Should I hire an electric bike?

E-bike control | Lachlan Gardiner
E-bike control | Lachlan Gardiner

Once a rare alternative, electric bicycles – or e-bikes – are growing in popularity, especially for those looking to ride cycle trails with confidence, and often without all the sweat.

Having first offered cycling in India in 1978 and pioneering the first commercial cycling adventures in both China and Vietnam, we know a thing or two about opening up a world of adventure and self-discovery by bike. The great thing about opting for this style of travel is that you don’t need to be a super fit cyclist to explore destinations on two wheels – thanks to the e-bike's battery-powered pedalling ‘boost’.

The growing availability of e-bikes on cycling holidays, which kicked off in Europe, has now expanded to destinations in Vietnam, China, New Zealand, Mongolia, Cambodia, Laos and Japan, giving less able cyclists the confidence to enjoy backroads and picturesque cycle trails they may otherwise have considered too tough for their capabilities.

E-bikes are perfect for cyclists that may require a little assistance on their adventure travels, so you can enjoy every enchanting side road you pass without physical limitations. But are electric bikes worth it, and how do they work? Read on for answers to some frequently asked questions on e-bikes and the benefits they offer.

Jump to a section:
What the difference between an electric bike and a regular bike?
How does an electric bike work? 
Who would most benefit from using an electric bike?
What are the advantages of riding an e-bike?
Why are e-bikes more expensive than a regular bike?
Should I still train for my cycling trip even though I will have an e-bike?
 

What's the difference between an electric bike and a regular bike?

An electric bike has all the features of a regular bicycle with the addition of an electrical drive system.

They are slightly bigger and heavier than the ordinary bike due to its motor, however, don't get them confused a scooter or electric motorcycle; they are quite different. E-bikes still need to be pedalled, shifted, and steered like you would any other bike, only with the added benefit of having a small engine to assist with your pedalling. So having reasonable handling to hold up an e-bike and the ability to balance on a bicycle is a basic requirement.

How does an electric bike work?

Designed to make cycling easier, electric bikes enable people of all different fitness levels to cycle together and tackle routes that previously would have been too difficult.

It consists of a battery, a motor, a way to integrate the motor’s power into the drivetrain, and a way to control that power.

The motor is your friend as it adds a speed boost when pedalling up that steep incline or taking on a more lengthy cycling distance. It won't leave you exhausted halfway with that extra push.

When riding an e-bike, the display will show you how fast you are going and the distance you've ridden. Depending on the model, e-bikes can provide up to 80 kilometres of pedal assistance before requiring recharging. Simple charge the battery, attach it to your e-bike, turn on the power and adjust the pedal assist level to how much or how little 'boost' you would like on your journey.

Each e-bike has a range of pedal-assist levels (eco, normal and high) and can be easily charged up at night by your guide. Our guides will also demonstrate how to operate the bike so you're set to go. Easy!

Who would most benefit from using an electric bike?

Built with comfort and simple operation in mind, and with unisex frames available, an e-bike makes it easy for anyone looking to enjoy the ride without the physical strain. This makes cycling trips around the world a viable option, regardless of one's fitness level.

Aren't an avid cyclist, new to road cycling and cycling holidays or nervous about your endurance on the trail? Upgrading to an e-bike can help you feel more confident.

Want to tackle tougher climbs? An e-bike allows for that extra boost.

Have joint issues or recovering from an injury and not quite back to full physical capacity? The added support from an e-bike takes it easy on your legs and knees than when riding a traditional bike.

Choosing an electric bike is a great solution for those who are concerned about their fitness or physical capabilities, allowing people with varying levels of cycling experience, health and fitness levels the opportunity to cycle together.

What are the advantages of riding an e-bike?

Apart from the above-mentioned points, there are many additional benefits of using an electric bike.

•  They are eco-friendly and efficient.

•  Easy to use. E-bikes are quick to master and make active holidays physically easier without taking away from the adventurous spirit of the trip.

•  Make a great equaliser when different members of the family or friends have different strength and stamina levels. No longer will you have to worry about keeping up, but simply focus on spending quality time together. With a little extra power, rough terrain is no longer an issue, and daunting headwinds won’t slow you down.

•  Can mean a more fun ride. For many, choosing an e-bike can mean a more relaxed journey where you can spend more time enjoying your surroundings than huffing and puffing. You can better enjoy your surrounds with electric assistance to minimise the physical challenges, so you focus more on taking in new places and welcoming new experiences. It just adds that extra comfort and ease on the trail.

•  Are an added safety net. With less impact on your joints and reducing much of the cycling strain on your legs than a regular bike, if you have injuries or physical conditions, an electric bike allows you to still have a fun and active time. It also won't make you feel like the odd one out.

•  Get you achieving bigger goals! Tougher cycling routes seem more achievable and if you're a newcomer to cycling trips, you can enjoy the benefits of an e-bike at handlebar level.

Why are e-bikes more expensive than a regular bike?

The added motor and the fact that an e-bike will require more maintenance means hiring an electric bike will cost more than an ordinary bike. So if the support and added ease of an electric pedal assist on your travels appeals to you, it may well be worth the investment.

Should I still train for my cycling trip even though I will have an e-bike?

Yes. If you're looking to complete a multi-day e-bike ride, we still recommend riding practice on a variety of terrains and cycling regularly to make your trip more enjoyable.

So perhaps you can do that New Zealand cycling trip your friends want to do?

If you’re curious about being able to ride through stunning landscapes that you may otherwise steer clear of, we have a number of cycle tours with e-bike options available.

 

Cycling, cycle trails, ebikes, electric bikes, electronic bicycles, bike trails, road cycling, bike hire, e-bike

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