Some cyclists see electric bikes as ‘cheating’. There is a perception that you don’t really have to work on an electric bike. However, numerous studies have shown that electric bikes keep you fit. Some studies have also shown that ebike riders are more likely to ride their bike and do so for longer distances.
Yes. You do have to pedal
To be legal in the UK the motor on an electric bike can only engage when you are pedalling. If you stop pedalling the motor cuts out. So you will have to put some effort in to go anywhere. Most electric bikes come with a selection of modes so you can choose how much assistance the electric motor gives. If you have the bike in ‘sport’ or ‘boost’ mode rather than ‘eco’ you won’t have to put as much effort in, but you will still have to pedal.
Can you get a good workout on an electric bike?
A study done in American compared experienced mountain bikers riding a 5.5 mile circuit on both electric and non-electric bikes. The electric bike riders completed the circuit more quickly with an average speed 4.1mph higher than the non-electric riders. While doing this the ebike riders achieved a heart rate 94% as high as the non-electric riders. So, although they put in slightly less effort they were still getting a good cardiovascular workout and going faster. The study concluded that “eMTB use appears to be an excellent form of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise, even for experienced mountain bikers who regularly engage in this fitness activity”.