Easy cycling means more cycling

It feels counterintuitive but e-bikes make people fitter for the very reason that it is easy! When Colorado University researchers gave otherwise inactive people e-bikes and told them to ride a minimum of 40 minutes a day, three days a week, the volunteers cycled further than the minimum required! In just one month they boosted their fitness, improved their blood sugar levels, and lost some body-fat. Why? Because e-cycling is fun. 

Pedal-assist is designed to help make cycling easier and help you achieve your goals. Sport scientists and fitness coaches recommend that to build fitness you need to do large amounts of easy exercise. Riding an e-bike with pedal-assist lets you get your heart rate in to a zone where you are building fitness and burning calories without having to over exert yourself. 

An e-bike also means that you can cover more ground than you could on a conventional bike, while still keeping your heart rate low. Say you have an hour to cycle, without an e-bike you might only manage ten miles, with an e-bike it could be nearer twenty!

How to use your e-bike modes to improve your fitness

Boost your fitness

If you are cycling for fitness you may have questions about how best to use the different modes – is it better to not use support at all until you are exhausted or stay in eco-mode but never use boost? Different modes are there to support your cycling when you need it, using your bike’s pedal-assist will help you ride further and more often so don’t feel guilty about using assistance, it doesn’t help your fitness to turn it off!

Using your bike’s modes correctly will help you get the most reach from one battery charge and also help with your fitness goals. The majority of your riding on the flat will be in Eco-mode, this means you are doing more of the work and your e-bike is contributing just enough to make cycling feel easy. When you get to a hill or more challenging terrain it’s time for Boost. Boost mode ups the amount of assistance your bike’s motor contributes, giving you an extra push to get up the climb without it feeling too difficult – but you are still working, it is not a free ride to the top!

When you start you may reach for Boost mode on even small hills but as you ride more and get fitter you can drop back a mode or use Boost less often. When you switch the motor over to Sport or Eco mode you rely on your own legs more. As you become fitter you'll only need to use the top assistance modes during particularly steep hills but until then enjoy the feeling of tackling these tough climbs with the help of your e-bike.

How to use your e-bike modes to improve your fitness

Fitter with an e-bike

Cycling fitness is hard to earn and easy to lose but with an e-bike you can challenge yourself on bigger climbs and longer rides than you could on your own fitness alone. It also makes getting fitter more fun! With an e-bike you can cut out your car for short journeys which will help to increase your weekly physical activity levels. Distances that were previously too far will now be manageable so you will have less reason to sit behind the wheel of a car and more reasons to sit on the saddle of your bike. Because an e-bike allows you to exercise for long periods of times at a low heart rate and effort level you can ride further and more frequently without feeling tired or exhausted – which all adds up to more fitness gains.

Ready to boost your fitness with an e-bike? Head to your local SHIMANO dealer to book a test ride.

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