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Tag: benefits of electric bikes

Urban air quality after the lockdown: How eBikes can help

Over the past few weeks, the world has been on lockdown. Travel has been restricted, restaurants, cafes, and other public places are closed, and the streets are virtually empty. It’s a strange and stressful time for most of us, but there is one silver lining of being forced to stay at home. Less activity means less pollution, and the air quality of major cities has been drastically improved. Not only does this give the Earth a welcome respite, but it could also lead to a drastic change in attitudes towards emissions and our common modes of transport. 

 

Changes in air quality

 

In London, Birmingham and other large urban areas in the UK, nitrous oxide (NO2) and tiny particle pollution have dropped by approximately 33%, with some areas seeing drops of up to 50%. London’s air quality, in particular, is now at the lowest level since the year 2000 when the population was 2 million less than it is today! Nitrous oxide and tiny particle pollution are “the two air pollutants that have the biggest health impacts on people”, according to the National Centre for Atmospheric Science. Poor air quality is estimated to cause 110 premature deaths every single day, and that’s just in the UK. 

 

It’s not just the UK that has seen improvements, the air quality in major cities around the world is strikingly better. Cities like Milan, New Delhi, and Jakarta are enjoying noticeably better air and clearer skies, which can be seen in these side-by-side images. Perhaps the most striking outcome is that the Himalayas are now visible from 125 miles away in parts of India for the first time in 30 years! 

 

Change in attitudes

 

These improvements in air quality show three things. Firstly, it very clearly shows just how polluting our current methods of transport are. Secondly, it shows that our cities (and the wider planet) can recover very quickly if we stop adding pollutants to the air. And thirdly, it shows that we need to seek alternative methods of personal transport for the masses because our current methods (specifically cars) aren’t sustainable in their current form. Something needs to change, for the sake of our lungs and our planet. It’s a sentiment that’s shared by Dr Benjamin Barratt of King’s College London

 

Electric bikes could be the solution we’re all looking for, and we aren’t just saying that because we make them! 

 

Electric bikes are an emission-free mode of transport, and they’re more accessible than regular bikes thanks to the motor’s assistance. Those who may not feel fit enough to complete their entire commute by bike, or those who may have felt vulnerable while cycling on roads, can now enjoy the pleasure of riding a bike without having to solely rely on their own power. 

 

 

Ebikes are still an excellent form of exercise, with studies showing that an ebike has a comparable effect on the rider’s heart rate and calories burned as a regular bike. With more people riding eBikes, there’ll also be less congestion in cities during rush hour (since a bike takes up far less space than a car). Not to mention how much cleaner the air can be, especially in major cities like London. You can read more about the benefits of electric bikes here

 

We hope that the recent improvement in air quality leads to a change in attitudes toward electric bikes. We hope that more people see the benefits of these brilliant machines, and what they can do for our cities and our health. 

 

If you want to be a part of the future of transport today, then check out our range of electric bikes. They’re all emission-free and road legal in the UK, making them the perfect way to get around the city. Our Furo X is one of the most powerful folding eBikes you can buy, making it fun, fast, and practical. Perfect for commutes, leisurely weekend bike rides, and everything in between. 

 

How old do you need to be to ride an electric bike?

For many people, riding a bike as a child is one of their fondest memories. The freedom, the speed, the excitement! The only thing that could possibly be better than riding a bike is riding a bike with an electric motor. Nowadays, it’s not just a childhood fantasy – electric bikes are real and becoming more and more accessible. However, before you go rushing to buy an electric bike for your child, it’s important to consider the legality of riding an electric bike at certain ages. Here we discuss how old a person must be to ride an electric bike.

 

Electric bikes are classed as Electronically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs) by authorities. The current UK law surrounding EAPCs states that riders must be at least 14 years of age when using them on the roads. Therefore, it’s illegal in the UK for children under 14 to ride electric bikes.

 

People have considered ways to get around this law, such as by riding the ebike with the battery switched off. This, however, is illegal. Once a battery has been fitted to a bike, there’s the potential for it to be turned on and used, so children under 14 years of age still aren’t allowed to ride.

 

What about riding off-road, such as on bridle paths in the countryside? There’s currently no law regarding the use of electric bikes on bridle paths, but the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRE) states that there’s a tacit implication that people should comply with the road laws whilst on bridle paths.

 

Children under 14 are, however, allowed to ride electric bikes on privately-owned land, at the owner’s discretion. Private land isn’t subject to the Road Traffic Act, so this is one way to allow children to enjoy ebikes. We would recommend, however, that you use good judgement to determine whether it’s actually a good idea to allow your child to ride a power-assisted bike. Regardless of the law itself, there is a safety concern for young riders – ensure they’re skilled and responsible enough to ride, even if you do have permission to use private land.

 

Reason for the law

You may be surprised by this ruling, given that EAPCs are treated the same as regular, non-powered bikes in the eyes of the law. Children under 14 are allowed to ride bikes, so why not electric bikes? According to the Department for Transport, it’s all down to safety.

 

There’s a level of skill and responsibility required when riding a power-assisted vehicle, and the more powerful the vehicle, the more skill and responsibility required. The minimum age at which people can ride a moped is 16. “This was reduced to 14 years old for EAPCs” due to their lower power and less risk involved compared with mopeds (and other powered vehicles). Additionally, the youngest riders of powered vehicles are statistically the most at-risk of injury, so these laws are in place to protect young riders.

 

What is the punishment for riding an electric bike while underage?

Being caught riding an electric bike whilst under the age of 14 carries a fine under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a relatively minor offence, but the fine is enough to make parents and guardians abide by the law.

 

Electric bike age limits in Europe

How does the UK’s approach compare with the rest of Europe? Interestingly, there are no age restrictions on the use of ebikes in the EU. However, this doesn’t mean we recommend you take your child abroad to ride to their heart’s content. Exercise good judgement and ensure anyone under 14 years of age (or any age for that matter) is proficient and comfortable enough on a traditional, non-power-assisted bike before they upgrade to an ebike. Safety first!

 

The UK’s law against minors riding ebikes exists for a reason – safety. Electric bikes are tremendous fun and one of the best ways to get from A to B. They’re fast, emission-free, and a great form of exercise. Check out our very own Furo X, one of the most powerful ebikes on the market – you won’t find a better way to get around town.

How much exercise do you get on an electric bike?

There’s a pervading idea that riding ebikes somehow makes you lazy or you’re getting a “free ride” when compared with riding a traditional bike. We can understand why, since ebikes offer motorised assistance, but once you try one yourself, you’ll realise it’s far from riding a slimmed-down motorbike. In this article, we explain how much exercise you can get on an electric bike because they’re electric, not in spite of it. 

 

How electric bikes work

 

It’s important to begin by clarifying that electric bikes (at least, those which are legal to ride in the UK) require the rider to pedal before the electric motor is activated. Many people wrongly assume that electric bikes work without the need for pedalling, working as a kind of motorbike (often called “twist and go” bikes). 

 

Since this is the case, it’s physically impossible to get a “free ride” from using an electric bike and they are, by design, a form of exercise – even though they have a motor. 

 

Ebike riding habits

 

There have been a number of studies conducted around this topic as many have wondered about the physical effects (and potential downsides) to riding electric bikes instead of traditional bikes. One, in particular, followed more than 10,000 adults in several countries across Europe and found that ebike riders, on average, did more exercise than traditional bike riders on a weekly basis. 

 

The primary reason for this is those who ride ebikes tend to use them more than traditional cyclists use their bikes. The study also found that ebike riders tend to travel longer distances than their purely pedal-powered friends. So while the intensity of each journey is (rather obviously) lower, ebikes offer a viable form of exercise – especially for those who have swapped their car or a bus for an ebike. 

 

Electric bikes are also more accessible than traditional bikes, enabling more people to experience the health benefits of cycling when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to without the electric motor. They offer a middle ground between cycling and driving and are the perfect option for commuters who wish to be more active but don’t want to arrive at the office all sweaty and flustered. 

 

 

What the science says

 

Our look into the relationship between electric bikes and exercise wouldn’t be complete unless we looked at the direct effects of riding one on the body. A recent study investigated the effect of riding an ebike on the average rider’s heart rate compared with riding a traditional bike. The assumption going into the study was that there would be a marked difference between the two forms of exercise, but in fact, the opposite was true. 

 

The majority of the participants reached the “vigorous-intensity” heart rate region – which is 70-85% of a person’s maximum heart rate. Moreover, on average, the ebike riders’ heart rates were 94% that of the traditional bike riders. As a result, the study concluded that riding electric bikes is an “excellent form of aerobic or cardiovascular exercise”. 

 

Additionally, some reports suggest that riding an electric bike burns approximately 80% of the calories of a traditional bike for a given journey. So while you aren’t reaching the full calorie-burning potential that cycling has to offer, it’s far from being a “free ride”. 

 

The bottom line is, electric bikes offer a fantastic form of exercise. They open up cycling to a wider range of people and tend to be used more often than traditional bikes by their owners. Enjoy a fantastic workout or a leisurely ride around town – with electric bikes, you have the choice thanks to their motorised assistance. Our Furo X, for example, is guaranteed to get your blood pumping and show you a good time. In our books, the best form of exercise is that which you do regularly, and if you’re having fun, then you’ll continue to cycle more often. 

 

If you have any questions about exercising on an ebike or about ebikes in general, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. 

eBikes in the city: Improve your commute

For some people, the worst part of the daily grind is the commute to and from work. Crammed into a sweaty tube carriage, they have to endure others sneezing in their face before being cattle-herded down crammed platforms – and they have to pay through the nose for the pleasure. Others, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoy their commutes. We might be biased, but these people most likely have a commuter eBike. Here’s why hopping on eBikes will turn your commute from the worst to the best part of your day. 

 

 

Improved Health 

It’s no secret that more exercise leads to better health, both physically and mentally. Cycling to work provides a low-impact form of aerobic exercise that improves cardiovascular health and can even reduce the risk of developing cancer. eBikes, in particular, offer a more accessible way to exercise – if you suffer from joint pain, for instance, the electric motor will give you a helping hand as well as ensure you don’t need to shower and change clothes once in the office. 

In terms of mental health, a study by the University of East Anglia has shown that cycling has significant benefits – in addition to having improved concentration, cyclists felt less under pressure than when they were driving a car to work.

 

 

Cost 

eBikes are generally more expensive than regular push bikes, owing to all the benefits brought by battery-powered assistance, but they still represent an economical alternative to other forms of transport. According to a report produced by TotalJobs, the average monthly amount spent on commuting within London comes to roughly £120 per month (as calculated by the average distance travelled, and average cost per mile). The cost of an eBike, such as FuroSystems’ eTura, is approximately £1449. When spread out over 12 months this is equivalent to tube prices – after just one year though, the eBike starts paying for itself! 

 

 

Time spent commuting 

Could riding a bike to work actually be faster than getting the tube? According to some research done by the London Cyclist, yes it could. On certain routes, pedalling through the streets is more efficient than shouldering your way onto the tube. A bike trip from Covent Garden to London Bridge, for example, took around 40% less time than it did on the underground. Furthermore, the time benefits of cycling are probably even more than the stats suggest as train times didn’t account for entering and exiting the stations. eBikes have also been shown to be on average 21% faster than push bikes. Had a hard day at work? Jump on an eBike and you’ll be back home before you know it! 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Impact 

Riding an eBike to work doesn’t just benefit your health and wallet, but also the environment. Among the numerous environmental benefits of eBikes is the fact that they emit far lower carbon emissions than other forms of transport. A report conducted by the European Cyclists’ Federation found that eBikes account for an equivalent of 22g of CO2 per person/km – significantly lower than public buses at 101g, and cars at 271g. It’s even lower than emissions from London Underground trains, which are 55g per person/km.

 

The daily commute into and around the city can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Swapping the tube, bus, or car for an eBike – such as Furosystems’ eTura or Furo X – will save you money, improve your health, and make your commute much more enjoyable. 

 

FuroSystems design and produce electric bikes and scooters with aerospace-quality materials. Whether you’re looking to buy an eBike to improve your commute or an e-Scooter for some fun, check out our range of precision-designed electric models.

Electric Bikes vs Motorcycles: 5 Differences

With electric bikes becoming more and more popular, they naturally invite comparison between them and motorcycles, both electric and petrol, and it’s understandable. There are powered bikes that are often used for commuting and whizzing around cities. If you own a motorbike already, is it worth investing in an electric bike? In this article, we discuss the major differences between electric bikes and motorcycles in a range of areas.

Before we start, it’s important to establish the key difference between electric bikes and motorcycles: the way you ride them. With electric bikes, you pedal just like a traditional pushbike, and then the electric motor provides you with assistance. With motorcycles, there’s no pedalling involved, and all movement is controlled by the throttle. The differences don’t end there.

 

 

1. Legal requirements

Electric bikes and motorcycles are treated very differently in the eyes of the law. motorcycles, whether electric or petrol, are liable for road tax, insurance, and must be registered with the DVLA. Riders of motorcycles must also have a driver’s licence to be able to legally drive the vehicle. With electric bikes, no such restrictions apply. You do not need a driver’s licence, the bike doesn’t need to be registered or insured, and you don’t need to pay tax. In the eyes of the law, electric bikes are generally treated the same as traditional pedal bikes.

The clothing riders must wear differs between motorcycles and electric bikes too. Motorcycle riders are required by law to wear a crash helmet at all times, and it’s advisable to wear more protective clothing. The higher speeds that motorcycles are capable of come with a higher risk of injury. When riding electric bikes, you do not need to wear a crash helmet (although wearing a helmet of some kind is strongly advised). You also don’t need to carry around cumbersome motorcycle outfits. Electric bikes give you the freedom to wear whatever you want, within reason.

That being said, wearing protective clothing is recommended, especially if you’re going to be taking your electric bike onto busy roads. Read more about the legality of electric bikes in our dedicated article here.

 

 

2. Speed

It should come as no surprise, but electric bikes cannot compete with motorcycles (electric or petrol) when it comes to speed. The primary factor is regulation that limits the speed at which electric bikes will provide the rider with assistance: electric bikes are required by law to stop providing power when the bike reaches a speed of 15.5mph (25kph).

Motorcycles, on the other hand, do not face such limitations and are legally allowed to reach much higher speeds. If you’re a speed demon, then a motorcycle, either electric or petrol, may be best for you. However, as you’ll see in the next section, being able to travel faster doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll reach your destination sooner.

 

 

3. Commuting 

Electric bikes make for a perfect commuter vehicle. They’re light, fast, reliable, and not subject to train delays!

In a city, the added speed capabilities of a motorcycle are irrelevant because of rush hour traffic and traffic lights. Electric bikes share the advantage that motorcycles have over cars in that they’re able to sidle down the side of traffic. However, electric bikes have the added benefit of being able to use them in cycle lanes and in certain parks around cities. You have more travel options with an electric bike. Motorcycles are restricted to roads. Therefore, in reality, the faster vehicle isn’t necessarily the fastest method of commuting.

Furthermore, electric bikes have a number of other practical advantages over motorcycles. For instance, there’s no need for a parking space, and many offices have space for bikes to be locked away safely. Also, some electric bikes, such as our very our Furo X and eTura, can be folded. Folding electric bikes are even more versatile since you can carry them onto trains and buses, and you can even take them into coffee shops or store them under your desk at work. Every base is covered!

 

 

4. Maintenance

Electric bikes come with far fewer maintenance needs than traditional motorcycles. There’s no oil or cooling system to take care of, and there are fewer parts overall, meaning there’s less to maintain. Additionally, running costs are minimal in comparison to petrol and electric motorcycles. You don’t need to buy any fuel, and you don’t need to charge the bike either. Electric bikes are ready to use at all times – there’s no preparation or forethought needed. When the mood takes you, you can hop on and be on your way!

 

 

5. Exercise 

By virtue of needing to pedal in order to move, electric bikes are far better from an exercise perspective. Of course, electric bikes offer a huge amount of assistance to the rider, which makes them so enjoyable and accessible, but there’s still an element of rider input beyond twisting a throttle. For people who find traditional cycling very taxing – especially in a city – electric bikes offer an accessible form of exercise that motorcycles simply can’t.

While we may be a little biased, in many cases, electric bikes are the more versatile form of transport. They can be used in more places and by more people than motorcycles, and that’s a huge plus in a world that’s constantly looking for new and improved modes of personal transport. If you’ve been thinking about investing in an electric bike, check out our eTura, the lightest folding electric bike you can buy, or our ever-popular Furo X, the electric bike that started it all.

UK Law: Are electric bikes legal?

Are electric bikes legal? Do you need a licence to ride one? Do they need to be insured? Do ebikes get taxed? These are all valid and very common questions that we receive. Many people want to buy an electric bike, but they’re worried about the legality of them. Unfortunately, these aren’t simple “yes” or “no” questions, but in this article, we hope to clear up any uncertainty.

Most electric bikes, such as our eTura and Furo X, are officially classed as Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPC) in the eyes of the government. EAPCs are legal to ride in England, Wales, and Scotland for anybody over the age of 14. Of course, being legal to use in public isn’t the same as being legal to ride without a licence or insurance – cars are legal to use on public highways for those over 17 years old, but you must have a licence, pay road tax, and be insured. In the case of EAPCs, however, you do not need a licence, to pay tax, or be insured.

You can ride electric bikes anywhere you would ride a regular pedal bike. This means they can be ridden on public highways but not pavements and must follow driving customs and road signs at all times. Riders of EAPCs must also obey the highway code and use front and rear lights when riding between sunset and sunrise. Failure to follow these rules and customs can result in serious fines.

 

 

What qualifies as an EAPC?

In order for an electric bike to qualify as an EAPC, it must meet certain criteria. Unsurprisingly, it must have pedals and the pedals must be in use for the electric motor to activate and provide assistance. If the electric motor can be activated without pedalling, for example with a throttle or switch (often called “twist & go”), then the vehicle is not an EAPC.

EAPCs must clearly display either the maximum speed of the vehicle or the battery’s voltage, and they must also display either the power output or the manufacturer of the motor. The power output of the motor cannot exceed 250 watts, and must not provide assistance when the bike is travelling at more than 25kpm (15.5mph). EAPCs may have two or more wheels, so it’s possible to have an electronically-assisted tricycle. If an electric bike does not fit these criteria, then different rules may apply to it.

 

furo x EAPC bike

 

 

Electric Bikes that are not EAPCs

An electric bike that is faster than the above specifications, i.e. it provides assistance when travelling faster than 25kph (15.5mph) then it is classed as a moped or motorcycle in the eyes on the UK government. This means it must be registered, taxed, insured, and you must have a driving licence to ride one. You’re also legally required to wear a motorcycle helmet when riding one on public roads.

If the electric bike’s motor can be activated without pedalling, it also fails to meet the EAPC standard. For instance, an electric scooter is classed as a Personal Light Electric Vehicle (PLEV) and is therefore illegal for use on public highways and pavements in the UK. PLEVs are, however, legal in many other countries in Europe and some states in America (hence their popularity in Paris, Madrid, and San Francisco).

 

 

Exceptions to the rule

There are some bikes with a “twist & go” throttle that are exceptions to this rule. Some electric bikes, including our entire range, have a throttle that is limited to speeds of 6kph (3.7mph); the reason for this throttle is to help those who struggle to begin cycling – it helps them get going. Once 6kph is reached, the throttle will cut out unless the rider starts pedalling. These vehicles are classed as EAPCs and are fully legal to ride without a licence, tax, and insurance.

The laws surrounding personal transport can be confusing and are often changed to meet new demands and cater to new transport trends. We hope that the UK follows other countries around the world and legalises the use of PLEVs so that our electric scooter – the Fuze – can be enjoyed beyond just private land. The good news is that all of our electric bikes – the eTura, the Furo X, and the Sierra – are legal to use in the UK and Europe as if they were normal pedal bikes. Our electric bikes are capable of reaching higher speeds than the legal limit for public roads and can be modified if you wish to ride on private land or in countries with more liberal restrictions.

5 Benefits of electric bikes

Electric bikes are quickly becoming a modern phenomenon, and it’s easy to see why. They provide many advantages over other modes of transport, both for the rider and the environment; it’s why we decided to develop our own range. The most obvious benefit being that the electric motor allows you to ride further, faster, and for longer than a normal bike – regardless of your fitness level. Read on more electric bike benefits below:

 

 

1. Better commutes

However you usually get to work, there’s a good chance that your journey can be improved by using an electric bike. Using a regular bike will often leave you sweaty and out of breath by the time you arrive at the office, especially if you have steep hills to climb or it’s a particularly windy day. With an electric bike, you can take advantage of the electrical assistance to make hill climbing virtually effortless, to give yourself a boost if the wind is against you, and make you generally need to expend less energy than you otherwise would. Never show up flustered and out of breath for your morning meetings ever again. Likewise, a brisk bike ride home is the perfect antidote to a stressful day’s work.

If you usually drive or take public transport, then using an electric bike will give you some fresh air and exercise to start or finish your day. You’ll also avoid traffic jams, train delays, and being squashed into carriages like a sardine!

 

 

2. A cheaper way to travel

Aside from walking, every mode of transport comes with a cost, and over time these costs can add up. Using a car or motorbike is very expensive; you need to pay for the vehicle itself, tax, insurance, regular trips to a petrol station, and maintenance fees if your vehicle gets damaged. If you live or work in a big city, you may also incur costs relating to emissions or congestion (like London’s Congestion Charge). Public transport is also very expensive, with season tickets and travel cards costing up to several thousand pounds every year.

With an electric bike, you make a one-off payment and don’t need to worry about tax, insurance, fuel or season ticket expiry dates. Electric bikes are good for your health and your wallet. In fact, it costs just 20p to travel 150km with a Furo ebike!

 

 

3. Kinder to the environment

Now, more than ever, people are realising the environmental impact of our travel habits and want to find greener alternatives. Transportation is one of the largest contributors to global warming, so the need for alternatives cannot be overstated. Electric vehicles are one way to limit our reliance on fossil fuels, and electric bikes, in particular, require far less electricity than electric cars or electric motorbikes due to their compact size and weight. Electric bikes are a sustainable transport method for the future.

 

 

 

4. Fitness benefits

The health benefits of cycling are well-known. It’s a form of aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping and helps to lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, can reduce symptoms of depression, and improve your overall fitness. The problem is, cycling is not suitable for many people. Many people find it physically challenging, especially in hilly areas or places with lots of traffic. Electric bikes assist the rider and take some of the strain, meaning more people can enjoy the benefits of cycling without the drawbacks. Cycling purists may say that it’s cheating, but we think that getting more people to cycle is a good thing.

 

 

 

5. It’s fun!

Last but by no means least, riding an electric bike is tonnes of fun. It’s almost impossible to ride a bike and not enjoy it, especially when you have an electric motor to give you a boost! Our bikes use the same power cells that Tesla uses in their Model S, so you’ll effortlessly glide around the city. Enjoy cycling alone or with friends and enjoy the great outdoors.

If you’re interested in joining the trend, then we recommend you take a look at our Furo X. It’s our most popular electric bike; it’s lightweight at just 15kg and folds to just 75x70cm, making it the perfect commuter vehicle. Its lightweight carbon fibre body and efficient battery system gives it an excellent range and gives you full control over your riding experience. Get in touch with us and ask any questions you have about our electric vehicles.

 

 

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