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Why Electric Bikes are Ideal for Heavier Riders

Why Electric Bikes are Ideal for Heavier Riders Featured Image

Cycling is an enjoyable way to get and keep you active, whilst getting some quality outdoor time. If you’re a heavier person though, you may feel that your ability to cycle is limited. Luckily, electric bikes are a great option to make cycling more accessible for you, if you’re a heavier person.

Cycling may be too much effort for you if you’re carrying a lot of weight, especially if you’re riding up hills. If you’re overweight, then you may feel you haven’t got enough fitness for cycling. Electric bikes help break down these barriers though, due to the extra help they give you. Therefore, electric bikes can get you cycling more and further, or even at all, if you’re a heavier person. 

Here in this article, I will talk further about how electric bikes can help you if you’re a heavier person.

Electric Bikes Give Pedal Assist

Before going any further, it’s worth clarifying that electric bikes have pedal assist. This is often referred to as PAS as an abbreviation, by the way. Pedal assist is where an electric motor is powering the electric bike to move forward. However, this is only when you’re pedaling as well. So here, the electric motor only engages when you start pedaling. This means that when you’re using pedal assist, the electric motor is sharing the effort needed to move your bike forward with your pedaling. This reduces the amount of effort needed on your part, whilst you’re still at least using some effort. 

Cyclist pedaling on a bike

Just to clarify though, some electric bikes do also have a throttle as well. With these electric bikes, you can twist the throttle and go, without any pedal effort needed. As you may gather, you’re not keeping active and getting fitter, whilst using a throttle.

Electric Bikes Help Heavier People To Start Cycling 

As mentioned above, you may be put off cycling, or even exercise in general, if you’re a heavier person. So riding an electric bike is a great way to start you cycling and therefore exercising. By the way, you may be a heavier person due to a high muscle mass. Even so, an electric bike can still be a great way to get you doing cardio exercise, if you’re not already doing so. Weight due to muscle mass can still make it tricky for you to do cardio exercise. This is due to that increased muscle mass, can make running stressful for your joints, or cycling up hills on a regular bike difficult. 

Man riding a bike on the road graphic

As mentioned above, pedal assist can reduce the amount of effort needed on your part, whilst you’re still at least using some effort. This is why electric bikes are so great for getting you to start exercising, if you’re struggling to do so, due to if you’re a heavier person. After all, any exercise is better than no exercise. All the time you’re using pedal assist on an electric bike, you’re still doing more than if you’re sitting on the sofa.

Ultimately, electric bikes can be the difference between cycling and not cycling at all if you’re a heavier person. You can even adjust the level of pedal assist as well. You can have the pedal assist set to either one of the higher or lower levels, depending on your needs. As you hopefully get fitter, you may be able to lower the level of pedal assist as you go. Electric bikes really do allow you to get fit at your own pace.  

Electric Bikes Get Heavier People Cycling Further

You may be cycling already, but you may be a heavier rider, who’s limited to how far you can cycle, due to your weight. As mentioned before, electric bikes will break down this barrier. The reason for this is that they can allow you to cycle further distances, for the same effort as cycling shorter distances on a regular bike. Again, this is due to the pedal assist.

Man cycling into the Distance

This ties in with electric bikes, getting you to start cycling in the first place, as talked about above. For example, if you’re overweight, you may see cycling to work as an opportunity to fit some exercise in. However, your workplace may be too far for you to cycle to on a regular bike, due to your level of fitness. An electric bike though, could make this distance doable for you. Again, this is an example of how an electric bike can be the difference between cycling and not cycling at all, if you’re a heavier person.  

Aside from commuting, electric bikes allowing you to cycle further can cause you to cycle more in general. This is because being able to cycle further allows you to go on rides you may not normally go on. For example, you may decide to go on long rides in the country, where you may have only cycled locally before. Remember cycling further, which leads to cycling more, leads to increased health benefits. Also, cycling further means more exploring and therefore more fun. 

Electric Bikes Get Heavier People Cycling More 

This follows on from above. If you’re able to cycle further, then you’re more likely to cycle more often. Generally, you’re more likely to cycle more often, if an electric bike makes cycling easier for you. Below, I talk further about different ways of how electric bikes can get you cycling more often, if you’re a heavier rider. Remember cycling more gives you more health benefits.

Helps With Riding Up Hills 

If you’re a heavier rider, you may struggle to cycle up hills. This may therefore put you off cycling on hilly routes altogether. You may even get off your bike and walk it up hills, whenever you come by them. Electric bikes help break down this barrier as well. The pedal assist makes riding up hills much easier. This means that electric bikes can prompt you to cycle hilly routes if you were avoiding them before. Also, riding an electric bike can allow you to remain on your bike up hills, rather than getting off and walking. 

Man Riding Electric Bike Uphill Graphic Image

Going Cycling With Friends 

You may be put off cycling with your friends, if you find it hard to keep up with them, due to your weight. An electric bike can give you the boost to keep up with them though. So having an electric bike can allow you to not miss out here.

Cycling for Transportation

Electric bikes can prompt you to cycle certain types of journeys you wouldn’t normally cycle for. Again, due to the pedal assist. This can allow you to fit cycling more regularly into your daily life. For example, you may use an electric bike for shopping trips, visiting friends, or any general errands. You may even find that an electric bike could replace your car for certain journeys. If you’re overweight, you may not have the fitness to often cycle these trips on a regular bike. Remember though, regular cycling on an electric bike will increase your fitness.

Journey types that electric bikes encourage you to cycle for infographic

Commuting   

I’ve already mentioned commuting before in this article, with regard to electric bikes helping with the distance. However, possibly arriving at work in a sweat may also put you off cycling to work. This is more likely if you’re overweight. Electric bikes though, allow you to cycle at a reduced pedal effort, so that you don’t arrive at work in a sweat. This can be the prompt you need to get you cycling to work. Remember, cycling to work at a reduced effort will still keep you more active compared to driving, or getting a train or bus to work. 

Commuter cycling to work

Less Likely to be Put Off Cycling in General

Electric bikes, reducing the pedal effort needed, can make cycling more enjoyable for you. For example, if you’re a heavier rider, you may be really blowing a gasket riding up hills, or against the wind. So if an electric bike is allowing you to easily cycle up a hill, then this can be a much more pleasurable experience for you. You’ll still be keeping active, but you won’t be feeling as much discomfort from overexertion. At the end of the day, the more enjoyable you find cycling, the more often you’re likely to do it. 

Electric bike graphic image

Having an electric bike can give you the peace of mind of knowing that the pedal assist can help get you home, if you become tired during a ride. If you’re very tired, you can change the pedal assist to the maximum setting for the rest of the ride. Knowing this can give you the confidence to go cycling in the first place if you’re a heavier rider. If you have an electric bike with a throttle, you can also use this to get you home if you’re tired. 

Makes Cycling More Fun   

This follows on from my point above, where I said you’re more likely to cycle often, the more you enjoy it. Electric bikes make cycling more fun for many people, simply because they help you to cycle faster. You may really enjoy speed, but if you’re a heavier rider, you may find it too much effort to cycle fast on a regular bike. At the very least, it may be difficult for you to cycle fast for long periods. This is another barrier that an electric bike can break. Having an electric bike can allow you to cycle fast, whilst you’re pedaling at an effort you can cope with. Therefore, if you’re a heavier rider, you can still have the thrill of cycling at speed for long distances without overexerting yourself.  

Graphic image of man riding an electric bike in the town

Electric bikes will also help you cycle up hills quicker, which you may find more fun. Cycling 2mph up a hill on a regular bike is likely to be frustrating for you. If an electric bike allows you to cycle 9mph up a hill instead though, then this can be much more motivating. This is aside from the fact that hills will be less of a struggle on an electric bike. 

Can Open Up New Cycling Routes

If you’re a heavier person, having an electric bike can allow you to cycle, where you wouldn’t normally. For example, you may find cycling on rugged off-road trails challenging on a regular bike. Having an electric bike can make riding on these trails doable for you, though. This is another example of how electric bikes break down barriers and makes cycling more accessible.  

Man riding electric bike off-road

How Cycling Helps You if You’re Heavy

Being overweight can lead to negative health implications. These can include heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and high blood pressure. So if you’re overweight, exercise can help you to get to a healthy weight, to reduce the risk of these ailments. Cycling is an excellent form of exercise to help with weight loss. So again, electric bikes can get you cycling, if your weight makes it difficult for you to start cycling on a regular bike. As mentioned earlier though, being a heavier rider doesn’t always mean you’re overweight. Even so, if you’re not overweight, cycling is still a great way to keep yourself active, to help keep you healthy. 

By the way though, as well as exercise, eating sensibly is also important for weight loss. In fact, weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. So exercise alone may not always lose you much weight. However, it will certainly help as part of an overall weight loss plan, that includes a healthy diet. You may only be a little overweight and already eat healthily though. In which case, regular cycling may be the extra nudge to get you to a healthy weight.  

Electric Bikes are Effective for Weight Loss

Riding electric bikes with the pedal assist can be very effective for weight loss. Studies have shown the below amount of calories burned per hour comparisons.

Calories Burned Per Hour Comparisons Infographic

 

The above shows that even though you can expect to be burning fewer calories on an electric bike compared to a regular bike, you can still burn a lot. 500 calories per hour is certainly a lot better than nothing. 

The above statistics also show that you’re not always burning that much fewer calories on an electric bike, compared to a regular bike. This does depend on your pedal effort and the level of pedal assist setting you’re using though.

Electric mountain bike image

The reason why you’re not always burning that much fewer calories on an electric bike compared to a regular bike is because you’re still using effort. You can even ride an electric bike using the same pedal effort as when you’re riding a regular bike. This more applies to if you’re riding on flat ground though. It’s just that you’ll be going faster on an electric bike, for the same amount of pedal effort as a regular bike. So an electric bike does not necessarily always mean you’re working less. This can mean you may be riding an electric bike with the same pedal effort you would be riding at anyway on a regular bike, but going faster for it. 

You’ll likely be riding an electric bike at a reduced (more manageable) effort, compared to a regular bike up hills though. This can also be at other tricky moments, like when you’re cycling against the wind. The key point here though is that you’re still cycling at all, as opposed to giving up. So all in all, you’re still getting a solid cardio workout on electric bikes, to help with weight loss. 

Using Electric Bikes for Specific Fat Burning Cycling

Electric bikes can in fact be more effective for weight loss than regular bikes, if used the right way. This is all down to that electric bikes can help keep you in the fat burning zone, better than regular bikes. The fat burning zone is when you’re exercising at an intensity, where your heart rate is at 60% to 65% of its maximum.

Exercising in this zone is not a high level of intensity. In fact, you should be able to hold a conversation, whilst exercising within this fat burning zone. The reason why electric bikes help keep you in this zone is because they allow the incline and terrain to not dictate your effort. So if you’re cycling in this fat burning zone on flat ground and then you come by a hill, you can then increase the level of pedal assist. This will help you to maintain the same amount of effort that keeps you in the fat burning zone, whilst cycling up the hill. 

Woman casually riding an electric bike through the park

Conversely, you may be riding a regular bike in the fat burning zone on flat ground and then you may have to increase your effort up a hill. This could then take you out of the fat burning zone. You’ll still be exercising whilst cycling up the hill, but likely not at the most effective intensity for fat burning. So electric bikes are a great tool to help you maintain steady efforts, that are ideal for fat burning.

You can check if your heart rate is within the fat burning zone, by using a heart rate monitorOpens in a new tab.. Below shows how to calculate what your own heart rate should be, to be within the fat burning zone. By the way, the fat burning zone is also known as the aerobic zone.

Fat burning zone calculation

Safety 

Electric bikes help you to be safer if you’re a heavier rider. The electric boost gives extra acceleration that can get you out of dangerous situations. For example, they can allow you to get out of harm’s way quicker at junctions and roundabouts, compared to regular bikes. If you’re a heavier rider on a regular bike, you may struggle to pick up speed quick enough to get out of danger’s way.

Conclusion 

Many people perceive that electric bikes are for lazy people. This is far from the truth though. They are an excellent tool to make cycling accessible, for people who would otherwise find cycling difficult. This is part of the reason why studies have shown that electric bikes can get you fitter than regular bikes. So if you’re a heavier person who finds exercise and cycling difficult, then an electric bike can change your life. This has been the case for many heavier riders.  

The rest of the reason why studies have shown that electric bikes can get you fitter than regular bikes is because they can get people who already cycle to cycle more. This is due to the fact that they can make cycling easier and more fun. This can especially be the case if you’re a heavier rider. Ultimately, electric bikes break down barriers. They mean that if you’re a heavier person, then you have the opportunity to cycle no less than anyone else.

 

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