Bicycles are a wonderful means of transportation that helps preserve the environment: it reduces air contamination, ecological footprints, carbon emissions, is healthy and very inexpensive!
Up until World War II, bicycles were the most common means of transportation in cities. However, except for countries such as Holland or Belgium, they have become merely another recreational activity. However, the recent crisis and rise in the price of oil has contributed to a slight increase in the use of cheaper, more ecological means of transportation, such as the electrical bicycle.
The electrical bicycle or e-bike is a traditional bicycle equipped with an electric motor to help with pedaling. We can purchase one directly or adapt a traditional bicycle. Do you know how it works and the advantages it has over other means of transportation?
How does an electrical bicycle work?
It consists of several parts: cycling system (part of the traditional bicycle), battery, controller (sends power to the motor), electric motor and pedaling sensor. The motor is supplied with power from the battery, which is recharged in the electrical grid, although a solar panel can also be used. Certain modern motors can be charged while riding down hill.
When the sensor detects pedaling, it starts the motor, which helps on steep hills and long distances. When the rider stops pedaling or brakes, the motor stops.
Types of electrical bicycles
Complete electrical bicycle: these electrical bicycles are purchased already equipped but may have problems of compatibility for broken parts. Electrical road bikes cost 800 euros or more and electrical mountain bikes cost 1000 euros or more.
Traditional bicycle to install a kit on: some are easy to convert and the kit can be installed in very little time. The advantage over a serial electrical bike is that you do not have to buy a new bike if you already have a traditional one, thereby saving quite a bit of money. Kits can be bought for 400 euros or more.
Foldable format: designed to be stored in cars, apartments or on arrival at the office.
More economical than fuel-powered cars and motorcycles, and cheaper than buying an electrical vehicle for the city.
You can adapt your traditional bike using a kit, and you can do it yourself in a few minutes, so you don't need to buy a new one.
No contamination, forget about CO2 emissions!
Depending on the person's physical condition, the type of terrain or the distance, the electrical bike can be more comfortable since it allows the rider to cover more distance or climb hills when more moderate physical exercise is required. The bicycle does not do the riding for you, it provides a slight impulse when you start off or ride uphill with a smooth, fluid movement.
The autonomy of the lithium batteries (lead batteries are hardly used any longer because of their weight and contamination) is around 35 to 60 km, although this can vary depending on how the motor is used, rider weight, etc. Some batteries can last for up to 140 km.
Traditional bicycles are still the least contaminating option since they do not need batteries and consume no electricity at all.
Electrical or assisted pedaling bicycles do not require a license or insurance. In that sense they are similar to traditional bikes; however, they do have to meet certain requirements, such as:
- A motor that cannot exceed 250W of power.
- Maximum speed of 25 Km/h.
- They cannot weigh more than 40 Kg.
- The motor is activated by pedaling and stops automatically when pedaling stops or the brake is activated (it is not equipped with an accelerator).
Some countries offer state financing for electrical vehicles, including electrical bicycles. In cities with heavy traffic, the speed is not over 22 km/hr. If we were aware of this and the savings in fuel, car maintenance and contamination involved, bicycles would flood our cities.