The Benefits of E-Bikes: What the Research Shows

March 9, 2017    

Is it cheating? Ask yourself this: if it keeps you on a bike, and you keep pedaling, and you get exercise you wouldn’t get if you quit riding, is it a good thing? Electric assist (emphasis on the assist part) aren’t mopeds. You pedal, the bike measures your effort, and then adds to it.

Think of it as an endless tailwind.

We compiled the latest research and real-world experiments showing what we’ve known for a long time: E-bikes allow people to keep pedaling longer, further, and more often than they might have thought possible.

Electric assist bikes provide meaningful exercise, cardiovascular benefits
University of Colorado, Boulder, March 2017

A new University of Colorado Boulder study shows that using an electrically-powered bicycle on a regular basis can provide riders with an effective workout while improving some aspects of cardiovascular health, especially for riders who previously had been sedentary.

Bicycle commuting improves public health, reduces medical costs
Minnesota Department of Transportation and University of Minnesota, February 2017

“We learned that bicycling is linked to lower risk of metabolic syndrome, obesity, and hypertension,” Pereira says. “For example, taking three additional bicycle trips per week is associated with 46 percent lower odds of metabolic syndrome, 32 percent lower odds of obesity, and 28 percent lower odds of hypertension.”

Oslo Offers Citizens $1,200 to Buy an E-Bike
City of Oslo, Norway, January 2017

“Electric cargo bikes are a potentially greater part of the solution here. Not only do they give riders a push up hills, they also make bikes a feasible option for new purposes like weekly grocery shopping. They can even be used for the school commute: In Copenhagen, it’s already common to see parents pedaling several small children to school in a cart attached to their bike.”

Pedelecs as a physically active transportation mode
European Journal of Applied Physiology, August 2016

“Conclusion: Participants rode a pedelec in the real world at a self-selected moderate intensity, which helped them meet physical activity recommendations. Pedelec commuting also resulted in significant improvements in 2-h post-OGTT glucose, [Formula: see text], and power output. Pedelecs are an effective form of active transportation that can improve some cardiometabolic risk factors within only 4 weeks.”

Evaluation of Electric Bike Use at Three Kaiser Permanente NW Employment Centers in Portland Metro Region
Portland State University, June 2016

“This study’s findings support the general hypothesis that e-bikes enable users to bike to more distant locations, bike more frequently and allow a broader participation in cycling for certain segments of the population by reducing barriers to cycling. Further research is needed to understand how e-bikes might replace other modes of transportation, including standard bicycles, vehicles and public transit.”

Effects of e-bikes on bicycle use and mode share
Institute of Transport Economics, May 2015

Highlights
•E-bikes increase the amount of cycling; both expressed as number of trips and as distance cycled.
•E-bikes have a larger effect on female than male cyclists.
•E-bikes have similar effects on all age groups.
•E-bikes affect commute travel as well as leisure time travel.
•Those who had the ebike for the longest time used it most.

“People travel twice as much on the electric bike [as on a regular bike], both in terms of kilometres, amount of trips, and as part of the total transportation. The effect of having an electric bike was particularly strong among women. They did far more trips with their e-bikes than men did. Men, on the other hand, often went for longer trips once they were out cycling.”

 

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