Some of you have experienced wanting to go on a cycling holiday with your partner and finding some resistance on the other side due to the fear of fatigue, distance or climbs to be tackled. Who writes is part of this community; as a passionate cyclist, I have tried several times to involve my partner in a cycling holiday, and the results have been disappointing for the reasons mentioned above. The arrival of electric bikes on the market changed everything. Until a few years ago, cycling holidays were reserved for trained cyclists only, which means that many people missed the opportunity to enjoy the regenerating effect of a cycling holiday.
E bikes have removed this limit!
Re-discovering the crumpled territory of our peninsula and the islands by bicycle is now much more possible than it was already a few years ago.
The arrival on the market of E-bikes has changed the way to look at the bicycle and all of the uses connected to it.
These changes of fact and perspective are already impacting the bike tour industry.
On top of this there are also the big numbers of selling of E bike on 2020 due to the pandemic: in Italy, 44% more compared with 2019, which means 280,000 more units than 2019 data from A.N.C.M.A. (bicycle and motorcycle national association).
Performances of e-bike are increasing:
· longer battery life: According to the level of support you select, the E-bikes of a new generation can cover distances between 80 and 120km, and some models can go even more.
· less weight: from 30kg per bikes we are now around an average weight of 25 kg per bike
· less charging time: 3 hours as recharging timing of the last models are much faster than for the first models where full recharging needed 5 – 8 hours
All of these factors lead to consider the e-bike as an efficient and reliable vehicle for daily commuting distances in town and even for leisure uses: on the other hand, it helps also to understand why sales are increasing dramatically.
IS JUST THE TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENT?
According to a 2020 survey by Shimano on Europe, the increasing trend of using E-bike is connected to some interesting points.
People choose to use E-bike because:
· E-bike allows them to stay fit
· Prefer an e-bike instead to use the car helps to protect the environment
· Using an E-bike is cheaper than using the car
· By bike, you don't have to face the traffic
· E-bike makes simpler the commuting
Constant use of the E-bike has similar effects on human health than a muscular bike:
Electric bicycles as a new active transportation modality to promote health (Medical Science Sport, 2017), while the positive impact on the cognitive functions is the same “The effect of cycling on cognitive function and well-being in older adults” (PlosOne, 2019)
So it looks that the E-bike is a solid market, supported by strong reason that leads people into using it, while studies and researches encourage its use for different reasons. All of this lead to an increase in selling numbers of E-bikes. It looks that, as well as for other issues, Covid 19 worked as big disruptor accelerating processes that were already on the go.
The electric bikes sold globally between 2020 and 2023 will be more than 130 million, which means six times more than the number of electric cars sold over the next decade; this is the prediction of Deloitte a leading global provider of studies and analysis of trends and innovations.
More than 40% of the bicycles sold in the Netherlands on 2019 were electric and in Germany, a third of the 4.3 million new bicycles sold had a battery, according to the country's industry association.
The e-bike opens up the world of bicycle touring to a lot more people than in the past and the variety of assistance of the electric system allows to dose the extra push individually.
With the e-bike becoming more and more popular, the number of bike trips with E-Bike is going to increase. In our experience, we have seen in these last five years an increase of 12% request of e-bike rental per year, we aspect that the trend will continue on this direction and even more.
PHYSICAL FITNESS IS NOT A PROBLEM ANY LONGER
The e-bike can change the audience of the customers that approach a bike trip. More in general it makes the audience larger making more opportunities.
Youngsters can go riding with their grandma, families. Couples and friends can go bicycle touring together and everybody can keep up.
A MORE FRIENDLY EXPERIENCE
The spread of e-bikes and the growth in the number of travelers on e-bikes is pushing hotels, consortia of municipalities, and restaurateurs to place charging stations. It, therefore, becomes increasingly easier to recharge the batteries during the night in the hotel or during the time of a snack along the way, or a visit to a museum.
E-BIKE TRAVELER, WHO ARE YOU?
First of all, pedaling an E-bike is a bike experience 100% with the addition that the user decides how much he/she likes to push on the pedals.
Potentially the e-bike traveler is anyone who likes to enjoy an active vacation and can afford to book an organized holiday tour.
The E-Bike traveler may like the comfort of the e-bike for several reasons:
· OLDER PEOPLE IN GOOD SHAPE that like biking as a way to explore and need some mechanic support, above all for the uphill.
The different focus of the experience: young and/or fit riders who like to choose the e-bike to enjoy more the travel experience than the biking activity itself.
· NO BIKERS:
People who never would thought of a bike trip, people that are no bikers at all. E-bike let them however to experiment with a different way to travel that didn't consider without the E-bike.
Group of friends or partners in different shape each other who – thanks to the e-bike – can ride together
About this last point, we have seen in Bike Italy in these last years, how changed the requests from operators. Thanks to the e-bike are less necessary to design an alternative activity for those guests who are not real cyclists.
· DIFFERENT FOCUS:
E-bikes offer the opportunity to experience a cycling holiday in a different way to well-trained bikers. Focus is more on the experience as a whole rather than on the performance, with the possibility however to select a higher or lower level of assistance by the electric engine.
· FAMILY TOURS: where grandparents can join the trip thanks to the e-bike. This is one of the most beautiful pluses that E-bike is giving to the bike tour industry! Allow more than two generations in the same family, to have a bike tour experience together. What a memory for the kids!
WHY A BIKE TOUR OPERATOR SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO THIS?
· Indicators clearly show how the sales of e-bikes are increasing
· More people experiment with the e-bike, more people like to use it for more complex experiences as bike trips are
· E-bike opens the market to no riders, people that before of it didn't consider the bike trip as a way to travel
· E-bike can inspire people in good shape to experiment themselves on longer and more difficult bike trips
TECHNOLOGY IS READY, WE ARE READY!
Are you a tour operator? Bike shop? Travel agent?