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Since discovering the joy of riding again with my Gepida Reptila Bosch powered ebike, I have been amazed by the number of intelligent people who tell me I’m cheating as I ride with my kids… to the shops… to the park… through the bush… to the cafes (my favourite trip by far).

I was lamenting as such to the inspirational Fiona Campbell from The City Of Sydney and her wise response to these people is “we are not in a race”.

Fiona Campbell is a Yoda to this cycling Padawan. Fiona has not driven for over 20 years. Cycling is not only a primary means of transport, but a way of life and a career. She rides to shop, to work, to the park with her puppies… she rides for joy and not to race, and on her beloved Butchers & Bicycles bosch powered e-cargo bike she is cheating no-one.

With this clarity and simplicity in mind I consider the riding force that is being embraced around the world and I speak to the doubters.

If you’ve not experienced one yet, read a refresher on what the modern electric bike is and does.

The Things People Say

“You Won’t Get Fit”

Fitness is not the primary reason for riding a bike in most parts of the world… nor is racing. Riding an electric bike is, of course, better for my health than not riding at all, but did you know for the average person, the assistance that an electric bike offers means they can ride greater distances (longer), more often, with heavier loads? This means a more sustainable, maintainable fitness that is not only more enjoyable than sitting on an electric bike in a gym, it is gentler on the heart and metabolism.

ebike-ibpi-webinar-june-2014-final-mac-arthur-65-638ebike-ibpi-webinar-june-2014-final-mac-arthur-66-638(graph credit to Geoff Rose “Encouraging ebike use” Engineering dept Transport at Monash University 2006)

“It’s cheating when ebikes pass me on the hills!

It’s not about cheating, it’s about choice. True that I don’t have to work as hard as others. True also that if I did have to, then I wouldn’t get on my bike in my work gear, on hot days, lazy days, or actually, if I’m being honest, at all!! I loathe hills! BUT if I did choose to make my commute a workout, I could just turn the assistance off and sweat like every other poor sucker I see struggling over the Gladesville bridge on their nightly commute home.

“It's cheating because the motor helps you ride faster”

This is actually just wrong. If I’m flying along with the breeze on my cheeks and not a care in the world, I am probably cycling at about 30km/h. European (and Australian) standard (number…) for ebikes mean the 250watt pedal assisted motor cuts off at 25km an hour. With the wind on my cheeks at 25k/h I’m still eating the dust of my two sons as they steam ahead of me under their own muscle…but at least I’m out there with them! The assist helps me get up to speed and stay there for longer. It helps on hills and in a headwind…but it doesn’t make me a triathlete!

I particularly appreciate the e-oomph in traffic. I know I can pull away quickly and safely from intersections and lights… not cheating… just feeling safe.

 

I’m not cheating if I…

save my hip pocket by riding more than I drive. enjoy family holidays and adventures that were previously not an option. Save the planet by pursuing a far more environmental transport solution every day. Get on a bike

Since discovering the joys of e-cycling, I now ride. I shop locally. I spend more time in recreation with my kids. I’m fitter. I’d say I’m winning without cheating!

But if you are looking for a race where an bike isn't cheating  The Clean NRG ebike challenge might be the thing to test your mettle? I'll wait for you at the finish line ;).

About The Author

EK-Cargo-Bike Harold and I heading to the park on our Reise & Muller cargo bike

Elizabeth Krassoi is a slightly (ok…fairly) overweight, (almost) middle aged, busy mother of three who was introduced to the joy of ebikes just a few years ago. Since discovering ebikes/active transport and becoming more involved with her crazy husband's “love what you do” business change, Elizabeth has found more and more reason to employ her marketing skills and Environmental Science background to advocate for safer cities and more sustainable communities through breaking down the barriers to cycling for the 99% of the population who don’t know how to race on a road bike.