What is an E-Bike? Here's Everything You Want to Know (and Where to Try One)
Imagine the breeze on your face as you sail downhill on a bike. Now picture the ride back up. Aching quads? Not necessarily. That's the magic of electric assist bicycles. Available in a range of styles, e-bikes have rechargeable battery-powered motors that kick in on slopes or riding into wind. That turbo boost can be the secret ingredient to making cycling a green lifestyle choice. Many people use e-bikes to commute, transport a child or run errands. But they're also great for recreation, especially with couples and groups. "E-bikes level the playing field between riders of different fitness levels," says Mark Anderson, manager at Speedy Pete's E-Bikes in Lincoln, Nebraska.
"It's fun to have a destination and not tax one person to the point of it not being enjoyable." Contrary to some misconceptions, e-bikes do provide a low-impact cardiovascular workout. You still pedal, but the motor just frees you to ride farther. (Most models have a battery range of at least 40 miles.)
Before investing in an e-bike or an e-bike conversion kit, rent one locally or while on vacation. They're ideal for exploring new places because they ease worries over unfamiliar hills or unpaved paths—and when you're tempted to see what's beyond a bend, you'll have the energy left to find out.
3 Places to Buy (or Rent) an E-Bike in the Midwest
Based in Dayton, Ohio, Buzz's retro-look Cerana starts around $1,500. For errands, the company also makes e-trikes with comfy seats and a big rear basket.
Nice Ride Minnesota
Nice Ride is a bike-share service in Minneapolis that lets anyone rent an e-bike from its self-serve stations across the city. Pay by the minute to ride.
Kozy's Cyclery Megastore
The pros at this decades-old family-owned Chicago business can help you select an e-bike custom-fit to your body. Take a test ride outside or on the shop's third floor.