E-bikes available online are inherently hybrid tools. You can use the electric assist and focus on balance and steering, or you can get in a bit of pedaling as well. For senior citizens who are getting back on the trail, the standard bike frame will be easy to find. For seniors who live in a smaller home or need something a bit more manageable in terms of weight, a folding e-bike format may be ideal.
Standard Frame or Folding?
There are many great e-bikes suitable for seniors that look a lot like a regular bike. These bikes tend to have a solid frame with a battery attachment. If you are a senior citizen who has done a lot of cycling and really want to get back on the bicycle path, the standard city bike options may suit you best.
Folding electric bikes are generally
- lighter to carry back to your apartment, and many come with their own carrying case
- highly visible on the trail, as their design features smaller tires
- just as powerful and quick
- just as easy to pedal
Because e-bikes can provide more speed than a standard bike, letting others on the trail know that you’re on an e-bike with be easier with a folding bike. Being seen can reduce your risk of a crash or a tumble.
The city bike and the folding bike both have a step-thru frame. While an older man may feel a bit odd about riding a “girl’s bike” format, the step-thru frame is actually much safer for senior citizens. This frame
- makes it easier to balance as you get on the seat
- allows you to get off the bike much more easily if you have anything on your back
- again, makes it possible for you to be seen
An e-bike can make it possible to run basic errands with your bike instead of driving, getting a ride, or taking the bus. If you have a carrying bracket on the back of your electric bike, stepping through will make it much easier to bungee your groceries to the back of the bike.
Consider a Tricycle
If you are larger or taller than the average rider, an electric tricycle can be a terrific choice. The burden of balancing will be on the bike, not on your core muscles. You can still stretch your legs and get in some pedaling, run your errands and get some fresh air.
Many of the best e-bikes for seniors come with fat tires. The additional pavement contact will keep you safer on wet days, muddy trails, or when your bike is loaded with the items you picked up on your errands. Whether you have two wheels or three, these bigger tires will contribute to your safety and keep your pedaling as efficient as possible.
To Pedal or Ride?
Of course, moving your legs will increase the exercise benefits of owning an e-bike. However, even just riding your e-bike can give you a lot of benefits.
- Balancing your e-bike builds core strength
- Keeping your head up and watching for hazards will engage your brain
- Getting some sun will increase your Vitamin D
- Fresh air will lift your spirit
Once you’re out on your bike on a regular basis, you will likely start pedaling more frequently. This will loosen up your joints, wake up your muscles and increase blood flow to your brain and the rest of your nervous system.
Consider getting your bike in multiple riding modes. For example, you can start your ride in
- pure assist, or all-electric as you engage your core
- switch to electric with pedal-assist to get your muscles moving
- move to pedal mode for more intensity
Finally, you can switch back to electric with pedal assist for your cool down at the end of your workout. If you have stayed off your bike because getting started is hard on your knees and ankles, an e-bike can get you back on the road.
Don’t Forget Safety Gear
To protect your head, vision and skin, make sure that you gear up each time you ride. Again, focus on visibility. If everyone you see on the trail is in a white helmet, get a purple, blue or pink helmet. Try to wear long sleeves to avoid road rash. Make sure you’re wearing elbow and knee pads or patches to protect against serious joint damage. Put a light front and back and use reflectors on your bike and your body. Always carry your phone so you can call for help.
An e-bike can be the difference between feeling stuck in your home and getting fresh air every day. Seniors need regular exercise to keep joints moving, and every day that you miss means lower spirits, loss of flexibility, and muscle loss.