly older people, cycling is a means to an end. It might be for going shopping, it might be for commuting or it might be just for getting out and about. Some older people won’t be interested in getting into bunch riding, they’d just be happy to get on a bike and enjoy the experience, or get somewhere.

I was contacted recently by someone involved with electric bikes. Whilst I’d not put much thought into electric bikes as a means for older people to get into cycling, once I began to think about it it made complete sense. If you’re a little older, and not quite able to begin road cycling, an electric bike, which requires you to pedal but which also offers assistance when necessary, might well be the ideal way to get started cycling.

So I asked that person (Jonathon Monk) see below, to write an article for me about electric bikes, as I have no expertise in electric bikes at all.

Here is Jonathon’s article.

Why is an Electric Bike a Good Way For an Older Person to Get into Cycling?

Cycling has never been more popular. The lingering feel-good factor created by London 2012, the popularity of the Tour de France and the increased awareness regarding personal health are all widely regarded as contributing factors. The indisputable fact still remains though that despite this, many people are still reluctant to get on a bike.

Possibly due to location, possibly due to lack of fitness or maybe due to the fact that many people still view cycling as a young person’s exercise, the truth is that there are many reasons why people choose not to get on a bike. The tide is beginning to turn though and with the continued evolution of the electric bike, the reasons for staying away from a bike are decreasing all of the time.

What is an Electric Bike?

An electric bicycle (or e-bike as they are often known) is basically a bike with an integrated electric motor which can be utilised for the purposes of assistance whilst cycling (ideal for when pedalling up a steep hill!). They offer the ideal solution for nearly all of the issues that keep people away from choosing a bike as one of their modes of transport.

By eliminating many of the hurdles that conventional bike owners face, from that sinking feeling of attempting to cycle to the top of a steep hill to concerns about getting hot and bothered on the way to their chosen destination, they help to ease the transition as they build their bike riding confidence and fitness.

Surprisingly cheap to run and extremely quiet, they offer a realistic method of helping to improve mobility and fitness. Basically, they can help to make cycling fun.

This is particularly appropriate for the older generation, many of whom become less mobile as they age. As a result of failing strength and/or deteriorating health or fitness, cycling may seem to be a bridge too far but electric bicycles allow people of an older generation to remain mobile and fitter for a longer period of time.

How Do They Work?

Electric bikes look and feel very similar to conventional bikes, the major difference being the incorporation of a rechargeable battery, an electric motor and a control system onto the bike frame.

The energy provided from the rechargeable battery provides a boost to the electric motor mounted in the frame or in the front or rear wheel and with the flick of a switch on the handlebars, you can go from maximum effort to no effort at all!

The riding experience is much the same as when riding any other type of bicycle but with minimum effort required, you can quite easily move along at a very steady 15 miles an hour and the only effort required by you amounts to resting your feet on the pedals.

If you wish to preserve the life of the battery, simply turn the switch off and pedal away. The power will still be waiting for you when you reach the bottom of the next hill & you can simply switch it back on to make light work of your journey to the top.

How Long Will The Battery Last?

The power of an electric bike battery is reflected in a term referred to as ‘Watt hours’, and the greater the number, the greater the potential power boost and associated range of the battery.

The charge offered by the battery of an electric bike generally varies from model to model but as the technology utilised to make lithium batteries has improved most riders can comfortably travel approximately 50 miles per charge, with the higher end 2013 models crossing the 100 mile mark.

The cost of recharging the battery is absolutely minimal, normally just a few pence or cents per charge, although the charging times themselves vary considerably, depending on the type of battery being used and the efficiency of your charger.

To get the longest life out of your electric bicycle battery it is recommended that you recharge them after every ride, even short distances. After a short ride you will be able to charge the batteries immediately, however after long rides it is often best to leave them for approximately ½ hr to let them cool down before starting the recharge.

A full recharge rarely exceeds 6 hours in modern batteries but many bike owners choose to leave the battery to recharge overnight to ensure that the bike is ready to go the morning afterwards. If you would rather not wait that long, you can also purchase express chargers which speed up the re-charging process.

As with all re-chargeable batteries the performance of the battery itself depends on its age, temperature and how much it has been used previously.

As such, it’s important not to take stated battery ranges as guarantees, and build in a good reserve when planning journeys.

The Advantages of Electric Bicycles

Generally speaking, the majority of health benefits offered by cycling still apply when using the motorised assistance of an e-bike. These are benefits which should never be underestimated – the fresh air will help to stimulate the mind and increase concentration levels whilst the exercise offered will help increase blood circulation and improve overall levels of fitness.

Cycling is an excellent aerobic exercise which does not put any unnecessary strain on joints or muscles. Did you know that by cycling approximately 4 miles per day, you can help to significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease? Even half an hour’s worth of cycling on a regular basis can help to shed those extra few pounds and will also help to improve lung function: ideal if you suffer from bronchitis or asthma.

They can also help to make everyday life easier. For example, they can be great on shopping trips – simply attaching a trailer to the back offers adequate storage space and thanks to the battery assistance, transporting items back home again is effortless.

They also offer an alternative to taking the car out, which is an effective measure to protect the environment. And if you wish to make your way to important appointments by bike, it does not have to be quite so strenuous anymore. With a motor-assisted bicycle you can get from A to B without breaking out in a sweat.

With a huge range of models available, an e-bike is certain to make everyday life easier whilst helping to rediscover the joy of cycling, regardless of age. Electric assistance for mobility makes getting around a great deal easier. Now you too can get back on your bike and enjoy cycling again.

All about Jonathon

Jonathon Monk is an enthusiastic cyclist and works for Cycling Made Easy. Cycling Made Easy are the regional stockists for SCOTT who specialise in the sale of electric bicycles and can give advice and guidance plus accompanied test rides to make sure that customers feel comfortable and can experience E-Bikes first-hand before looking to buy.

Not knowing much about electric bikes I spent a little time browsing Jonathon’s website. One thing I didn’t know is that it’s possible to buy a kit which can convert a regular bike into an electric bike, and for anyone who has a bike in the shed, which hasn’t been ridden for some time because they feel like it’s just become a little too much effort, this might be a cheaper alternative to buying a complete electric bike.

One other thing I thought I’d point out is another interesting article on their website, 10 things to consider when buying an electric bike.

Well worth reading if you are interested in an electric bike as a good way to get into cycling.

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