This month we have been highlighting mens health as part of #MensHealthMonth. MHM includes supporting men to increase or maintain physical activity levels depending on current activity levels (often tricky in older years as knee and join pain become more apparent!). Cycling has the potential to help many people achieve suggested physical activity goals, especially if incorporated into everyday life. However, not everyone can cycle sufficient distances due to poor physical fitness, long commuting distance and steep Scottish hills! Electric bikes (e-bikes) can make cycling more accessible to the wider population providing uphill and long distance assistance. Of course, some people will believe that e-cycling does not constitute exercise due to the assistance given by the bike, BUT continual pedalling is still required before assistance from the bike kicks in. Furthermore, a recent systematic review reports e-bikes provide moderate intensity physical activity for both physically active and inactive individuals [1]. 

We asked local e-bikes enthusiast and member of the Coupar Angus Cycle Hub John Palfreyman to give us a personal account of the benefits of getting out on an e-bike…. 

Established in 2014, the Coupar Angus Cycling Hub is now a main dealer for CUBE e-bikes.  All the bikes use the latest Bosch motors and can be fully serviced at the Hub by our trained mechanics.  We have a range of bikes which can be hired if you are not sure what type of bike you need and, on most of the bikes, we can offer a free day’s trial.  Our Hub is situated at 1 Forfar Road, Coupar Angus, just behind the Red House Hotel. 

All my life I have cycled. Last year it started to hurt! After a long cycle of around 60 miles, with lots of hills, I was on my knees. I was tempted by an electric bike but all my cycling friends said ‘That’s cheating’. Now, a couple of years ago I had used an electric mountain bike on some forest trails on the Pyrenees. It was a great experience. Without telling my friends I tried out an electric road bike from the Cycle Hub in Coupar Angus (they have plenty of them for hire or even free for a first go). Oh wow, what an experience, I knew that if I could afford it I needed to buy an electric bike. In August last year I took the plunge. A three day, 150 mile expedition which included climbing over Glenshee, convinced me that I had made the right decision. In addition my traditional hybrid bike normally gets put away for the winter and by March, when I get it out again, I have to start getting bike fit again. No problems this year, I have cycled right through the winter on fair days and foul. And, just in case you think I am cheating, I still have to pedal on the new bike, and the range, at least 80 miles, probably more.

Although e-bikes are can often be criticised as an easy way to exercise, the evidence shows that they do provide health benefits in both active and inactive individuals. So why not go out and give them a try!

1. Bourne, J.E., et al., Health benefits of electrically-assisted cycling: a systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act, 2018. 15(1): p. 116.

Images: Unsplash

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