An E Bike Date Night provided adventure, travel, and just enough exercise. Read on for reasons why you might want to consider Electric Bikes for your next night out or commute to work.
Pandemic Life and all of its stressors had left me wanting to do something fun and different with my husband. When we just eat out we tend to talk logistics, or parenting struggles, or that favorite of all current conversation-starters: “How LONG is this going to last?”
When some great friends offered to let us try out their E-Bikes, we jumped at the chance. Parking at Chickahominy Riverfront Park, we rode 14 miles of the Virginia Capital Trail, up to Cull’s Courthouse Grille in Charles City, VA to listen to live music on the patio.
An Electronic Bike (E Bike, E-Bike, or even eBike) uses electric power as well as pedaling. These bikes ride and handle like normal bicycles with the option to add power using the attached motor. So you have choices as you ride! You can pedal only and get your full workout in. You can use pedal assist - you are pedaling but the motor is pushing you faster than your legs on their own, or you can twist the throttle and be dependent on the motor for all movement.
On our bike ride, which was my first time on an E Bike, I used pedal assist. I pedaled the whole time but used the motor to go faster. My bike had a range of 1-5 for pedal assist and I spent most of the trip in 3 or 4, going up to 5 when I used the throttle on hills.
E Bikes have a number of benefits, the greatest being the ability for riders to go further while using less energy. This evening, I could have ridden my regular bike the 14 miles. It simply would have taken me much longer and I would have been more tired (and sweaty!). Using the E-Bikes allowed us to have a destination plus a great ride. We had a date night of bike riding, music, and dinner. Without the electric add-on to the bike, the ride would have been the main event and taken significantly more time.
The same benefits apply to commuters using eBikes. When you ride an E-Bike to get to work, you arrive more quickly and with much less of a post-workout shine.
But keep in mind that by using pedal assist, I did get exercise. E Bikes certainly provide a cardio workout, as has been confirmed by doctors. As long as you aren’t using electric-only for the full ride, your blood will be pumping.
An E bike ride using pedal assist is equal to a brisk walk. If I rode my E Bike for 14 miles, my workout was similar to if I had taken a 14-mile walk. That’s a healthy workout!
Aside from the regular bicycle parts, E Bikes use a motor, battery, and drive train. The motor - what puts the E in E bike - comes in three different types. Front Hub motors are on the front tire. Rear Hub motors spin the back tire to provide propulsion. Mid-Drive motors send power to the drive train. The bike I rode used a mid-drive motor, which created a more natural ride and allowed me to shift gears in addition to adjusting pedal-assist.
E Bike Batteries usually provide between 20-60 miles of charge. You charge the battery by plugging it in for about 2-4 hours. The Drive Train creates the power that moves the wheels. When mid-drive motors send power to the drive train, chain cranking requires less work.
We borrowed Rad Power Bikes from our friends. The models we used were “Rad Rovers” or “Electric Fat Bikes.” The wheels were fat - allowing use over any kind of terrain. The challenge? These bikes are not light. At almost 80 lbs., the Electic Fat Bike is most likely not what you use for a daily commute or anything that requires you to transport it regularly.
But, if you are looking for an eBike to put in your trunk, or carry onto public transportation, Rad Power Bike makes those too. Rad’s mission is to get E bikes into the hands (and feet) of everyone, for a range of needs. The owners are passionate about E bikes as the future of transportation and hope for our climate and communities.
For around town and getting to work, you would do better choosing a City Electric Bike, such as the Rad Mission 1. A Folding Electric Bike is also a great option if you need to save space but want the full eBike experience.
On our ride the other evening, we biked over a bridge, just in time for the sunset. I was in my happy zone. This is what I call this my Golden Retriever state, comparing it to those silly, happy dogs with their heads out the car windows. I was outside, my body was moving and I was covering distances at a really fun speed.
With kids and cargo, I'm not ready to completely give up on cars, as some have. But after this great date night, I'm sold on the belief that electric bikes hold a large space in the future of transportation. I just hope E Bikes are in my future, too.