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Electric bikes

Electric bikes are rapidly growing in popularity with over 36 million now being sold worldwide each year.

What is an electric bike?

Electric bikes are modified versions of normal bikes that use a small electric motor to provide some assistance when pedalling. They also come equipped with a rechargeable battery which provides the power to the motor. Most electric bikes come with different settings so that you can choose the level of support you require when cycling.

Why should I ride an electric bike?

  • Improve your health - Cycling using an electric bike is a great form of exercise for people of all ages. Recent studies have shown that cycling reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer, makes you more alert, and improves your mood. Many elderly people and those with joint problems or other debilitating conditions also find that journeys that might not have been possible for them by cycle are easy and enjoyable by electric bike.
  • Save money - The overall costs of purchasing and running an electric bike are considerably cheaper than the costs of buying and maintaining a car and provide a cost effective option for city commuters. 
  • Be clean and green - Electric bikes don’t pollute the air. They use very little energy and, if this is sourced from renewable sources of electricity, can be entirely green.
  • No need to sweat over your journey – As an electric bike user you can be active without breaking into a sweat and you don’t need to struggle with hills or against windy weather.
  • Leave the car at home - Many of the journeys made by car can be made faster and more conveniently by electric bike. No need to waste time stuck in a traffic jam or searching for a place to park. Electric bikes can also use our extensive network of local cycle routes thereby avoiding much of the traffic congestion faced by car drivers.
  • Go further - Electric bike users cycle more often and further than regular cyclists and this makes day trips out by bike, or the option of longer commutes, a real possibility.
  • Great choice - Electric bikes now come in a wide range of styles from mountain bikes, road bikes and stylish town bikes to folding bikes, cargo bikes and adapted bikes for those with special needs or disabilities.

Electric bikes and the law

You must be over 14 to ride an electric bike but you do not need a licence in England to ride a bike, nor do you need to register, tax or insure it. Electric bikes are only allowed to pedal-assist up to a maximum speed of 15.5mph but this is still comparable to a fast rider on a normal bike.  Finally, electric bikes must have functioning pedals, not weigh more than 40 kg and the motor power output must not exceed 250 Watts.

Where to buy

Most cycle shops in York now sell electric bikes and many will allow you to try before you buy, as well as provide useful advice on riding and maintaining an electric bike. There is also a dedicated electric bike store, The Electric Transport Shop, based in York. See our Cycle Route map for locations of your nearest bike shop.

Cycle training

If you feel you might need to brush up on your cycling skills before or after investing in an electric bike, we can offer one to one Urban Cycle Skills training to help build your confidence on the road. One 90 minute session might be all you need to get cycling again, or to refresh your rusty skills. .