10 reasons to hire an e-bike in Scotland


10 reasons to hire an e-bike in Scotland

There’s a common misconception that e-bikes are for the older, less fit rider. Or for those that can’t be bothered putting ‘proper’ effort in…

As e-bikes become more and more mainstream, many people are realising their versatility and varied benefits they bring to all levels of cyclists.

Here are 10 reasons to hire an e-bike in Scotland to make your experience of cycling here even better…..

1. You’ll get on a bike more if it’s electric

To start any kind of exercise – whether it’s cycling, running, hiking or high intensity interval training – there’s a psychological barrier that has to be overcome for most people. Especially if you’re planning on exercising outside and it’s miserable weather. Because they’re literally an easier ride, e-bikes reduce this psychological barrier and research shows that e-bikers are twice as likely to ride as ‘regular’ riders.

10 reasons to hire an e-bike in Scotland
Speyside Way passing Ruthven Barracks. Image James Stevens

Still not convinced?

Dan Whitehead, owner of Bike Station Ballater, says that 30 million Brits own a ‘regular’ bike but cover under 50 miles a year.  Whereas customers who want to start cycling often come to him to buy an e-bike and many of them reach their 2000km service interval within one or two months of purchase!

“It’s the sub 50 mile a year cyclists who are usually the ones saying using an e-bike is cheating!” says Dan.

Dan’s hunch that e-bikers bike more is backed up by research: 46% of regular riders use their bike once or twice a week versus 30% of e-bikers who jump on them once a day, with 81% riding them at least once a week. 

2. They’re actually (in the long run/ride) better for your health

It’s been proven over and over again that regular exercise, not only reduces stress, but also improves your health generally – both physical and mental. 

As the research overwhelmingly shows, e-bikers tend to get out on their bike more frequently, which means they are benefiting from the regularity of the exercise, regardless of the fact the exercise is less vigorous (it’s still exercise and still involves moving your body and burning calories!).

In fact, as Dan at Bike Station Ballater points out, e-bikers often over-estimate how much assistance they actually get! When his shop services e-bikes, the diagnostic often reveals this. For instance, typically a customer who logs 400 hours would think they were assisted that whole time – but the reality is, it’s often only around 160 of assisted cycling.

10 reasons to hire an e-bike in Scotland
People tend to get out on ebikes more frequently than regular bikes; credit Angus Findlay Photography

3. You’re more likely to do epic adventures because you can keep going for longer

Doing big physical challenges has become increasingly popular, with many races and routes being set up to satisfy the superfit athlete’s desire for boundary pushing. E-bikes mean that these epic rides become do-able for those who are fit, but perhaps not Iron man / lady material, which these routes would require on a regular bike. 

Consequently, many e-bike owners say the added assistance actually helps them achieve and push themselves much further and faster.

Similarly, you can also use e-bikes for bike packing adventures because the extra assistance will definitely help you ride with the extra weight of your overnight gear.

10 reasons to hire an e-bike in Scotland
Cristian Pizarro at Laggan Wolftrax. Image Ed Smith Photography

4. You can save the planet while you pedal 

Instead of using a car to get around the Cairngorms, you can use an e-bike. Most e-bikes will easily assist you up to about 15 mph, making it relatively easy to maintain a decent speed (in fact, if a bike assists you when you’re riding more than 15.5 mph it becomes complicated, and you’ll need a licence to ride on the road, see here).

Visitors to the area are increasingly interested in taking this option because, as well as saving the environment, it’s also a great way to see a new place. With the Cairngorms’ extensive cycling network, too, it’s a safe, pleasant way to travel. Not to mention much cheaper than buying petrol and hiring a car.

Lazy Duck. Image: Ed Smith Photography

5. You can take the pain out of hills

It’s a well known fact amongst Cairngorms local cyclists that the most likely place where couples, or indeed friends, will fall out on on bike rides here is the hills. It’s the place where one might get off their bike and pronounce “I’ve had enough! I’m giving up!”.

E-bikes can avoid all that drama because they really, truly come into their own on hills making them so much more manageable that you’ll (almost) feel like you’re flying. The brilliant trail centres of Laggan Wolftrax and Glenlivet are much more appealing when you get some uphill assistance to enjoy the thrill of the downhill!

*We would say they work equally well in avoiding family fights on hills, too, but remember that children have to be 14 or over to ride an e-bike.

10 reasons to hire an e-bike in Scotland
Ebikes really come into their own on the hills! Photo: Glen Einich

6. You can keep up with your loved ones without the stress

Following on from no 5), e-bikes are generally good at boosting bike ride harmony because they level the playing field and ensure everyone can ride at their own level (and still push themselves).

It’s very common, for example, for a wife or girlfriend to feel frustrated, ordinarily, at not being able to keep up with her partner (and the frustration goes the other way, too!). E-bikes have liberated many couples and friends from these frustrations by giving an extra boost where necessary meaning that they can stay out biking for longer, faster and further – and harmoniously!

10 reasons to hire an e-bike in Scotland
Laggan Wolftrax. Image: James Stevens

7. You’ll be able to cycle with Granny and Grandpa

As we said at the start, there’s a common misconception that e-bikes are just for older, less fit people. And, while this is wrong (as we’ve hopefully proved in this blog), there’s no doubt that enabling older, less fit people to cycle is one of the e-bike’s great advantages.

That’s not to say you can drag Granny immediately up Glen Einich and expect her not to puff or struggle (e-bikes still require effort!) but it certainly means you can take her on an easier route that she wouldn’t manage at all on a regular bike. 

10 reasons to hire an e-bike in Scotland
Loch Einich

8. Your e-bike can make ski touring in the Cairngorms much easier, too

E-bikes are becoming especially popular among the Cairngorms ski touring community, especially with the late April/May snow, which can make the touring season longer. 

With an e-bike, you can load your skis on the bike, or your rucksack, and much more easily ride up the tracks until you reach the snow and can swap your bike for skis!

Spring Snow on the tops

9. You can ride like the wind, even in the wind

One of the other things – apart from hills – that can hinder enjoyment of biking is the wind. And – especially on higher climbs – the wind in the Cairngorms can whip ferociously. Fine if behind you pushing you up, less fun if full-on in your face. That’s where the assistance an e-bike can provide is especially welcome because it means a pesky headwind won’t ruin your fun.

Cristian Pizarro at Laggan Wolftrax. Image Ed Smith Photography

10. You will be surprised at how much more fun you’ll have on them

While there’s no doubt that sweating and panting your way up a hill on a ‘regular’ bike burns many more calories and might get more kudos on Strava, often it’s a hard slog, for which the enjoyment only comes at the end with the arrival at the top. 

An e-bike, however, makes the journey more fun as there is nothing quite like that ‘swooshing’ sensation when you crank up the assistance and can feel the power surge below you. It is known to provoke the most childlike of whooping sounds in even the most grown-up of grown-ups! It’s also been known to rekindle a childhood love of cycling.

*To hire an e-bike in the Cairngorms, check out our bike hire providers listed below……

We hired with Aviemore Bikes for a great team day out exploring up Glen Einich.

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