“Riding an e-bike is cheating!” When you’re out and about on your e-bike, do people always say that you don't really have to put in much effort on an e-bike? Actually, whatever your circumstances, e-biking gives you exercise. And exercise, in whatever form, means burning calories. Electrically assisted bikes still have the same benefits as traditional bikes by raising your heart rate, providing interval training, and you can still burn hundreds of calories per hour.
There is much evidence pointing to the fact that e-bikes promote more active lifestyles than riders previously had, perhaps replacing a car, train, or bus journey or simply encouraging riders to get outside more often.
You may get more exercise (especially on a very hilly ride) with a ‘regular’ bike than with an e-bike. This article from Average Joe Cyclist compares the same hilly ride done on a regular bike then done on an e-bike. It found that 444 calories were burned with the e-bike over the course of a one-hour ride and 552 calories on the same route with the same e-bike but with electric assistance turned off.
Sports physicians estimate that running burns two to three times more depending on your speed. However, e-biking is very gentle on your joints and is easy to integrate into your day; you can use your e-bike for your commute or when you go shopping.
That figure of 444 calories per hour of course relates to a particular individual on a particular e-bike over a particular course. The figure will vary wildly depending on the above factors and several others including the individual’s weight and fitness, how much pedal effort they are capable of, or choose to put in, the power settings used and weather conditions and so on.
How to maximize the number of calories burned by an electric bike?
Try and adopt a sporty, active riding style and in particular try and stand out of the seat and pull on the bars. Some e-bikes’ geometry is better suited to this than others but even if you only do it a few times on your ride you will be working more groups of muscles and burning more calories than if you were just sat down. It also really helps to get up those hills quickly.
Weight. Whilst the fittest riders look lean and may ride very lightweight electric bikes this isn’t really the quickest way to burn calories. If you are carrying a few extra pounds yourself you will find it quite easy to get out of breath and burn extra calories! Just putting a few extra kilos in your panniers will help but why not put that extra weight and effort to practical use and use a trailer to do the shopping by e-bike? If you follow the other tips in this article and carry a bit of extra weight (and don’t just dial up the power to help move the weight) you’ll certainly be burning extra calories.
The more hills the better! The bigger and steeper the better! As long as you leave enough battery capacity to get back home you can’t really have too much climbing when it comes to burning calories.
Route surface. Just like climbing, going off-road will mean more effort. And going off-road and climbing is even better.