Electric bicycles are like electric cars. People who don’t like them are usually people who haven’t tried them. I was at a local farmers’ market recently where I got to take a test ride on an electric bicycle. I only drove it for about 50 feet before I knew I wanted one. At an age when creaky knees and hips are beginning to impact my lifestyle choices, an e-bike — sometimes called a pedelec — could fulfill most of my transportation needs, at least in the warmer months.
E-Bike Use Varies By Country
e-bikeThe e-bike is a bit of a regional phenomenon. They are hugely popular in European countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and France. In fact, nearly a third of all bicycles sold in the Netherlands today are electric. In the UK, sales are less than half that. In the US, they are still a relatively new phenomenon.
Why An Electric Bike?
What is it about electric bikes that makes them so appealing? “It’s quite difficult to explain what one feels like. You’re still cycling but it’s like being an Olympic athlete. You can go faster and longer; hills are less effort. The acceleration is quite fun, even for the most skeptical grown up,” is how Steve Gardis, operations director for the UK Bicycle Association puts it in a piece in The Guardian. “Ebikes level the playing field,” he says. “People of different abilities and fitness can cycle together. People can cycle with their enthusiast partners. Grandparents can go out with their families because e-bikes close that gap.”
Paul Stewart of UK cycle distributor Moore Large says, “If you look at our cities and the way that we commute, the e-bike gives you the opportunity to get around at a reasonable pace. You don’t need to get all hot and sweaty, you don’t need to pay [car] tax or have a driving licence, because they’re classed as bikes.
What Is An E-Bike?
In its most basic form, an electric bicycle is little more than a conventional bike that has a small electric motor and a battery added. Most have an electronic control system that allows the rider to select the level of assistance desired, ranging from none to full electric operation. The batteries are usually designed so they can be easily detached and brought inside for recharging using a normal electrical outlet when the ride is done. Most have a range of at least 10 miles, with 30 to 40 miles being typical.
Just as with an electric car, the weight of the motor and battery can affect the balance of the bike. In general, integrating the motor into the hub where the pedals attach to the frame and mounting the battery low in the chassis result in the best riding experience. By law, e-bikes are limited to a top speed of between 15 and 20 mph, depending on the country they are used in. Otherwise, they turn into a different vehicle class.
https://cleantechnica.com/2017/09/24/ri ... er-health/