To e-bike or not to e-bike? That is the question! Some people turn their noses up at the idea, while others are crazy about it: with e-bikes, opinions are divided. In this blog we look at the pros and cons of motorized bicycles, and ask the fundamental question: are e-bikes really just for lazy people?
How an e-bike works
First of all, the defining feature of an e-bike, also known as a “pedelec”, is the small, battery-powered electric motor that makes pedaling easier. An electric bicycle does not ride by itself, but is more of a bicycle with a “built-in tailwind”: the motor only helps when you pedal.
The advantages of e-bikes
The extra boost provided by an e-bike’s motor offers some big advantages:
Relaxed uphill cycling
If inclines are not your thing, then an e-bike gives you the necessary thrust to cycle uphill in a relaxed manner. It offers exactly the same discreet assistance when pedaling into a headwind. This benefit is especially pleasant if you’re not a big sporting ace.
With the motor of an e-bike always helping out, you can manage longer distances and you’ll probably reach your destination faster. Since you can travel further and faster with an e-bike, it’s also a good alternative for your car, for example on the daily commute to work or when running errands around town.
The disadvantages of e-bikes
Okay, so e-bikes have some strong advantages. But there must be a catch somewhere, right? Right.
Reliance on charged batteries
The battery that powers the e-bike motor must be charged regularly. This can limit the range of the e-bike, especially when you use more battery on a higher power setting. Without the motorized pedal support, most e-bikes are much more difficult to ride than an ordinary bicycle.
More difficult to control than a regular bike
This brings us to another disadvantage: cycling on an e-bike has to be learned. So if you’ve only ever cycled on normal bicycles, then you have to get used to riding an e-bike. And if you’re not an experienced cyclist, an e-bike is not necessarily the best choice as it’s heavier and faster at the same time, so steering isn’t easy. This can sometimes cause problems, especially in dense city traffic or traveling with a group.
An expensive investment
Another factor is that an e-bike is more expensive than a regular bicycle. Expect it to cost about twice the price. What’s more, maintenance costs are higher because, if an electronic component breaks, it’s more expensive to repair.
The battery doesn’t last forever either. After a few years it will need to be replaced. How long will it last? That depends on the manufacturer, the type of battery and your cycling behavior: the more often you ride, the sooner you’ll need a new battery. And that can be quite expensive. So it’s worth paying attention to battery prices when you buy it.
Get in shape
Even if the e-bike has its critics, they really have no reason to dismiss e-biking. More and more people are doing it. And the presumption that an electric bike doesn’t help keep you fit is just not true.
Researchers have long since proven that e-bikers consume almost as many calories as their non-motorized colleagues. And it helps people who are not so fit to access a physical activity and improve their strength and fitness in a gentle way. So, with all this in mind… what are you waiting for?
The bottom line on e-bikes
Want to improve your fitness in a relaxed way? Or need to take care of yourself for health reasons? Then an e-bike is worth it. Especially if you want to leave your car at home more often, then an e-bike is a great solution: you can reach work, or the shopping center in the next town or neighborhood, in no time at all. Using an e-bike not only helps you to improve your physical condition, but it’s also good for the environment.
On the other hand, if you usually only ride short distances, an e-bike is not worthwhile because of the high purchase price. Also, because it’s less maneuverable, an e-bike is often not suitable for routes with a lot of traffic or trips with larger groups.
E-bikes with Boat Bike Tours
Already made up your mind? It’s good to know that you can rent an e-bike on all our tours. However, our supply is limited. That’s why you should let us know well in advance if you want to rent an e-bike from us. You can find out more on our e-bikes page. On some of our tours you can also take your own e-bike and bring it on the boat. Ask us about the possibilities before booking your trip!
Why not fill in a few brief questions here and let us help you find the right tour for you? And if you’re not quite ready to have a chat, sign up for our free email course—you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about boat and bike tours in Europe.