Porfas Padilla | Top5ebikes
If you were on the fence in 2019 you’re probably not on the fence anymore. There’s just never been a better time to buy an ebike and if you don’t believe me, just take note of the explosion of new bike brands that have been popping up in the last two years. We have ebikes of all shapes and sizes (some that don’t even really look like bikes at all) entering the market now and prices have honestly never been lower for quality electric bicycles that will stand the test of time. Interest is sky high and people are super intrigued by the number of benefits these bikes offer. In this article, we’ll review the top 5 reasons why you should buy an electric bike this year. No, this month!
Ebikes get you off your couch
We are witnessing a monumental shift in fitness culture right now. We are trending away from conventional gym memberships towards at home workouts and Peloton style virtual classes. Staying home is clearly the best way to remain socially distant from others and prevent the spread of the virus, but what if you hate the gym in the first place? What if your “gym” is hiking trails and beach volleyball? Those activities may prove difficult or unrealistic because of city crackdowns on public spaces, but riding a bike? Turns out you can do that pretty much everywhere, even in a pandemic.
Electric bikes are especially gaining popularity right now because, not only is it an excellent form of aerobic and cardiovascular exercise, it’s an activity that can easily be enjoyed while social distancing. A University of Colorado Boulder study conducted in 2016 revealed that riding an e-bike on a regular basis resulted in improved fitness and blood sugar levels. The study also linked biking fitness to lower blood pressure and improved heart function.
It can be very easy to fall into the trap of settling into a sedentary lifestyle where you rarely leave your couch except maybe to get takeout or to buy groceries. For many people dealing with the harsh realities of the pandemic; a house full of small children, the challenge of having to care for elderly family members; just making time to workout is enough of a challenge. However, for those of us who have the option and just need to leave the house for 30 or 40 mins, an ebike is an ideal way to do it. If your aim is to maintain an active lifestyle and enjoy the outdoors while still maintaining strict adherence to social distancing guidelines, you’d be hard pressed to do better than an ebike.
Ebikes help your mental health
If ever there were a time to prioritize your mental wellbeing, it’s now. With all of the stresses we’re facing in this life today, it’s crucial that we take as much time to develop our minds as well as our bodies. There have been numerous studies linking the effects of nature to higher vitality and lower stress levels. According to Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, “Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.” He adds “Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses.” One of the keys to good health could be as simple as spending more time in natural settings.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 Americans deal with serious mental illness, including major depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is proven that exercise helps to reduce anxiety and depression because it elevates your mood as chemicals like endorphins and serotonin are released. If we are to take these studies at face value there are few activities more effective in feeding your mind (and soul) than a leisurely ebike trip around your local park.
They’re a convenient and reliable alternative to car travel
The National Institute for Transportation and Communities surveyed 1,800 electric bike riders in 2018 and the results were eye-opening. The study found that riders take longer trips and bike more often than people with traditional bikes. Ebikes are leveling the playing field for everyone, allowing riders of all fitness levels to ride longer distances for longer intervals over geography that would be less accessible on a conventional road bike. Whereas many daily commuters might have been reluctant to ride a traditional bike, fearing they would show up sweaty or disheveled to work, the ebike commuter can do it with relative ease.
Additionally, cities across the nation are getting wise and making bike sharing programs, along with investment in bike paths, a defining feature in their plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The Citibike and Biketown initiatives in Manhattan and Portland are prime examples of ways cities are embracing ebikes as a reliable alternative to car travel, making them as cheap, accessible and convenient as any other form of public transit.
They’re ultra sustainable
Ebikes are considered zero emission vehicles, as are electric scooters, Onewheels and other car alternatives. They use considerably less energy than electric cars and require far less resources to manufacture them in factories. In the best case scenario an electric car pulls its electricity from a power grid that generates most of its energy from cleaner sources like, hydroelectric, wind, solar and nuclear power, which is a claim only European countries like France, Norway and Sweden can make. Unfortunately, the United States still relies on mostly fossil fuels for its power grid which means that the potential ecological benefit from driving an electric car in the US is much less substantial than in those European countries.
This is not a knock on those well-intentioned people who have invested in hybrid and electric vehicles, but when it comes to sustainability the bicycle reigns supreme. According to a Portland State Study by replacing car travel with an ebike, a single person could prevent 500lbs of Co2 from entering our atmosphere each year. Bikes also reduce congestion in cities and reduce noise pollution, making them more livable and healthier for citizens in urban settings.
And guess what? They’re affordable too
Most consumers are not going to replace all their cars with ebikes anytime soon. That’s just not realistic. However, strong arguments can be made for households to replace one of their cars with an ebike and save a considerable amount of money. Consider that the average cost of electricity in the US is about $0.13 per kilowatt hour. The average price of gas is about $2.17 a gallon. If you had a 500W battery on your ebike that you charged every single day for a year (not likely) you would pay about 6 and a half cents per day. That comes out to $24 for the year in electricity and that’s if you’re using your ebike every day. Now compare that to the $868 you would pay in gas per year for a vehicle that gets 25 mpg, assuming you drove it only 10,000 miles in a year. Then add another $7-$8000 per year in costs to own a car on average, including car payment, insurance, DMV fees, and maintenance. If you’re a two or three car household, replacing one of those vehicles could yield savings of about $8000 per year when compared to the cost of owning an ebike.
As for the cost of the bike itself, what you used to have to pay about three or four grand for- a high quality and durable ebike with decent components- you can now get for as little as $1,000. Part of the reason for this is that the cost to manufacture lithium batteries keeps getting cheaper and cheaper, but that’s not the only reason. What we’re witnessing today, and what has been happening in a lot of industries (think Dollar Shave Club, Nectar, and HelloFresh) is the rise of direct to consumer ebike brands flooding the market. This is WONDERFUL for consumers because now instead of paying $5,000 for a marked up bike purchased from a bike retail store, you can buy a comparable and sometimes even COOLER bike direct from the manufacturer. Companies like Juiced Bikes, Aventon, VanMoof, Ride1Up and, of course Rad Power Bikes have risen to the forefront of the ebike movement offering exciting and innovative designs for high quality bikes at prices that were unheard of 3 or 4 years ago.
So there you have it. Five awesome reasons why ebikes could change your life for the better. They don’t cost too much, are an ideal form of fitness and are proven to elevate your mood. They are one of the most sustainable forms of transportation and are super convenient. Best of all, they are just plain FUN. And don’t we all need a little more fun in our lives? Happy Holidays from the Top5ebikes team!