Electric bikes are growing increasingly popular as more of us see the benefits of cycling. They can make a great complement to any campervan holiday.
Taking the sting out of a tricky hill climb or making a long trip to the local shops more manageable, they’re a great way to explore on two wheels.
Whether you’re hoping to rekindle a love of cycling or are looking for a bike upgrade, read our quick guide to find out whether you should join the electric revolution.
Don’t forget, while insurance for campervans from Motorhome Protect does a great job of protecting your home on wheels, it can also cover contents and sports equipment like electric bikes, too.
What is an electric bike?
Electric bikes (also called e-bikes) aren’t very different to the normal pedal-powered variety you’re used to.
The key difference being they have a battery-powered motor to help you with riding. If you stop pedalling then the motor will stop, too, but you can choose how much help you get by changing the level of assistance.
Indeed, as you pedal you can ask the motor to even double the effort you’re putting in. Excellent for difficult hill climbs or if you’re not quite as fit as you once were or are struggling with your health.
In the UK, electric bike speeds are capped at 15.5mph by law. This doesn’t mean you’re limited to that speed. It just means the motor can’t help you go beyond it. You can go faster than this either by pedalling or going downhill.
Why buy an electric bike?
It’s a great way to take on those hills
Even an experienced cyclist can find themselves running out of steam on longer hills so one of the top advantages of an electric bike is climbing efficiency.
Being able to reach a speed of 15.5mph on even a steep hill is not to be sniffed at.
It helps you beat the weather
Electric bikes also help if you’re battling against that other great natural enemy of the cyclist – the wind.
That extra power will help you slice through those crosswinds and headwinds, making cycling that bit more fun.
You can go further for longer
Riding long distances so you can get back to your camper by nightfall can be an uncomfortable end to a day out.
An electric bike can provide that extra bit of oomph during the day meaning that you can go for longer and reach camp more comfortably.
It’s helpful for those with health problems
Whether due to age, injury or illness, it’s all too easy to ditch the bike when you’re not feeling 100%.
If you experience problems such as knee pain or exercise-induced asthma, an electric bike could breathe new life into your love of cycling.
It can introduce others to the sport
Sometimes while one person might be a keen cyclist their friends, partner, kids or parents might not be.
However, if you’re on a campervan tour and they bring an electric bike then they might be more likely to join you for a ride.
After all, the family who rides together, stays together!
It’s more climate friendly than other transport
Preserving our environment is a concern that many campervan owners and outdoors enthusiasts have.
By opting for an electric bike rather than using your van for short journeys you could make a significant impact on the carbon footprint of your trip.
It provides a brain boost for older people
Research conducted at the University of Reading and Oxford Brookes University has found that cyclists between the ages of 50 to 83 experienced significant brain benefits from riding a bike.
Plus, it doesn’t matter whether it’s electric or pedal powered! If age is stopping you from getting out on two wheels then an electric bike could be the answer.
It’s as good as a regular bike
Electric bikes also offer the same great benefits as regular bikes. You’ll be able to reduce your transport costs, keep fit and feel part of the friendly cycling community.
Key considerations when buying an electric bike
So, once you’ve decided you want to buy an e-bike, it’s time to choose the right one. But with so many different models on the market, this can be tricky.
Here are some key things to consider when looking for the perfect fit for you and your camper.
- Use – There are models designed for a huge range of people and uses. Whether you want a relaxed cruise down to the local beach or some long distance trail riding, there’s a model out there for you. Just consider the types of rides that you’ll be doing most.
- Drive – Do you want one that automatically adds assistance from the motor or one where you use a switch to trigger the assistance?
- Motor mount – Motors mounted on the crank usually perform best on hills but can be noisy. While those mounted on the wheel hub tend to be quieter but aren’t so good on hills. Which one would work best for you?
- Battery – The more you pay the lighter your battery will be, the quicker the charge and the longer the life.
- Range – This is an important consideration as if your power runs out during a ride then your electric bike just becomes a heavy bike! So think about what range you are going to need. Short pleasure riders won’t need as much range as those planning an all-day outing.
- Insurance – Electric bikes can be expensive. So, speak to your campervan insurance provider to check how much you’re covered for.
Protecting your electric bike and your trusty campervan
Whether an electric bike or a regular bike, taking one along on a campervan trip is a great idea. But you need to have the right campervan insurance in place to cover such an expensive piece of kit.
Motorhome Protect’s panel of leading insurers offers cover with a range of benefits including:
- Cover for up to 365 days a year which can include foreign use
- Discounts if you’re a member of a campervan club
- Up to £3,500 of cover for camping personal effects
Get a quote for campervan insurance today.