Many different kinds of personal transportation are undergoing an electric revolution, but electric bikes might make up the biggest section of the market. In fact, it’s boomed fast enough that we’re already seeing a huge uptrend in “e-bike” purchases in Edmonton bike shops. We’re also seeing a growing sector of the population using them on their weekend excursions and for their daily commute to and from work.

They are often dismissed by cycling purists as being a cheaters option, but to compare them with a regular bike is to miss the point. There’s a bit of a stigma about e-bikes among hardcore cyclists, but they need to be seen in context. It’s another form of cycling and surely these critics would prefer to have someone riding an e-bike to a gas-powered car.

The argument that e-bikes are the lazy option negating the health benefits of cycling has a flip side. Riding a pedal-assist bike using low power will elevate the cyclist’s heart rate consistently, without the sudden highs of taking on hills on a regular bike. E-bike owners are more likely to choose a ride over driving, even when their energy is flagging, because the potential for exhaustion is less. Reduced exertion is better than none at all.

You’ll recognize the guy in the photos immediately. He’s an outspoken supporter of cycling in YEG. Whether it’s expanding bike lanes or increasing the number of bike racks on city streets, Scott McKeen loves his e-bike and the flexibility it offers as he navigates his way around town.