Recently I purchased a new eBike, and most people who I talk to have no idea what an eBike is. This new type of bike is going to be the next biggest craze. Using this eBike allows me to go faster and ride longer. No more worries about going too far and thinking I might not be able to get back home, or coming up to a hill or bridge and feeling I might not be able to make it to the top. At first, I thought, like you may be thinking, that when it comes to riding a bike for exercise, an eBike, which has a battery to help you peddle, is really cheating. But after reading a study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, I knew I had to get one. I now can pass up people half my age and it enables me to ride with my kids and friends who are younger. These bikes are of 2 kinds — those that are peddle-assisted, which means you still have to peddle, but it is a lot easier, and those that have an accelerator, which is more like a moped, where you don’t have to peddle.  The study indicated that even though eBikes require less rider effort to travel at a given speed, they’re still a decent source of exercise. Now, a new study suggests that they’re (the pedal-assisted eBike) just as good as regular bikes at improving fitness, at least when it comes to riders with excess weight.

Conducted by scientists at Switzerland’s University of Basel, the study involved 32 test subjects. Twenty-eight of them were men, and all were considered to have excess weight, with a body mass index between 28 and 29. At the outset of the study, each person’s cardiorespiratory fitness was determined via oxygen uptake capacity (VO2) testing, which measures the body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen. Seventeen of the participants were then supplied with a pedal assisted eBike, with the other 15 receiving a regular, non-electric bike. All of them were instructed to ride a minimum of 6 km (3.7 miles) at least three days per week for a four-week period. Some riders were equipped with GPS devices, and all of them cycled at a speed of their choice. When the four weeks were up, new VO2 tests indicated the fitness levels of both groups had improved significantly, and by similar amounts. Riders in the eBike group, however, maintained a higher average speed, and rode up steeper gradients on a daily basis. This indicates that the e-Bike can increase motivation and help older individuals and those with excess weight to maintain fitness training on a regular basis. Those who use eBikes on a regular basis benefit permanently, not only in terms of their fitness, but also in terms of other factors, such as blood pressure, blood glucose, fat metabolism, and their mental well-being.  Check these bikes out. Go into any bike store and they all offer Free Test Rides, because once you ride one of these eBikes you will want to buy one. Do a Google or Youtube search and check it out. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

— Steve Freed, R.PH., CDE, Publisher