Why individuals purchased extra e-bikes than ever earlier than through the pandemic

The 2020 pandemic made walking and cycling more popular than ever. Governments around the world encouraged individuals to walk or cycle wherever possible instead of using overcrowded public transport, and invested in extensive cycling infrastructure to help them do so.

In the UK, the link between obesity and worse coronavirus results and the country’s new strategy on obesity led doctors to prescribe cycling to improve patient health.

While manufacturers and retailers reported an increase in bicycle sales and cycling in general during the pandemic, there are still many people who may not feel fit enough to cycle very far (or at all), long commute, or hilly Places to live.

For these people, bicycles that offer the rider electrical assistance when pedaling, so-called electric bicycles or e-bikes, have proven to be an attractive option because they make cycling easier. As a result, e-bike sales also boomed in 2020 and manufacturers struggled to keep up with demand.

[Read: Meet the 4 scale-ups using data to save the planet]

The advantages of e-bikes

E-bikes require less effort and allow the user to carry more luggage than traditional bikes. They are widely used for useful purposes such as shopping, commuting, and recreation. It was found that e-bike owners ride more often and longer than conventional cyclists.

E-bikes can be particularly useful in hilly areas. WAYHOME Studio / Shutterstock

In Europe, e-bikes represent one of the fastest growing segments of the transport market. In 2018, sales in Germany amounted to 23.5% of all bicycles sold, while more than half of the adult bicycles sold in the Netherlands in 2018 were electric.

That was before the pandemic sent numbers through the roof. According to industry groups, sales of e-bikes in Europe could double in the next five years.

A replacement for cars

Driving is an integral part of everyday life for many people, but it has a significant impact on the environment through air pollution, especially from congested traffic. With half of all car trips in the UK being between one and five miles, replacing many of them with e-cycling is an achievable goal.

To study the impact of e-cycling on travel, we reviewed previous research. In 42 studies that examined the effects of using e-bikes on other travel modes, the proportion of car journeys that were replaced after buying e-bikes ranged between 20% and 86%. The introduction of e-cycling can therefore, to some extent, help reduce congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

Who will benefit from e-bikes?

In a systematic review of the studies in 2018, we also looked at the health benefits of e-bikes. In 17 studies with a number of groups, we found that e-cycling resulted in physical activity of at least moderate intensity, less than the intensity produced by conventional cycling, but higher than that produced by walking. E-cycling can therefore help meet physical activity recommendations and improve physical fitness.

Most people who are not regularly active could benefit from e-cycling. For people with health problems like obesity or type 2 diabetes who may benefit most from physical activity but often find it difficult, e-cycling can be an important way to get more active.

A silhouette of a person riding an e-bike against a sunset background.E-cycling could increase active commuting among people who may have difficulty cycling in other ways. Shchus / Shutterstock

Our research shows that the active commuting rate is low in these groups – only 5.5% for those with type 2 diabetes. In response to these statistics, we conducted the first feasibility study to investigate whether e-cycling is acceptable for people with this condition and potentially can improve the health of people with the condition.

We recruited 20 people with type 2 diabetes to use an e-bike for 20 weeks. We found that the participants enjoyed using the e-bikes and cycled an average of 21 km per week. Participants’ heart rate during e-bike rides was 74.7% of maximum compared to 64.3% of maximum when walking, which is enough to improve fitness. This is comparable to the changes observed when healthy inactive individuals take up conventional cycling.

The future of e-bikes

An interest in the potential of e-bikes for other people to whom more physical activity is recommended but difficult to achieve, such as B. those who recover from cancer increases. We see a future where doctors could prescribe e-cycling to patients, with the option of buying bicycles at a reduced cost or sharing the payments.

Although it was a difficult year, the pandemic may have a small silver lining. With fewer of us commuting and less motorized travel overall, the pandemic has led to a change in physical activity behavior and increased awareness of traffic congestion and air pollution.

With many of us looking for, or rediscovering, ways to be active outdoors and limit motorized traffic, the future looks bright for e-cycling. With the development of smaller and more efficient batteries, e-bikes are getting lighter and longer, and are becoming a common sight on our roads.

E-bike providers often refer to the e-bike smile – the look of joy on people’s faces when they try it for the first time. Try to remember what it felt like when a parent held the back of your bike saddle and you flew along – the feeling is very similar.

If you haven’t tried an e-bike before, we recommend you do so. They’re great fun, make getting well a lot easier, and you may have a reason to look back on something positive from 2020.The conversation

This article was republished by Ashley Cooper, Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health, University of Bristol. Angie Page, Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health at Bristol University; and Jessica E Bourne, PhD student in the University of Bristol’s School for Policy Studies from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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Published on January 12, 2021 – 11:02 UTC

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