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Can you get fit on an electric bike?

There are a wide range of benefits of riding an electric bike. enabling you to travel further and faster, offering a green alternative for commuting, and encouraging more people to experience the joy of cycling. However, with an electric bike motor providing assistance while you pedal, can you get fit on an ebike?

With many aspects of cycling seemingly focused on performance gains, electric bikes are often met with scepticism for providing a helping hand on hills or a sweat-free ride to work. However, riding an electric bike can still improve your fitness.

If people are cycling more instead of driving or using public transport, they are likely to be getting fitter.

You can use an e-bike in conjunction with a heart rate monitor to see what you’re inputting and a power meter to see what you’re outputting. Basically, you can still track how hard you push and how much fitness progress you’re making when riding an e-bike.

Making use of your commute

Going to and from work can take out a significant portion of your day and so using this time can be an efficient way of getting in some steady miles regularly to build your fitness.

With an e-bike you’d also be able to choose the hillier but more scenic roads to work. If it’s a pleasant route you’re more likely to continue to commute by bike on a regular basis as it’s something you enjoy (as well as time-efficient and cost-effective too, of course).

If you are in the routine of commuting you’re also less likely to cut down on it when you’re pushing through a busier period, unlike a standalone ride planned for the evening. A commute gets your exercise packed in first thing before the rest of life takes over for the day.

E-bikes can also help you tailor your two different commuting rides—the ride into work and the return leg—to achieve different training benefits.

We’ve learnt that there’s good evidence supporting two-a-day training sessions. With one of those sessions you should be fuelled and well-rested for, and this would typically be your high-intensity session. Whereas the second session may be more of a steady-state ride to get in some different endurance training adaptations. You could use an e-bike to control the intensity in that second ride so you’re not pushing too hard and compromising your subsequent training sessions should you live in a hilly area where it’s just not possible to stick to those lower training zones.

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