Ruud van Laar on Ontdek de e-bike
"Cycling on the e-bike is much less hard work, but you can still work on your fitness"
Ruud van Laar and his wife tested an e-bike for two weeks at the end of August. His partner works for the Municipality of Heerlen, which is how she heard of Maastricht Bereikbaar's 'Discover the e-bike' campaign. She signed herself and her husband up to test an e-bike and was very impressed.
‘We used the e-bike for a number of short journeys in the immediate area, and we also used the e-bike to cross the border,' says Ruud. 'We wanted to know what the effective range of the battery was. Our first impression was that the e-bike was something for old people, but we really liked using an e-bike to cycle around’.
After this trial period, Ruud and his wife didn't know whether to buy an e-bike or not. ‘Having trialled the bike, you do keep wondering whether to buy one for yourself. We visited a number of bicycle shops and went on a few test rides. It was after we went on holiday for a week that we decided to each purchase an e-bike,’ he explains. Now they cycle to their heart’s content. Distance is not an issue for them. ‘We've already cycled to Aachen and to Vijlen. My wife and daughter even cycle to Maastricht now,’ he says.
The deciding factor
What was the deciding factor in purchasing two e-bikes? ‘We were not active cyclists. We often take the dog for a walk to work, and I run to maintain my fitness for hockey. Unfortunately, I sometimes get injuries that prevent me from exercising for a while. During the "Discover the E-bike" trial period, I noticed I had fewer physical complaints. While cycling is much less taxing, it's still a good way of staying fit and a good alternative to running.’
Keeping track of results
Ruud tracks his health metrics with his Apple Watch. ‘When cycling on an e-bike, it's easy to reach speeds of twenty kilometres per hour. On a normal bike, you cycle around about ten kilometres per hour. Two hours of cycling on an e-bike helps me burn around 1,500 kilocalories. My heart rate is now lower, and I burn more fat. When I start cycling, I use the lowest level of pedal assistance. When I cycle back, I use the highest level of pedal assistance.’
‘My wife often has appointments outside the office. Before we bought e-bikes, she would have to go from the office to our home to get the car before driving to any appointments. Now she can take the e-bike to work and then cycle to her appointments straight from work. Ruud’s job means that he has to work at different companies, so regular bicycles are not practical for his commute. ‘However, if I work at the office, I do cycle to work. Thankfully, I can cycle two or three times a week,’ he explains.
Switching to electric cars
Ruud’s employer provided a lease car for him. ‘I'll soon trade it in for an electric car. We won't need our second car when our kids move out, but us having two cars is still convenient for them at the moment. Even our children are more likely to use our e-bikes to go on a night out than ask us to drive them there,’ Ruud says.