Ebike Fitness Levels Compared to Conventional Bikes: Unveiling the Advantages of Electric Bike Exercise

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Research Finds E-Bike Riders Get More Exercise

  • A recent study published in Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives discovered that individuals who opt for e-bikes tend to engage in more exercise minutes per week compared to those who ride traditional bicycles.
  • Moreover, e-bikers also reported covering significantly greater distances during their trips, whether using an e-bike or a regular bike.
  • Interestingly, individuals who switched from public transportation or car rides to using e-bikes as a means of transportation experienced a noticeable improvement in their fitness levels.

Are E-Bikes Really Cheating?

E-bikes often receive negative criticism, with some claiming that these motor-assisted bikes offer an easy way out. But does this mean that you are compromising your workout and fitness levels when you choose to ride one?

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Researchers at the University of Zurich sought to answer this question. They conducted an initial survey and followed up every two weeks for nearly a year, tracking the habits of over 10,000 riders who used electric bikes as well as traditional bicycles. Participants recorded their weekly time spent engaging in metabolic equivalent task (MET) exercises. (Activities with a moderate intensity level fall within the 3 to 6 METs range, which could include leisurely riding at a pace of approximately 5.5 to just under 10 mph. Riding at 15 mph would result in a MET-level of 10.)

The Benefits of E-Bikes

Results published in Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives revealed that many e-bike users also used regular bikes. In fact, e-bike users tended to ride both types of bikes for longer periods compared to individuals who solely relied on conventional bicycles, according to Alberto Castro Fernández, Ph.D., the author of the study. Additionally, e-bike users traveled longer distances in terms of time and distance, whether using e-bikes or regular bicycles, compared to non-e-bike riders.

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For example, those who rode e-bikes reported longer average distances for both e-bike trips (9.4K) and conventional bike trips (8.4K), whereas traditional cyclists recorded shorter distances (4.8K). Furthermore, e-bikers had an average daily travel distance of 8K, while conventional cyclists covered 5.3K.