Receiving a proper amount of exercise a day can definitely be a struggle, especially as we grow older and our physical abilities or motivation may diminish. However, it’s very important for seniors to keep their bodies and minds healthy and fit. Are e-bikes good for seniors?
E-Bikes have many benefits for seniors. The pros are that riding one helps older adults get the daily exercise they need to stay fit, improve cognitive function, and fight disease, among other benefits.
However, there can be cons to riding electric bikes for seniors as well, which this article discusses.
Overall, electric bicycles are a great, environmentally friendly way for seniors to stay fit, both mentally and physically.
But do take a look at the possible cons of riding an e-bike if you’re an older adult so that you make sure it is right for you.
|E-Bike Pros for Seniors||E-Bike Cons for Seniors|
|Riding can help prevent disease||Requires more work to put together|
|Riding stimulates the mind and improves cognitive function||E-Bike size and weight|
|Safer and more eco-friendly than a car||Need to keep track of battery charge|
|Customizable for comfort||Pricier than a traditional bike|
|Electric power assistance without pedaling||Potential for injury|
|Choose an e-bike that fits your needs and body|
The Pros of Riding E-bikes For Seniors
There are plenty of pros when it comes to owning an e-bike as a senior citizen.
1. Riding Electric Bikes Helps Prevent Disease
Getting a sufficient amount of daily physical activity and cardio as an elderly person is extremely important and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart problems.
Taking an e-bike out for even a short ride can get your heart pumping and blood flowing. This makes e-bikes an easy and efficient way to manage existing conditions as well.
2. Stimulates the Mind and Improves Cognitive Function
Being out in nature and fresh air is a great way to improve your mental health and clear your mind. As you age, you might feel it’s simpler to stay indoors and lack the motivation to go outside or exercise. However, going out and experiencing life on an electric bike is a ton of fun and a great way to stimulate your mind and enjoy other health benefits.
The more active you keep your body, the better you may feel mentally and emotionally as well.
And, according to a study by PLOS One, e-biking outdoors may be better for seniors when it comes to boosting their brainpower and enhancing cognitive function.
Here’s the study: A team of U.K. researchers from Oxford Brookes University came up with an experiment to test this on 100 adults from the ages of 50 to 83.
After separating these individuals into three groups, they directed one group to ride an average bike three times a week for roughly 30 minutes a day for eight weeks. The second group was directed to complete the same task, but with electric bikes instead of traditional bikes. The final group didn’t ride anything at all during the eight weeks.
By the end of the experiment, the first two groups who rode either type of bike showed a big improvement in their planning, organizing, and task completion abilities. Although the research team had originally expected the traditional bike riders to achieve better results, this was surprisingly not the case.
3. Electric Bikes Are Safer and More Eco-Friendly Than a Car
If you aren’t able to or don’t feel safe driving a car, this is a great replacement option. They are much easier to manage than a car but faster and smoother than a traditional bicycle.
Many e-bikes can go up to 28mph, but you can ride at any lower speed that you feel comfortable with. While it may take a bit longer to get somewhere on an e-bike, you won’t have to worry about stopping to get gas in your car or missing your stop as you could when riding a bus.
Plus, e-bikes are a completely environmentally friendly means of transportation as there is no gas or fumes being released from them. You can help keep the environment clean for future generations!
4. Seniors Can Customize Their E-Bikes
You can adjust or completely replace specific parts like the seat, pedals, or handlebars if they are worn down or just not the right fit but still have the electric motor to help you out.
You can also add baskets to carry things in for a quick trip to the grocery store or to bring your small dog along, which is easy and fast to do on an electric bike.
Along with this, the power of the speed settings is customizable, as you can choose how much pedal assist power you want. But if you want to work hard and get more exercise, you can pedal without any help from the motor, just like a regular bike.
And because maintaining good posture is even more important as you grow older, then you can upgrade the bike seat to one that feels more comfortable and has better shock absorption.
5. Electric Power Assist Without Pedaling
If you are struggling to make it up a large hill on your own, many e-bikes have an electric assist booster, or throttle, that’ll allow you to ride without pedaling at all!
This is often a twist throttle that will help you propel forwards at a speed you choose and is a perfect tool to use if your legs just need a break.
Take a look at the following article for more information on using pedal assist and a throttle…
6. You Can Choose an E-Bike That Fits You
There are many different models of electric bikes for seniors available to choose from when purchasing. Getting one with a less powerful motor, say 250-500 Watts, will probably be quite satisfactory if you’re not interested in going crazy fast.
Another thing to consider is that some might be bulkier than others with wide tires, which is good for stability but may be more difficult to maneuver.
A step-through frame bike will be a great fit for older adults and the elderly alike. Also called a “low-step” bike, you can get on and off the e-bike without swinging your leg and hips over a high bar. This is essential when it comes to electric bikes for seniors. And this makes it much easier to get off the bike quickly if needed.
Since the fear of falling is more of a concern as you get older, this type of low-step electric bike is really a great option. And senior riders with back issues or joint problems in the hips, ankles, legs, or knees, will especially appreciate a step-through bike… it’ll make all the difference in the enjoyment of riding your e-bike.
And here’s a really nice option: You can even find an e-tricycle that has three wheels for extra safety and stability (read more below).
Electric bikes for seniors should be comfortable and meet their very specific needs. So it’s a good idea to try riding several of the best electric bikes before purchasing one. Senior riders can even consider renting a few electric bikes for the day.
The Cons of Electric Bikes for Seniors
While there are many pros, of course there are a few possible cons to keep in mind.
1. E-Bikes May Require More Work to Put Together
Electric bikes will have a few parts that need to be put together manually, usually including the wheels, handlebars, and pedals. They are also fairly heavy when removing the bike from the box it’s delivered in, and this could prove quite difficult if you lack strength or are a small person.
However, the overall instructions are fairly straightforward and you can always invite someone else over to help put it together. Additionally, many companies offer a service to deliver and put together your e-bike, for an added price of course.
2. Electric Bikes Are Typically Cumbersome in Size and Weight
E-bikes are quite a bit heavier than standard bikes, and often bulkier if they have big tires. In fact, they can be up to 50% heavier than standard bikes and easily weigh 45-70 pounds, depending on the bike. This is partly because the motor and the battery add considerable weight already.
And because they’re heavy, they’ll require more arm strength to move around or lift. If you have back problems or knee problems, this could prove to be especially difficult. You may need help to get it into a car if you want to take it to the shop for maintenance or ride it somewhere far away.
E-bikes may also take up a bit more space than a regular bike. This could be a problem if you don’t have room in your living space to store it. But, the good news is that they can be safely stored anywhere that’s consistently above 32 degrees Fahrenheit and dry.
Because of the size and weight, it’s helpful to have someone around to help you move it.
3. Need to Keep Track of Battery Charge
Watch out for running out of battery power while riding up a large hill or if you are far from home!
While you don’t have to worry about battery power for traditional bikes, e-bikes (depending on the model you buy) can only last for roughly 22-50 miles on a single charge.
Even if you don’t think you’ll be going that far on a single ride, you can still get stuck if you don’t remember to charge the battery in between rides. Keep in mind that it takes about 3-6 hours to fully charge the battery!
However, if you are conscientious about charging the bike after each use, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
4. Pricier Than a Traditional Bike
E-bikes can definitely be fairly pricey.
Most e-bikes made with quality parts start in the $1000 to $2,000 range and go up to $8000! Although more and more e-bikes are being manufactured at a lower price, in the $400-$800 range, the quality of the parts used to make these is questionable.
So, then you’ll have the concern about your e-bike, especially the electrical components, breaking down while you’re out riding. Further, these low-priced bike parts just won’t last as long in general and you’ll likely be spending money to replace parts, or the bike itself, more often.
5. Potential for Injury
Although e-bikes are great for improving certain physical problems, seniors also need to be especially careful when riding an electric bike as they are larger and more powerful than a regular bike.
It’s easy to find yourself at a higher speed than you expected, and breaking too fast downhill may be hazardous.
Keep in mind that the same safety precautions apply when riding an electric bike as when riding a traditional bike. Wear a helmet at all times and watch out for other people or objects in your path!
Are Three-Wheel Bikes Good for Seniors?
Three-wheel electric bikes, or tricycles, are a great option for seniors who want to ride an e-bike. There are several reasons an electric trike might be better for you as an older adult rider:
- Stability: Removes the need to balance on two wheels
- Less chance of losing control and thus less risk of injury
- You don’t need to have one foot on the ground when stopping
- Steady riding going up and down hills
- More comfortable- Wider seats and many come with seatbacks
- Often able to carry more cargo than two-wheel bikes
- Don’t need to know how to ride a regular bike
Although there are many good reasons to ride an e-trike, there are a few possible downsides. One is that they are heavy and will be hard, if not impossible, to lift. Also, some adult trikes are not as visible in traffic due to begin particularly low to the ground, especially recumbent electric tricycles. In this case, you should attach a tall flag to the back of your bike, especially if you’re riding in the road.
Take a look at some of the best brands of electric trikes for adults and seniors include:
Conclusion: Are Electric Bikes Good for Seniors?
E-bikes are a great way for seniors to fight disease, manage existing conditions, and improve mental health and cognitive function. But, it’s always a good idea to keep both the pros and cons in mind when making a big purchase or considering doing anything physical you haven’t done before.
Riding an e-bike clearly has many benefits for seniors, but the cons are also worth noting. They’re heavier, require more care, can cause injury, and are quite expensive.