For many seniors, traditional cycling in some cases would not always have been a sensible or viable option due to lack of fitness or health related problems however, thanks to Electric bikes, increasing numbers of retirees are falling back in love with cycling and re-living their youth all over again. Here we are going to look at some great electric bikes for seniors and what the best options are to suit all abilities and fitness levels.
Electric bikes for Seniors and the health benefits
Ebikes have made the impossible possible for many people, and more importantly for those who may have been previously unable to ride a traditional bike due to injury, fitness or fear of over exerting themselves against the doctors orders.
This is because Ebikes have small motors which ‘Assist’ you as soon as pressure is applied to the peddles making the hills feel like they no longer exist. Because much less effort is required to get around it has been proven that people are cycling much further distances as a result.
A recent study has shown that people who ride ebikes can burn more calories than they would have done on a standard bicycle due to further distances being covered – this results in a more sustained cardio workout. Putting the calories aside for the moment let’s not forget how much fun these bikes are and what they can do for your mental well-being and happiness.
Disclaimer: If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider first
Buying guide – What to look out for
Here are the main things to consider –
Bike Types: Hybrid or Urban style ebikes are a good choice as they are well equipped and have a comfortable upright riding style.
Ebikes with Low Step Frames – Definitely look at bikes with a Low Step Frame, these frame types have no crossbar and are designed for riders to get on or off the bike with ease.
They are no longer just geared towards the ladies, most of the time bikes with low step frames are advertised as Unisex nowadays and are a sensible choice for older riders.
Frame Size: its really important to make sure you get a bike that is the right size, especially if you suffer any joint or knee pain. Most manufacturers provide you with a size guide to gauge which frame is best suited mainly by rider height.
Racks, Lights and Mudguards: Go for models that already come equipped with mudguards, Lights and a Pannier rack ( or front basket) rather than adding these on afterwards. Also, on most ebikes there should be a chain guard to protect your cloths from getting dirty.
Motor: To be honest, if its leisure riding mainly then Mid-drive motors ( located at the crank by the pedals) or a hub-drive motor ( located in either the front or rear wheel hub) will do. The mid- drive motors tend to be more powerful and offer the most assistance – more expensive than the hub-drives but in my view are can be worth the extra cost.
Saddle: Saddle comfort is absolutely key to the overall riding experience so although most Urban type ebikes are built for rider comfort and come already equipped with the right type of saddle, most suppliers are usually happy to swap these over for you if needed. Something with a wide seat is a good choice
Brakes: It goes without saying really, but most Electric bikes should come with hydraulic disc brakes as standard due to these bikes weighing considerably more than a traditional bike.
Kickstand: having a kickstand will make life so much easier for you and if one does not come with the bike as standard, they are relatively cheap to buy as an extra on.
My Aunt Pat (78) and her Ebike
My Aunt Pat is 78 years old and is what I would consider to be ‘full of beans’, very stubborn and flat out refuses to let her age get in the way of the things she loves doing the most – cycling.
Having lived and worked in Plymouth (UK) for most of her life, she always enjoyed cycling and was never a fan of driving so usually avoided and left to her husband John until he passed away 12 years ago.
Following his death my Aunt sold the car and continued getting around on her bike, albeit not quite as often as her fitness levels were not what they used to be and she started to complain about pain in her knees, so it was mainly short-trips to the local shops etc.
Middle of last year she ended up having knee surgery so for the foreseable future getting around would mean she would be relying mainly on public transport, taxi’s or friends and family long after recovery.
She was advised not to put her knees under any unnecessary pressure to avoid further complications so it looked like her cycling days were over and I could see this affected her is a really bad way – To my Aunt, her bike was her independence and gave her a sense of freedom which had been taken away.
Obviously I was not prepared to stand by and let this happen, so the family and I clubbed together to buy her an E-bike which to me seemed like the perfect solution. After many hours of research we ended up buying her a Raleigh Centros Tour which had everything she could need – It came with a pannier rack as standard to carry groceries, mudguards, lights and very comfortable Selle Royal Milo + Saddle.
This bike had suspension in the seat post and also Sun tour forks at the front making for a smoother ride. This particular ebike was a great fit for my Aunt as it has a low step frame so she could easily get on and off the bike alongside excellent Tektro hydraulic brakes, high levels of assist from a powerful Bosch motor for the hills and the bike had a comfortable upright riding position.
Riding her ebike has truly given my aunt a new lease of life and enabled her to be more independent – in fact she now cycles much further afield than before not having to worry about the hills ( or her knees so much).
Electric bikes for seniors – Conclusion
In summary, I hope the above provides some useful guidance when considering electric bikes for seniors and how choosing the right options can help you to ride further for longer, truly appreciate the joy of cycling and the great outdoors in retirement without worrying about the hills.
If you are looking for a good reccomendation then please see my review of the Raleigh Centros Tour by clicking here <====
If you have recently bought an electric bike or have been riding one for some time I would love to hear your story, or if you need any help or advice please a reply below as I would be happy to help.