E-bikes Are Not Cheating
“Are e-bikes cheating?” Well, to answer the question, we must examine the question.
No two people in the world are the same. Everyone has their own background, and it is different from everyone else’s. This is the magic of diversity and individualism. Even fraternal twins do not have the same life experiences and thus do not end up being identical in every way. How boring the world would be if this simple fact were not so!
No matter who you are, it is guaranteed that you have a different set of skills and talents than someone else. You also have a different outlook on life. You have different memories. You have a different weight, a different height, and different DNA. You have different thoughts and different ideas than the next person. This is a universal truth that can be verified time and time again.
Why, then, should you have the same goals as someone else? It would make no sense. You are not them. Your goals are influenced by your values and your interests. You may want to lose weight. You may want to gain weight. You may want fresh air. You may want to look cool. You may simply want to get to work on time without paying expensive gasoline prices. All of these are valid reasons for owning and riding and enjoying an electric bike.
But in a world where everyone has an opinion and it is easier than ever to share it, you are bound to encounter people that are playing a different game and want everyone else to conform to their rules. People will say e-bikes are not real bikes because they have a motor. They will say e-biking is not real exercise because of pedal-assist. They will even say e-bikes are cheating. As if you were playing their game! But you are not. You are playing your own game of life with your own rules and your own motivations.
Separate the signal from the noise of the e-bike exercise debate by considering these larger points:
Why Do Some People Think E-bikes Are Cheating?
There is a loud minority of bicycle riders and hobbyists who believe e-bikes are “cheating”. As if there is only one way to live and one way to enjoy life. These riders believe that because e-bikes have batteries and motors and delightful handlebar throttles they are not real bikes. They claim e-bikes are not true to the spirit of biking. But what spirit of biking is this? Who made these rules? Must everything with two wheels and pedals look and operate the same to be placed under the same category? Must every mode of transportation stay stagnant for eternity? Of course not. Horse riders of the 18th century must have looked at traditional bikes as abominations to the concept of travel when they were first introduced in 1817. “A dangerous metal monstrosity that can’t jump or eat grass or neigh? How silly! It will never catch on.”
But this is precisely what the haters do when they criticize e-bikes or call e-bikes cheating. They ignore the evolution of life and technology. They ignore the fact that all things must grow or die. They ignore the fact that today’s great ideas are tomorrow’s terrible regrets.
Would they call hearing aids cheating for someone going deaf? Would they call a walking cane cheating for someone needing support to walk? Would they call a pair of glasses cheating to be able to see? It is not hard to see the ridiculousness of these claims when applied to any other area of life. As with all hollow claims, the statements simply do not hold up under scrutiny.
“E-biking is not as strenuous or dangerous or cool as real biking”, a few may say. “It is not the real deal.” Never mind the fact that e-bikers enjoy the moderate level of exercise recommended by many doctors and nutritional and coaches and they do so on their terms. Switching from manual to electric with the press of a button and enjoying the best of both worlds. This brings us to our takeaway for today:
Why E-bikes Are Not Cheating
Exercise is exercise. Whether it is a little exercise or a lot. And that is precisely what the electric bike can provide! With the option to pedal completely manually, an e-bike is actually more exercise than a traditional bike because it is heavier thanks to the motor and battery. With a small amount of pedal-assist, an e-bike is a lot of exercise, and with a high level of pedal-assist, an e-bike is a little bit of exercise. All exercise exists upon a spectrum, and it is all good for the human body.
To move is the real purpose of humans. To escape the sedentary lifestyle of our offices and factories and couches and to feel the fresh air on our faces and the sun on our skin. That is the real purpose of a bike!
In fact, studies show that e-bike riders may even get more exercise than their traditional bicycling counterparts. This phenomenon may be because e-bikers get more joy from riding their bikes than traditional bikes. Or because they typically ride them for longer distances and more time because they can. And when you don’t show up to work all sweaty and tired, an e-bike represents a perfect way to include exercise in your daily commute, while a traditional bicyclist may forgo the ride altogether to avoid the embarrassment of a sweaty shirt.
Even if we here at Himiway didn’t produce long-range electric bikes we would still call this argument preposterous. But because we do produce some of the best and most stylish electric bikes on the market we felt compelled to stand up for the electric revolution. To throw our support behind a growing revolution of clean energy, increased mobility, and exercise of all kinds.
It is too easy to get swept up in taking sides. The time for unity is now. We are all bikers, electric or not and what is good for one community is good for the other. So, the next time you hear someone say that “e-bikes are cheating” or “they are not good exercise” or any other poorly thought-out comment, simply ask them in return, “What game are you playing?”