Is an E-Bike Right For You?

Are you looking to go farther, faster and longer on two wheels? If you currently use a traditional bicycle to commute to work or for leisurely riding, for off-road adventures or for long-distance cycling, you might be intrigued by the electric bike, also known as an e-bike.

If you’re an older rider, recovering from injury, or simply returning to exercising after an extended “brake,” an eBike could be a great solution to ease into the active life you want.

Dodie and I recently rented e-bikes to ride along the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River just south of the King William area and downtown. We loved them.

When I lived above the Majestic Theater for about five years, San Antonio introduced “B-cycles” throughout Downtown. I became a charter member and would often ride them to Hemisfair Park, the Alamo, Alamodome, San Antonio Art Museum and the Spanish Missions south.

I discovered these e-Bikes saved me a good of money. Of course, my first year was only $25, but it still paid off when regular rental costs kicked in the following years.

I’ll post current San Antonio rates at the end of this article.

If purchasing one, there might be a slightly higher-than-normal purchase cost compared to traditional bicycles, but even that’s not a sure thing. Beyond the initial purchase, e-Bikes are also relatively inexpensive to maintain, especially compared to automobiles and motorcycles. Plus, I saved money on gas and parking.

It has been about 12 years since I rode one and have to admit I took a tumble right off the bat at the Blue Star Art Complex. Now, Dodie? Well, she took off like a champ.

In the simplest terms, an electric bike is just like a traditional bicycle but equipped with an electric motor that either helps while the rider pedals or handles all the throttling duties.

It consists of a rechargeable battery, motor, controller, drivetrain and, in some cases, pedaling sensor. The battery powers the motor, which in turn applies kinetic energy to the drivetrain. The drivetrain then applies torque and manual power to the wheels of the bike.

Wheels turn, you go

How do electric bikes work?

How is an e-bike different from regular bikes? Think of it like a typical bike but with the added assist of a motor to help you with speed or hilly terrain. E-bikes are both practical and entertaining without taking the physical fun out of the ride — you will pedal but get an assist. And if you’re not familiar with e-bikes, you will be soon. Domestic demand for e-bikes is growing, with 130 million of them expected to be sold in just three more years. 

Compared to cars and motorcycles, eBikes consume very small amounts of energy and use absolutely no oil or gas. This makes them an eco-friendly option for those who are concerned about their environmental impact.

What are some e-bike riding tips?

Before you hop on an e-bike, there are some must knows on e-bike safety. Here’s some information from State Farm Insurance with ideas on how to use an electric bike and an overview of the different classes, motor types and safety precautions of e-bikes.

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