If you’ve visited any major tourist destination in the last several years, chances are you’ve seen an electric bike tour zooming around. Maybe you’ve even been on one. Though the electric bike has been around a lot longer than most people realize (the earliest ones date back as far as the 1890s), in recent years the electric bike, or e-bike for short, has grown in popularity. So has the e-bike tour. There are plenty of reasons why using an e-bike will amplify your next travel experience as one of the most effective ways to cover ground and discover a place.
There are a thousand ways to explore a new city and get your bearings. Going for a run is an obvious favorite. But the e-bike tour gets the nod because of the workout, and the sheer ability to cover more ground. It hands-down beats a Segway tour or a bus tour where you most likely won’t even break a sweat. Though on an e-bike you can use the pedal-assist or throttle (some bikes have both), it’s still a bike and the choice of intensity level is yours.
In addition to getting a workout, the e-bike tour can also level the playing field for everyone in your group. It means that even those who don’t have a good fitness base can access the same ride as those who regularly spend time in the saddle. Jeanne Orellana of Bay City Bike says, “E-bikes can capture the person in the group that wouldn’t want to go, is in another age group or fitness capacity than their riding partners, or feels shy because they are not as ‘into’ riding as their peers.”
The reason most of us take a tour, whether it’s on a boat, on foot, or on two wheels, is because we want to learn something new about the place we’re visiting. It makes us not only feel a connection to an area but also its people. Learning about the culture and history of a particular place is what helps it stand out from the rest of the places on the map. “We know that tourism is one of the strongest pillars of our local economy, but that it can also be a destructive force,” says Torin Kexel of The Flying Bike in Asheville, NC. “We want to help tourists understand the context of their visit in ways that encourage them to make their stay beneficial to the people that live here. We believe that given the opportunity many tourists would choose to do so anyway, and it’s a matter of helping them make those connections as easily as possible.”
There are tons of apps and blogs to help you figure out where to go and what to see in a new city, but how about putting your phone down for a few hours and engaging with another human being? This is one of the best reasons for booking an e-bike tour. (Or any tour for that matter.) It’s a great way to not only meet locals, but to also ask questions and hear about some of their top tips and secrets.
Not all e-bike tours are centered around history. Some are designed around having a good time. The Greenville Adventure Company in Greenville, SC has an e-bike brewery crawl. “Our e-bike brewery crawl is a great way to see downtown Greenville and taste some of the city’s best beer,” says Devin Deholl, one of GAC’s founders. “We ride from Hampton Station to three to four of our favorite breweries in and around downtown. We ride on the Swamp Rabbit Trail and through Falls Park. The brewery crawl on e-bikes is a really fun way to see the city on our comfortable and easy e-bikes while tasting the best suds that Greenville has to offer.” This is the outfitter’s most popular trip and it’s not hard to see why.
Safety and Support
Going on a tour with an e-bike company almost always means you have some built-in support should you have a problem with the bike or you’re just not feeling well. Some tour companies have a staff member ride as a sweep behind the last guest to make sure everyone can keep up. Many companies have a van or truck they can use to meet up with groups should a problem arise. The Flying Bike in Asheville, NC keeps cash in their first aid kit that their guides can use to provide an Uber or a cab for a guest, if necessary. The point is, if you’re on an e-bike tour you’re unlikely to get stranded. Plus, since you’re renting the bike, there’s no need to worry about maintaining it. You simply show up and go.