Estarli Co-Founder, Oliver Francis, shares his top 5 reasons for people to switch to e-bikes in 2024; including the lifestyle, financial and environmental benefits.
1 - Health
E-bikes are proven to help the mind, body and soul. We’re talking about mental health as well as hearts, lungs and limbs. The beauty is you can tailor your health and fitness goals to your journey; if you want to chill, turn the power up. If you want a challenge, ride it like a normal bike. And of course everything in between.
Joe, a local e20.7 commuter says, “Being a Dad of two young kids, I don't get that many chances to exercise so being able to do this every morning is my little injection of exercise”. Similarly, Denise from the West Country uses her e20.7 for daily errands and family rides all the while, reaping the health benefits; “I’m trying to get fit you see because I've got out of it. I just put it on (the power assist) when I get towards a hill and turn it off again when I get to the top”. On his e28.8 in Plymouth, NHS nurse Ash says, “If I want a bit more of a workout I can just turn the assist down and just use the gears.” Come rain or shine, Ash does his ten-mile trip to hospital every day.
Campervan enthusiast Stephen get’s health benefits in a different way. He uses his e20.7 around the UK for ‘adventures without breaking a sweat’. An avid hiker, he likes to use his e-bike for exploration after he’s been hiking; “I can go out for an 8-hour hike one day and the next day I can go out for a 2-hour cycle which, by the way, makes this a fantastic tool for recovery.”
In Manchester, on her e20.7, Dionne finds the health benefits broader still; “my mental health has improved. My appetite has improved because I'm needing to eat more to keep up. My commute just makes me feel giddy. I feel happy when I'm cycling.”
If you find yourself debating the subject with someone who claims that normal bikes are better for your health, ask them to consider the swathes of people who ONLY ride because of e-bikes. For this growing group of people, the health benefits of e-bikes are undeniable. On top of that, and mainly because e-bikes encourage riding further and for longer, The Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives found that ‘those who ride e-bikes officially get more exercise minutes per week than those who ride normal bikes’.
Cycling Electric recently raised the question of why cycling budgets have been cut in the UK at a time when obesity costs £100Bn a year. There are 1.2 million obesity related hospital admissions annually. It’s obviously not a miracle nor the only ‘cure’ but not long ago the government promoted Active Travel as a prescription to boost health - for good reason. The same government said air pollution was ‘the biggest environmental health threat in the UK’ (Gov.uk). So, on the benefits of health alone, it’s not hard to connect the dots; more people exercising while traveling and fewer sitting still in cars and chucking out fumes equals a healthier population.
On that subject…
2 - Planet
According to the European Environment Agency, ‘road traffic accounts for about one fifth of EU CO2 emissions’. We believe e-bikes can help cut that a lot as more people learn how e-Bikes can replace cars, taxis and buses as a greener alternative that is also more sociable and cheaper - we’ll come to that later.
It’s the short trips that hurt the planet the most. For so many journeys to work, school, and the shops, e-bikes are a sustainability no-brainer.
Joe from Berkhamsted says, “we try to drive as little as possible and cycle everywhere we can. It sets a really good example to the kids and it's just the best way to get around.”
Of course, the increased amount of components and batteries versus ‘acoustic bicycles’ is higher so the e-bike footprint is larger - but as we discussed, e-bikes are proven to get people riding more often and further. That increased time spent on two wheels means a lot less collective time driving.
Look at this from the Federal Environment Agency:
‘If you only consider the time spent on the road with your eBike, the power consumption results in an average CO2 emissions value of around 2g/km, depending on the power mix. In comparison a car emits about 152g CO2/passenger kilometre (pkm), while public transport emits between 50 and 111g CO2/pkm’.
If you’re interested, look into this yourself because there are a bunch of different studies but the theme is the same.
At Estarli, we believe in maintaining our bikes and batteries so they live as long as possible. We recondition battery packs in order to extend their lives and in the design and build process, we use reclaimable materials like aluminum for our frames. We have also removed all plastic from our packaging but we know we can still do more so we are going to launch a few initiatives this year so watch this space.
3 - Wallet
E-bikes aren’t cheap - we don’t pretend they are but we do everything we can to make quality e-bikes affordable.
Lots of people have tried to calculate the cost of having an e-bike versus having a car. One of our retail partners - The Electric Bike Shop - came up with this:
‘For a car averaging 35 miles to the gallon, 1000 miles would take 28.57 gallons or 129.7 litres. At £1.50 per litre, 1000 miles in this car would cost £194.57 in fuel. For an e-bike with an average range of 50 miles on a full battery which costs 30p to charge: 1000 miles will require 20 charges at 30p, so the total fuel cost for an electric bike will be £6’.
Throw in insurance, parking, taxes and maintenance and the gulf is huge.
Even if you can buy a second hand car for the same original price as an e-bike, the savings are significant.
Combining her pink e20.7 pro with a rear basket, Denise does her local food shop by e-bike. “I love it…it’s so quick and as well as the exercise, I’ve saved a bit of money on my fuel. It’s all a pleasure.”
On top of that. One can save 25-42% on a new e-bike using Cycle to Work Schemes - these are government incentives via salary sacrifice that allow you to hire from your employer and at the end of the hire period ownership can be transferred.
4 - Speed
Only you are going to know if an e-bike would make your commute faster. We would encourage you to try it out sometime and see.
What we can talk about with authority is the speed of commuting in the town where our factory is; Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire. It’s a typical commuter town built in a valley which essentially means that the roads weren’t designed for peak traffic nor school traffic so at those times of day, it literally grinds to a halt and those on bikes sail through the madness blissfully.
Joe lives just up the road from the factory and he combines his commute with the nursery drop. With his youngest in a child seat on the rear rack of his e20.7, he rides to nursery for the drop and then on to the station where he folds the e-bike onto the train. “In the mornings the town centre is just grid-lock so it takes my wife twice as long to drive as it does for me to go on the bike.”
This scenario is of course not unique to Hertfordshire. In central London, David cycles his e20.7 to work every day. He says, “it really takes the frustration of waiting at bus stops away, or being on a crowded tube which is punishingly boring and frustrating”.
Up north, the pattern is the same for Dionne. She says, “I live about a ten minute drive away from where I work. In the mornings or the evenings when I can just sail past this (referring to the traffic jam next to her) on my comfy bike, put my power assist on to get up a little hill like this, it's just amazing.”
5 - Community
Something we really believe in is that people who ride more instead of being cocooned in their cars are more vested in their communities. It’s the tangible stuff - like seeing more of it, smelling it, living and breathing it. We think it all helps people better connect and when people connect to their communities more, good things happen.
Narrinder commutes from the outskirts of London to Battersea. He cycles his Estarli folder to the tube, transforms it into its compact state like a ninja and at the other end, takes in London while he does the last mile. He says, “I was in fresh air in the greatest city in the world. It’s emotionally just one of the most incredible things that's happened to me in my adult life…having a bike again.”
If it’s starting to feel like your car or rail journeys don’t make much sense, then they probably don’t and it’s most likely that switching to an e-bike will be cheaper. It’s a certainty that it’ll be better for your health, the health of those on your route and the planet. Maybe it’s time to get riding and take charge.
If you want to hear more from Estarli riders please check out our YouTube page and if you’d like to test ride an Estarli get in touch with us or click the ‘Test Ride’ tab on our website to find your closest dealer.
To see the full video visit https://youtu.be/mNWl3AUKNOk?si=wCC4IGaTqYJQq20n