Could a power assisted electric bicycle be for you? Sally Brown investigates.
Getting the right amount of exercise when you have a diagnosis of PH can be a challenge. Cycling isn’t right for everyone but it’s a case of less pain and more pleasure since the introduction of power assisted electrical bikes.
Watching someone on a bicycle powering past you, travelling uphill, with relatively little effort can be surreal. You might find yourself thinking you need an eye-test. But no, it’s not an illusion.
A power assisted bicycle really does take the puff out of pedalling and allows you to exercise without over-exerting yourself. And power-assisted, or e-bikes, are helping lots of people with a range of physical conditions get out and about.
Some e-bikes can travel at up to 15 mph and others have a more powerful motor which can take them up to speeds of 28 mph. The crucial difference between all of them and a small moped though is that they can all be pedalled without the use of the motor when wanted.
Power assisted electric bikes start at around £299 but you can pay as much as £6,000 so it’s obviously an investment which requires some thought.
Electric bikes can be ridden along public roads as well as cycle trails and anywhere else that pedal bikes are allowed. In Great Britain, if you’re 14 or over you don’t need a licence to ride electric bikes that meet certain criteria, and they don’t need to be registered, taxed or insured. But do check out the exact requirements at
www.gov.uk/electric-bike-rules Of course, if you don’t fancy going electric but still would like a little help to get cycling, don’t forget trikes can be a great help. They offer more stability so, with no wobbling to worry about, you can ride in low gear without the danger of falling off. It is also possible to purchase specially adapted trikes with a lower, lightweight frame, making it easier to climb on board and pedal. There are even folding trikes which make storage less of a challenge and some brands do come with electric assist if that’s what you prefer.
If you have PH and you want to take up cycling, or are thinking of purchasing a bike for someone who suffers from the condition, you must check first with you PH team.