I’ve seen multiple threads on various FB groups lately, debating the issue of e-assist and most seem to revolve around the cardio benefits of a machine fitted with e-assist versus a machine that is not. The “old schoolers” are often the most vocal, insisting that there is little or no cardio benefit to be had from a trike with electric assist and if you want to develop your fitness you need to be slogging your butt off up hills at 2mph and either like it or lump it.
Some years ago football clubs thought that 20 pints after a game and pie and chips before one were the way to go for professional athletes but fortunately we’ve now moved on.. and so have human powered vehicles..
If you un-blinker yourself for a second this actually isn’t too hard to fathom. We generally are more successful at doing things we enjoy doing than we are at doing things we don’t. If you live next to a huge hill (as I do) which must be scaled before exiting your town of residence, at some point that hill is going to stop you getting your trike out because you simply don’t fancy the slog that day. If you live in Holland this won’t be your problem and e-assist may indeed not be a necessity for you but if your terrain looks anything like the Isle of Wight then you’ll know exactly where I’m coming from here. Above is a terrain map of my last ride. 38.55 miles and 3176ft elevation. I could not have touched that trip without e-assist, simple as.
So if the terrain is going to limit your journeys to 7-8 miles around the same area over and over again, you have to ask yourself at what point that small geographical circle is going to become a tad boring..? And if it gets boring, again my motivation to get on the trike is negatively influenced. I’ll also personally guarantee that the cardio I got yesterday from 38.55 miles and 3176ft elevation was significantly more than the cardio anyone has ever received from 8 miles round their township.
There also appears to be a misconception that those with e-assist want to speed around as quickly as possible. For me, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, a great deal of the time I turn my e-assist either to the lowest level or off completely. The e-assist is there to “assist” me. What with? Huge ruddy hills that might otherwise thwart me or cause me to think twice about attempting them again. That means I can confidently head wherever I want to go, safe in the knowledge that no hill (or mountain) road can or will ruin my day.
“But you lot just sit there with the throttle on, coasting around..” No we don’t. I use my throttle for two things and they are:
– assisting me to quickly and accurately pull out at junctions
– assisting me in starting off on steep hills
Other than that the throttle is never touched and without throttle my TSDZ2 turns itself off the second I stop pedaling. That’s the other reason I went with a UK street legal 250W motor. I don’t want the motor to pedal for me, I just want a little assistance now and again and if that’s your goal then 250W is more than enough.
Quite simply, I live on an island that is 42 very hilly miles across and 35 very hills miles from North to South. Without e-assist I can explore East Cowes and the surrounding suburbs. With e-assist I can explore the whole island. Because exploring the whole island is much more fun than just exploring East Cowes, I get on my trike whenever I can and go explore. Because I now have no terrain that frightens me I plan trips that are much longer than I probably should and as a result I get cardio workouts that I wouldn’t come close to without e-assist.
So should you install e-assist? Well, that’s up to you to decide but if you live in hilly terrain that limits your travel on the trike then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you install a 250W motor and allow it to open up new roads to you.