Riding E-Bikes for Fitness?

Hey guys,

This is Alfred from Toronto and I have arthritis. Been suffering from knee pain for a while. I had to stop my workout because of the pain. Last week my doc suggested me to ride an e-bike. Because e-bikes are easy to ride compared to regular ones which I definitely can’t ride right now.

But I heard some people saying e-bikes are cheating and you won’t get any health benefits from e-biking. Then there are many articles on the health benefits of e-bikes.

So if anyone here tried e-biking before, please let me know your opinion.
And my e-bike is a full suspension eMTB from Amego e-bikes

Hey Alfred
I don’t ride an e-bike but have 2 friends who do, one is an avid and very good cyclist off his e-bike, the other is about the last person I’d expect to see cycling.
Both swear by the fact they are getting a workout, you still need to pedal and raise your heart rate which is exercise. If an e-bike gets you out cycling without the pain then go for it!

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Ignore these people.

  1. Using an e-bike is cheating if you are competing against people who are not using e-bikes. That’s a pretty narrowly-defined scenario, and it doesn’t apply to you.
  2. Pedal-assist e-bikes don’t turn the pedals for you; they help you turn the pedals. It’s still exercise, you just go faster.

Like @Smurf said, ride the bike that makes you want to go for a ride!

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I have been riding an MTB eBike from 2013-2018 (only bike I have been using) and I even got rid of the 25km/h speed limit we have here in Germany. I started using TrainerRoad end of 2018 with an FTP of 230 (being 38 years old with 72kg). I don’t think that looks like a bad FTP for never having trained before.

So please ignore people that say it has nothing to do with biking. The important thing is what you do with the engine supporting you. For sure you can cheat by using 100% of the engine power. But you can also adjust the engine support so that it perfectly fits to your current fitness level. When I was not fully rested/healthy I simply used more engine power to support my ride.

And do believe me, if you want you can still sweat a lot on an eBike. On good days I usually drove with only 30% power (which means I am putting 100 Watts on the pedal and the engine adds 30 Watts) - other people joked about me that these 30% are probably only required because of the extra 10kg that I am carrying around due to the heavy engine + battery. But I loved the freedom to simply be able to increase the engine support at the end of a long ride and that my speed did not drop on days where I wasn’t feeling totally well.

There might be eBikes that work differently, but the ones with the Bosch engines have a power meter internally and they simply add a certain percentage of your watts to your pedaling. If you don’t pedal, the engine will not do anything. And for the newer ones you can even define the power support curve yourself with an app on your cell phone.

Go for an eBike - it is better than stop using a bike at all.

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If anyone tells you riding an e-bike is cheating then you can pretty much put money on them having not tried one.
As with any bike you ride, you can make it as easy or as hard as you want. The assistance just enables you overcome a certain barrier that might have prevented you from cycling. So go for it.

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I am an e-mountain bike user !! I am a road cyclist and a triathlete but I really enjoy riding an e-bike with my wife. Thing is, after a big muscular ride or run in the morning I don’t really feel like doing another ride with her in the afternoon even if the pace is gonna be slow. Here comes our e-bikes, where we can both enjoy riding and discovering great places. And as a training tool it’s like a recovery/endurance wo.
Of course, you then need to switch your strava off, unless you want be insulted or so in public place for taking koms !!

Re Strave, make sure to designate your bike as an ebike in the gear setup, assign it to the correct rides and you should be set. Strava separates those rides from regular bike related stuff.

E-bike ridning is a workout type of its own in strava. That does not compete on bike segments. Don’t have to separate by gear.

As others said, if e assisstance is the difference between ridning or not it is a no brainer, do it :slight_smile:

Edit: missed that it was a bump, and OP is probably out ridning already

If it takes an e bike to get you to go out and ride, then take that e bike and ride it. Whatever helps you get out and be more active, you’ll still get more health benefits from riding an e bike than none at all

Get one and promote the hell out of them. If more people ride bikes the better for all of us as far as awareness is concerned. I’m seeing many more people out on ebikes since the pandemic that IMO are not really cyclist. People who otherwise might not enjoy the day on two wheels enjoying it like crazy. Speed is addictive and the ebike allows them to experience it. I think they are great and trying to get my wife on board with one as she hates to ride…

I’ve never ridden an e-bike, but the above posts make sense to me! If you’re looking at returning at training down the road they’re also going to help with aerobic and neuromuscular maintenance, which otherwise drops off quite quickly if you stop training altogether. I’ve heard they can also be a great tool to work on the more technical aspects of riding- especially if you can get out on some trails.

I also think the mental aspect is really important, fitness aside- I think that consistently setting some time aside to do something you enjoy that’s mentally and physically beneficial is a really important habit and can have positive impacts in other areas of your life. It’s also one that’s surprisingly difficult to instigate/maintain, especially when your regular routine is disrupted.

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