It’s pretty demoralizing to get passed by someone on an e-bike when you’re working hard on a climb and they’re not even breaking a sweat. But e-bikes are here to stay as market figures show huge growth around the world.
While some cyclists grimace at any mention of e-bikes, we must acknowledge that they’ve opened up cycling to new cyclists, those with injuries, long-distance commuters and bike-shares. So before you judge anyone on an e-bike, take a look at the ways e-bikes could enhance your cycling.
EXPAND YOUR COMMUTE
If you want to ride to work as part of your training but have held off due to the distance or difficulty of the route, an e-bike is your answer. Commuting can be just as fast on e-bikes, it’s lower stress and saves money, plus arriving to work without being sweaty is priceless (even if your office has a shower). Since you can control the level of assistance, you can decide how hard or easy you want your ride to be. While a fit cyclist may not get to the office faster (most e-bikes are limited to ~20 miles/hour), these same cyclists can move quickly at low levels of exertion, so they can pedal longer and arrive with lots of energy for the day ahead.
MORE EVENT-SPECIFIC TRAINING
While you might only think about e-bikes as heavy, commuter bikes on local paths, there has been tremendous progress in off-road options. The big brands are investing in making capable mountain bikes that are fun to ride and powerful enough to get you to the top of the mountain more often. Since you can get more runs in and have more time off-road you can boost your training for enduro racing. Rather than doing a few rides a week on a road bike, it is possible mountain bikers could now ride off-road more often without getting fatigued from hard, muscular efforts.
For those who stick to the road, you can use an e-bike to get more practice on mountain descents by climbing up the local mountain a few extra times on an endurance day. Similarly, a cyclocross or gravel rider could ride more courses and reach technical areas, like the top of a steep chute, more often without getting as fatigued. This increased access to event-specific terrain is a huge boost to the traditional training cyclists, in all disciplines, could do.
FLATTEN YOUR HILLY ROUTE
If you have tried to maintain a heart rate or power zone, then you know it takes skill and preparation to avoid very hilly routes. What if you could use an e-bike on those days to keep your output steady. Using an e-bike on your easy, endurance days lets you ride more variable routes. For cyclists who only have hilly routes, an e-bike could allow you to do your easy days on the road instead of on the indoor trainer.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Whether you are a cyclist looking to bike commute, a mountain biker looking to get more runs down technical descents or a road rider who wants to be in the mountains more, an e-bike can help. Electronic assist helps you control your output and maximize the speed you get to go on easy days while giving you more access to technical and event-specific terrain, which all make your cycling training more effective.