Using public transport could prove more complicated than ever with fewer available seats to comply with social distancing rules. And if you want to avoid the traffic, then why not consider an electric bicycle as an alternative for travelling in cities.
E-bike is a term used internationally to define what we have known for twenty years or so as pedal-assisted bicycles. They are often called electric bikes for the sake of convenience albeit improperly.
Improperly because although they have a battery and an electric motor, the latter is not connected directly to the rear wheel. Its task is to help the rider by making progress less tiring on the legs (hence the term "pedal-assisted").
One of the most interesting aspects is that, by law, it is a bicycle to all intents and purposes, meaning that it can be used without restrictions, with no need for number plates, driving licences, stamps or insurance, although wearing a bicycle helmet is always recommended, of course.
To keep fit
If you ignore weather-related problems, from thunderstorms to frost, there are many reasons why an e-bike is perfect for cities. The first and most obvious is that it can help you keep fit, regardless of your age and physical condition. This is because you can select various levels of assistance. In this way, someone suffering from cardiovascular problems can apply less effort on the pedals by selecting a higher level of assistance, not unlike an exercise bike but with the advantage of not being confined within the walls of a room. Fitter riders, on the other hand, can select the most suitable setting and also exploit the gears.
Assistance can be progressively reduced and even completely deactivated. Furthermore, it switches off automatically when you reach the speed of 25 km/h (this limit is set by law). You can go faster if you want but you will have to rely only on your legs and your lungs. With all these features, it is no surprise that pedal-assisted bicycles are suitable for all cities, including the ones where not all streets are flat and the help of the electric motor can be game-changing.
It is clear that the range provided by the batteries is inversely proportional to the amount of assistance you need and can vary from thirty to a hundred kilometres or so. It also depends on the type of battery fitted. In any case, an e-bike can be charged much more easily than any other electric vehicle. The battery can be removed and plugged into any power socket. This means that you can charge up at home at night or simply top up the charge at the office or a friend's. All very cost-effectively, for just a few Euro-cents.
Folding for commuters
Importantly, just like regular bicycles, e-bikes can circulate freely on cycle lanes, away from the dangers of motor vehicles. The advantages that can make the difference for people on the move in cities every day can also be extended to commuters arriving from out of town, by train or car if you choose a folding e-bike.
The latter variant has the added bonus of offering greater protection against theft because you can stow it away next to your desk instead of parking it outdoors. There is no shortage of reasons to choose an e-bike but be careful to avoid the temptation of picking one that works by twisting a control on the handlebars without pedalling at all. They are classified as mopeds and consequently need a number plate, insurance and driving licence, in addition to requiring the rider to wear a type-approved motorcycle helmet.