Something that people that don’t have much experience with e-bikes will often say is that e-bikes are cheating. The reality is that this couldn’t be further from the truth and that e-bikes can actually greatly assist people in achieving their goals.
So, are e-bikes cheating? The most popular form of e-bikes, pedal assist e-bikes, require that you pedal in order for the bike to move. This means that you will be getting a workout when riding an electric bike so in a fitness sense e-bikes are not cheating.
It’s hard to specifically say whether or not electric bikes are cheating mainly due to the wide variety of situations in which they can be used. In most situations, you will likely find that electric bikes are not cheating.
However, there is one situation where the use of electric bikes could easily be considered as cheating and that is racing. If you are using an electric bike in a race where everyone else is using a regular bike then that would be cheating.
But the reality is that 99% of people do not buy electric bikes for the purpose of racing.
Why E-Bikes Are Not Cheating
In a 2017 study, done by the University of Colorado Boulder, twenty sedentary commuters were given tests to measure their fitness levels and how healthy they were overall. They were then given e-bikes and told to use the electric bikes for at least 40 minutes per week while wearing heart rate monitors and GPS devices.
The participants then reported back a month later and had their fitness and health levels measured again. In all of the cases, it was found that their overall health levels had improved, their aerobic capacities had improved and their blood sugar control had also improved.
The findings would suggest then that using electric bikes can be a very effective way to improve a persons health and fitness levels. This then would suggest that the claim that electric bikes are cheating because you are not getting a workout is not really correct.
Not everyone can cycle a regular bike
Something that electric bikes are very good at is helping people to get into the world of cycling even when it’s too difficult for them to ride an ordinary bike.
The power assistance that is offered by electric bikes means that in order to cycle at the same speed as you would on an ordinary bike you will not need to pedal as hard when using an electric bike. This means that if someone has bad knee joints, or they are not in great shape or even if they are elderly and not as strong as they once were then an electric bike will give them the power to get the health benefits from cycling without needing to risk injury like they would on an ordinary bike.
In that case, the use of an electric bike would be far from cheating. Instead, the electric bike would be giving them the ability to improve their health in a way that wouldn’t have previously of been possible.
You would still be getting the same workout
When someone makes the switch from a normal bike to an electric bike they will normally continue to pedal just as hard as they would have been on the normal bike.
By pedaling just as hard using an electric bike it will mean that you will travel a bit faster due to the extra power being provided by the motor. Even though you will be traveling faster, you will still be working just as hard as you would have been since you will still be putting the same amount of effort into pedaling. This will mean that you will still be getting the same workout but you will be getting to your destination a little bit sooner.
In this case, the use of an electric bike isn’t really cheating since you will still be getting the same workout as you would have been.
Although, it should be noted, that many people get an electric bike because they don’t want to have to put in as much effort as they would have been on an ordinary bike. For those people that can still be done since they will be able to pedal more lightly while still being able to get to their destination in a reasonably quick time. This is why a lot of people like to use electric bikes to get to work where they can arrive without being hot and sweaty. Even in this case, you could argue that the use of an electric bike isn’t really cheating since they will still be getting a workout and for many of them the alternative isn’t a bike it’s a car.
Ordinary bikes aren’t always the substitute
For a lot of people, the use of an electric bike represents a new mode of transport. For them, electric bikes are not really replacing ordinary bikes since they wouldn’t have been using the bike for commuting anyway.
Instead, the use of an electric bike allows them to replace using a car to get everywhere. This is where the benefits of using an electric bike can really shine. By replacing the car they will be getting a much better workout than they would have been by using the car and they will be able to save on their gas and car maintenance bills. In this case, using an electric bike really is not cheating since they’re getting a much better workout than they would have with the alternative.
You’ll go further
Since you can cycle more quickly while putting in the same amount of effort when cycling an electric bike it means that you will be able to travel further distances when using an electric bike. This means that cycling longer distances regularly on an electric bike is more feasible. In this case, an electric bike becomes more of a necessity than something to cheat with.
They are heavy
Due to the addition of the electric motor and the battery, electric bikes tend to be around 20 pounds heavier than they would have been if they were an ordinary bike. This means that they are harder to cycle than an ordinary bike when not using the motor so if you want a hard workout then cycling without the assistance is an option for you. It also means that even when cycling with the assistance of the motor you will still be getting more of an upper body workout since you will need to be working harder to keep the bike upright and to corner. So, there are ways in which an electric bike will cause you to have to work out more than you would have been with an ordinary bike.
They can be pedaled like normal
Just because electric bikes allow you to make use of an electric motor to go faster it doesn’t mean that you have to use it. This means that you can still use the bike like an ordinary bike if you want to so that you can be sure that you are getting a workout in getting to your destination. On that, however, I would say that instead of cycling without the assistance why not just pedal harder with the assistance turned on? That way you’ll still be getting a workout and you’ll be able to use the motor to get to your destination more quickly.
They get people exercising
There are a lot of people that wouldn’t consider getting an ordinary bike but like the novelty that an electric bike has to offer. Due to that electric bikes can get people cycling and doing exercise that wouldn’t normally be doing it. In this case whether or not e-bikes are cheating doesn’t really matter since they wouldn’t be cycling without the electric motor.
They are fun
One of the biggest benefits of electric bikes is that they are normally enjoyable to use. Things such as cycling up hills or cycling into headwinds are not as difficult when using an electric bike. They make things that would normally be difficult, when using an ordinary bike, easier. Due to this the probability that you will stick it out when using an e-bike is higher. So, in the long run, the use of an e-bike could be very beneficial for you.
The motor in electric bikes also allows you to cycle in places where it wouldn’t be possible for you on an ordinary bike. Fat tire electric bikes can be cycled in the sand or in snow which an ordinary bike couldn’t do. The use of an e-bike in these situations is not cheating since an ordinary bike wouldn’t even be an option.
The people that knock e-bikes have never tried them
You’ll often find that the people who talk down to people for using an electric bike have never actually used on and do not really know what it is like to ride one. So, their anger towards e-bike riders should really be taken with a grain of salt.
Does it matter?
Ultimately, whether or not electric bikes are cheating doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are happy with your choice and that you are getting the benefits out of using it. If other people do not like you using an electric bike because they think that it is somehow cheating then that really isn’t your problem and you shouldn’t really pay much attention to it.
Can you get fit on an electric bike? As mentioned in the study above the use of an electric bike can help you to improve your overall fitness and health levels. The amount of the fitness and health benefits that you get will depend on how hard you pedal when using it and your current fitness levels.