In this post we share a video from one of my favorite YouTubers, Mark Lewis. Mark’s channel, simply called Mark Lewis, is about Fitness, Motivation, and Entertainment. A few years ago, Mark was obese, but now he’s in excellent shape. He aims to be “better than average,” but I would say he has over-delivered on his target. He is currently a whole lot better than just “better than average.” In fact, many men (me included) would kill to look like him. A big part of his transition was cycling. He started during Covid, riding an indoor bike while Zwifting. Later, he transitioned to include cycling outdoors, and found that he loved that too. Now he races weekly, and is training for an Iron Man.
Is E-Biking Proper Exercise?
I wanted to share this particular post because Mark addresses a criticism I hear often and have strong feelings about – the criticism that e-biking is somehow “cheating.” As he says, the criticism that e-biking is not “proper exercise” often comes from people who look like their idea of exercise is driving to Pizza Hut, rather than having it delivered. And his reaction to this criticism is also to think: “They’re wrong.”
Mark ran some comparative tests, using two bikes over three different mountain bike trails. The bikes he used were:
(Yes, I am also green with jealousy about his bikes.)
Mark recorded the trips and his power output using a Garmin Edge 830 and Garmin Vector 3 power meter pedals. Mark concluded that: “If you want to get some exercise on an e-bike, you can.”
As he shows, his power output was remarkably similar on both bikes. What was very different was his speed, and his level of enjoyment. No prizes for guessing which bike was better for both of those.
As Mark says: “The numbers show the e-bike requires a BIT less power to go a LOT faster.”
And as his power output was roughly the same, he was getting a lot of exercise on his e-bike. A good thing, because he is currently training for an Iron Man. (He is pretty much always training for some kind of terrifying-sounding race.)
Here is the video from Mark Lewis showing his comparison of power output on an e-bike and a regular bike
Great video, and very thought provoking too.
Bottom Line on Whether You Get Exercise on an E-Bike
As Mark says, even if he did get a bit more exercise on the Trek, so what? He could also get more exercise riding a bike with a 50-pound weight on his back, but it wouldn’t be fun, would it? And if it’s not fun, it is unlikely you will keep doing it.
All that said, Mark does spend most of his time riding regular bikes, whether he is riding in his native UK, or in Wattopia (in the alternate Zwift universe). However, on the weekends, he and his wife (and their two dogs), get on their electric mountain bikes to have fun together on long rides in the countryside.
I highly recommend you check out Mark’s YouTube channel, Mark Lewis. I am not an affiliate of any kind. In fact, Mark has never heard of me. However, I am loving his channel right now. It is keeping me motivated with my new journey through Zwift. Also, he is just so entertaining. I have daily LOL moments watching his videos. And I have learned a lot from him too, most notably how to tell people to shut up when they tell me I exercise too much. Especially if the person telling me that looks like a sack of potatoes. (Mark’s terminology, not mine. So if you have an issue, take it up with the big guy.)
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