The Health Benefits of Riding an Electric Bike

Research shows riding an e-bike is a workout!

(Andrey_Popov /

Have you ever been pedaling your bike uphill, sweating, when an e-bike swiftly passes by, and the rider is smiling? Traditional bikers may not believe this, but e-bikers are actually traveling farther than pedal bikers, riding more often, and getting a solid workout.

A recent study from Oslo, Norway called “Do people who buy e-bikes cycle more?” confirms this, causing hardcore cyclists to slow down and scratch their helmets! Researchers studied both e-bike riders both before and after purchasing a bike, as well as standard pedal bikers over a period of six months. They then compared usage of the bike and distance traveled.

The e-bikes used pedelec bikes. These pedal electric bikes go up to 15 miles per hour and do not require licensing in the EU. Researchers found that new e-bike owners were more active, increasing their distance by 49 percent, while there was no change in distance traveled in the standard pedal biking group. E-bike owners also started using cars and public transportation less, leading researchers to conclude that owning an e-bike leads to significant lifestyle changes.

Aside from traveling farther, owning an e-bike improves health. A study published in Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives followed 10,000 adults in seven countries across Europe. They compared the amount of energy and time spent e-biking (on a pedelec), traditional cycling, walking, and driving. The results showed that e-bikes won in the category of total exercise and distance traveled.

Electric bikes get people moving, but—cyclists hold onto those handlebars tightly—e-biking is also a cardiovascular activity, according to a study from Brigham Young University. The researchers compared 33 riders aged 18 through 65 on a rolling six-mile course in Utah. Some rode mountain bikes and others rode electric mountain bikes. When comparing their heart rates, they found that the e-riders felt almost as much exertion as did the cyclists. They concluded that yes, e-biking is a form of aerobic exercise!

An interesting takeaway is that even though the e-bikers were exerting themselves, it did not feel strenuous. This is great news for people who are “allergic” to exercise! Owning an e-bike is also an attractive option for middle-aged people and retirees.

As  e-biking research continues over the years, studies may reveal how the continuous use of electric bikes contributes to a healthier aging population and a cleaner world. So when you are out on your e-bike and pass a breathless cyclist, give a grin.  

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