Biking with Batteries

Electric bikes offer intriguing options for outdoor and hunting enthusiasts

Many cycling enthusiasts gleefully pedal along roadways and trails this time of year. And an increasing number of them are pedaling far less – or not at all.

Electric bikes, also referred to as e-bikes, have been around for several years. They feature a battery and motor that helps power the bike. Some models require the rider to engage the pedal while other models have a throttle. As more models become available, people may be more interested in trying them out. There are three classes of e-bikes based on how they function and their top speed; some laws vary based on the class of e-bike. There are some unique reasons to consider an electric bicycle.

They provide an option to go (way) off-road! Class 1 and class 2 bikes have a top assisted speed of 20 miles per hour, while class 3 e-bikes have a top assisted speed of 28 mph, according to the Federal Highway Administration. They can go a pretty far distance quickly, and their build means that they can get into some heavily wooded areas that might be more difficult to access by foot or by all-terrain vehicle. This can be a good choice for those looking to explore hard-to-reach areas, such as for hunting, fishing or camping.

Affordable option for those looking to get out and about. In Indiana, e-bike riders do not need a driver’s license or insurance. Also, since they have been available for several years, there are a variety of models available based on budget and desired options. Some basic entry level options can be found for well under $1,000, though higher end models with longer range batteries can cost several thousand dollars.

E-bikes offer a sustainable travel option. Electric bikes can be a good option for people who want to minimize carbon emissions by limiting driving in a vehicle. E-bike riders can travel far distances on a single charge, making e-bikes a viable option for commuting or traveling. It also can be an option to support health; on many models, as riders can pedal when they want and then engage the motor when they want support.

More electric bike options likely will become available – and affordable – as they become more popular. You can contact your electric cooperative’s energy advisor with any questions you may have about e-bikes; some energy advisors are becoming avid e-bike enthusiasts themselves!