Commuting by bicycle, including e-bike, has steadily been increasing in popularity around the world. For example, in the United States, a 2014 US Census Bureau report revealed that biking to work has increased over 60% in the past decade. The highest rates were seen on the West Coast, in particular, Portland, Oregon. Similar statistics have also been reported in the UK. In 2017, e-bikes made up 50% of all bikes sold in Belgium. Canada is not far behind as e-bikes are attracting increased attention. Various Canadian in-store and online retailers currently offer a variety of e-bikes, in a wide range of prince ranges; do not hesitate to contact one today.
Types of E-Bikes
Three types of e-bike classes exist.
- Class 1: Pedal Assist/Pedelec – These are considered the most common type of e-bike. They require pedaling, with motor assistance. They can be used on most roads and pathways, do not require additional licensing, and have a top speed of 32kph.
- Class 2: Throttle– Class 2 e-bikes are less common, and are propelled forward through a motor without any pedaling.
- Class 3: Speed Pedelec – Class 3 e-bikes allow for speeds of up to 45 kph. A license is often required in many areas.
Where to Purchase E-Bikes
E-bikes can be purchased at a variety of retailers, in-store and online-bikes for beginners and professionals, in a wide variety of prices can easily be found. Best of all, many online retailers offer free shipping as well.
Costs of E-Bikes
A quick survey of e-bike prices in Canada reveals that electric city bikes and electric mountain bikes both range from $2,000 to $3,200 CAD.
One important variable to consider when purchasing an e-bike is battery charging. It costs approximately $0.05 to fully charge a 36-volt 10Ah battery. A full charge allows one to travel for approximately 24 to 32 km.
In addition, the battery type will influence the cost of the bike as well. For example, Lead-acid electric bike batteries (SLA) are the cheapest, but do not last very long and are quite heavy. Nickel-cadmium electric bike batteries (NiCd) last longer than SLAs, but are expensive, heavy, and harder to recycle. Nickel-metal Hydride electric bike batteries (NiMh) last longer, are easier to dispose of, but are more expensive than NiCds. Finally, Lithium-ion electric bike batteries (Li-ion) make up 90% of the electric battery market. They are typically expensive, lighter and last longer.
Additional costs include, tune up at $75 to $100+ CAD, flat tire fix at $10 to $20 CAD, brake adjustment at $20 to $25 CAD, and drive train replacement or adjusting at $20 to $60 CAD.
Benefits of E-Bikes
A 2017 study found that commuting by bicycle was associated with a lower range of adverse health effects. Active commuting, including cycling, is linked with lowered risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, especially for women. These include hypertension, diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. There was also evidence of lowered risk of mortality and cancer as well.
According to Harvard Medical School, cycling is good for the heart. A 2017 Physical Inactivity and Sedentary Behaviour Report revealed over 20 million adults in the UK are not meeting government guidelines for activity. Keeping physically active, in activities such as cycling, can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by 35%.90% of the cyclist commuters achieve their physical activity guidelines.
Harvard also states that one of the top main benefits of cycling includes reducing pressure on joints. Sitting on a bicycle puts the body’s weight on 2 pelvis bones called the ischial tuberosities, as opposed to one’s legs, as is done while walking. This makes it less painful for those with joint-related stiffness and the elderly.
Secondly, cycling allows one to be social while exercising the body. According to Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, “It’s socially oriented, it’s fun, and it gets you outside and exercising.”
Cycling may improve one’s balance and muscle strength as well.
In addition, 2013’s European Cyclists Federation study revealed that biking is environmentally friendly. While vehicles emit 271g of carbon dioxide per kilometre of travel, bikes only emit 21g.
Finally, and best of all, cycling to work saves money! It is about 50% cheaper when taking into account savings on transportation and parking costs.
Recent findings have shown that a city’s policymakers have a big impact on public health by encouraging citizens to cycle to work.
Various Canadian cities seem open to the idea, including Calgary, in which the popularity of e-bikes is rapidly increasing. In 2018, the city introduced shareable e-bikes as a way to reduce barriers to active modes of transportation.