Riding an E-Bike is a very rewarding way to explore your environment.  Exploring off road tracks & trails or doing all your chores & shopping around town.  Greater time on a bike can however put a strain on your body. 

To be safe, comfortable & confident on an E-Bike you need to understand the risks and build up slowly.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
handlebar bag

Frequency of E-Bike Riding & Your Body

“People travel twice as much on the electric bike (as on a regular bike), both in terms of kilometres, amount of trips, and as part of the total transportation. The effect of having an electric bike was particularly strong among women. They did far more trips with their E-bikes than men did. Men, on the other hand, often went for longer trips once they were out cycling.” Aslak Fyhri – Institute of Transport Economics

So E-Bikes give you the ability to ride more places, more often but can your body keep up?  It may not be as physically demanding on your aerobic system and your pedalling muscles may not need a great deal of strength but there is more to riding in terms of impact on your body.  You where not designed to straddle a bike seat so your body needs time to build up resilience to this unusual experience.

Contact Points on an E-Bike

Anyone who rides a bike needs to interact with it at three different points. These points play a big part in how comfortable you will be while riding.  As you spend longer on your bike the interaction becomes more important.  Let’s take a look at each of these three points so you can enjoy the time you spend riding.

The Saddle (Seat) – The place where you sit on the bike is very important for your long term enjoyment of riding.  If you don’t have the right saddle or experience any sort of pain in this area it can make riding a misery.  For women riding E-Bikes we recommend having a gender specific saddle with a cut out.  It will need to be durable and designed to be suitable for the type of E-Bike riding you do most regularly.   Find out more about E-Bike Saddles at: The Best Saddle for an E-Bike 

The Handlebars – Where you grip the bike with your hands and therefore steer.  Your handlebars should rise slightly to meet your hands and ideally the grip surface needs to be secure and give you a great sense of control.  Because women have smaller hands we need a smaller diameter grip.

The Pedals – E-bikes will have square looking flat pedals to provide a good grip surface for your feet.  To have secure contact at this point again gives you a sense of control and being in contact with your bike.

The Saddle & Your Comfort

Common complaints from E-Bike riders cover the full range of problems someone can have with a saddle especially if you are using your E-Bike daily.  Chaffing, genital pressure, sit bone aches, tailbone bruising…

Any issues that were going to happen will happen faster with increased riding time.  Try not to ride yourself into these problems.  No about of pain or numbness or unbearable discomfort should occur.

Endurance vs Recreation – Different materials used in a bike seat (saddle) will provide cushioning and support for different lengths of time and how regularly you ride.  The padding should be very supportive for longer times on the bike.  Any rides over 45mins to an hour become endurance level, and if this type of riding is done regularly which often happens on an E-Bike, you are an endurance rider.

Further Reading:

Comfort on Your Bike Seat – Combined Solutions

Seat Adjustments – tips on how to correctly position your seat

The Best Saddle for an E-Bike

Women riding bikes

The saddle is an important contact point – take the time to get it right

Your Body Position & Your Comfort

Good weigh transfer and position on the seat through ‘A’ body shape and core strength is essential for E-bike riders.  You need to be thinking about your body and making constant slight adjustments.  The longer you spend on the bike the more tired your body will become and it can slip into bad posture, be inefficient and create pain in areas like your lower back, knees and your neck.

Straight back, open chest, relaxed elbows… learn about these simple cues and what they mean.

Further Reading:

‘A’ Body Position – Chi Riding

Core Strength – Chi Riding

Women riding bikes

Check in regularly with your body position

Add Padding for Comfort & Protection

Add padding by wearing padded bike pants or padded bike underwear.  Match this padding to the length of time you will be riding for.  This will probably be endurance padding as your E-Bike allows you to ride like an endurance rider sooner than a standard bike would.  See our Padded Bike Pants Buying Guide

Don’t forget about your hands.  Bike gloves that have a good level of padding will keep your hands well connected to your handlebars but protected from the pressure of weight.  There should be a 70% to 30% split of weight transfer on your seat and on your handlebars.  Again with greater ride times an endurance glove is the right choice.  See our Bike Glove Buying Guide

Time & Frequency Guide

Once you have sorted out all the things that can give you the best possible comfort and protection when you ride… it is time to do the riding.  So how do you get the right balance between riding regularly but not over doing it or stressing anything?

Great question… but not easily answered.  There are levels of fitness to consider and whether this is your first time on a bike in a while or the first time ever.  For simplicity we are going to assume you are beginner.

Week One:  First rides should be short 20-30 minutes.  It is better to be shorter and go more often, 2-4 times in the week.

Week Two:  Add 10-15 minutes to the length of your ride.  Again 2-4 times in the week is plenty.  Try to have rest days in between each ride.

Week Three:  This is the week to try what you would consider a big ride, any thing up to or over 45mins to an hour.  Have 2 days off the bike after this ride.

Week Four:  Increase both your frequency and time.  You should be reaching a place where you can choose to ride whenever you feel like it.

From here, to gain fitness or train for a special trail or tour, increase your time on the bike with 1-2 rest days after.  As you become fitter, you can increase the frequency until you are comfortable riding daily over big distances.

Have a good routine while on your bike of checking in and being aware of how you feel.  Change your position, even if it is just a slight movement.  No ones body enjoys being static for too long and movement will insure that nothing is being compressed for too long and that your blood is flowing and reaching all the areas it should be.  While you are building up, stop more often than you need to when you are out riding.  Take a water break or just stop and look at the scenery – get off your bike and have a bit of a walk around.  This changes the muscles you are using and gives your body a moment to reset.

In between your rides take note of how your body feels.  Have you recovered quickly?  Are any muscles or areas of your body sore?  Acknowledge what riding an E-Bike is doing to your body.  Can you support yourself in a better way?  If you are due to go for a ride again but still feel pain or a high level of discomfort you may need to reconsider.  Would one more days rest be a good idea?  If you do go out on your E-Bike and find you are not comfortable after 5-10mins, turn around and head home.

 

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