Bolt Ahead with Electric Bikes
Bicycles have soared in popularity over recent years, as people opt for two-wheeled transport in their daily commutes to work and school. Electric bikes have contributed significantly to this surge by facilitating riders with a helpful motorized boost. It's the best of both worlds – manual riding, with all the fitness benefits and outdoor enjoyment it entails, and motorized pedaling, which makes riding up hills and on long routes much less daunting. Let's have a quick look at eBikes and see if this mode of transport is in your wheelhouse.
Weighing Your Options
If you're used to carrying a bike up stairs, on buses or packing it into a car, then an electric bike's added weight is something you should be prepared for. Remember, an eBike is designed exactly like a conventional bicycle, but with a motor and a battery attached; hence the extra weight. Electric bikes usually range above 50 pounds and go higher or lower, depending on the size of the battery and motor.
Batteries come in various types, each offering a different lifespan and how quickly it can receive a charge. Higher quality batteries like Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) and NiMH charge faster and can last up to 1,000 charges. More affordable models, like sealed lead acid (SLA), can take between up to eight hours to charge and will last between 300 and 500 charges.
Power and Pedelec
A common misconception about eBikes is that they work essentially like motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, where you don't need to pedal and a motor does all the work. That's only half true. Electrical bikes do you use a throttle system similar to motorbikes, where you twist the handle to increase speed and movement. But eBikes also employ a pedal-assist system (PAS) that lends the rider added pedal power, so you can make it through a tough stretch or up a hill. These pedal electric cycles, also known as a pedelec, function by using a torque sensor that picks up when you start pedalling and turn off when you're no longer in motion.
The Electric Advantage
Think of that feeling you get cruising down a hill on your bike, and then the sobering realization after that you will at some point have to go back up. Electrical bikes take the dread out of riding uphill. They also give you a helping hand for longer treks, or if you have a physical limitation that prevents you from exerting yourself on a conventional bicycle. The eBike can also be used in regular bike lanes, meaning you don't have to wade through heavy traffic and the peril that comes with it.
And just because it's powered electrically doesn't mean you're going to get zapped while riding in the rain. Most electric bikes come with waterproofing and speedometers to assist in safe riding.