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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Plug and Pedal: The Benefits of Using Electric Bikes

People riding eco-friendly electric bicycles

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Gas-guzzlers are the worst of vehicles, emitting harmful pollutants and using up non-renewable natural resources. An Earth-friendlier alternative for work commutes or pleasurable neighborhood spins is the e-bike, powered by pedaling and an electric motor. Reaching maximum speeds of 20 to 28 miles per hour and costing $400 and up, an electric bicycle offers a more scenic and easier ride that gets us to our destinations without trashing the planet.

Environmental Benefits

Zero emissions. Electric bikes run on clean energy, eliminating the devastating carbon emissions associated with cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles.

Long-lasting power. The batteries last for years—much longer than traditional types. They don’t contain lead and can be recycled.

Easier on roads. Bikes are considerably lighter than larger vehicles and cause much less damage to infrastructure.

Health-Friendly Commuting

E-bikes are a great way to bring some physical activity to an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. In a 2018 study, Swiss researchers found that commuters enjoyed similar cardiorespiratory improvements regardless of whether they used an electric bicycle or a conventional, non-motorized model. With the power assist, e-bikers were able to cycle at higher speeds and climb hills more easily, which also proved to be highly motivating.

Safety Tips

Pay attention to traffic. Many car drivers may not expect a biker to reach 20 or more miles per hour. Ride defensively.

Be visible. Outfit the bike with lights and a bell and wear eye-catching clothing.

Start slow. Get a feel for the bike’s capabilities at lower speeds before cranking it up.

Give it a brake. With the added speed and power, slowing down well ahead of stop signs, lights and road crossings is a must.

Be careful on the mount and dismount. An e-bike is about 20 pounds heavier than a regular bike, so a step-through frame might make good sense, even for men.

Wear a helmet. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, head injury is the most common cause of death and serious disability in bicycle-related crashes.

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