The Quiet Revolution: e-bikes and a new era in cycling

July 1, 2024

woman riding full-throttle e-bike with blurred background

Long gone are the days when e-bikes were scoffed at as a cheat. Today, these electrically assisted marvels are transforming the cycling landscape, shattering preconceptions, and broadening horizons for many who had long considered cycling too strenuous.

If you haven't yet tried an e-bike, have a go. Just a few turns of the pedals reveals the potential of these machines to democratise and revolutionise cycling.


Millions of e-bikes...and counting

For a glimpse of this transformation, look no further than the Netherlands, the heartland of cycling.

The Dutch now boast a staggering five million e-bikes, a fleet valued at nearly €10 billion. This diverse collection encompasses electric city bikes (75%), hybrids (17%), speed pedelecs (capable of hitting 30mph - 2%), e-cargo bikes (2%), mountain bikes (2%), folders (1%), and trikes (1%).

According to a survey by Multiscope, one-third of the Dutch population owns an e-bike, with the majority of these riders being over fifty.

This trend isn’t confined to the bike-friendly Netherlands; it's gaining traction worldwide. In the US, for example, the Light Electric Vehicle Association reports e-bike imports surged to nearly 800,000 in 2021, a significant leap from 450,000 the previous year. It’s a trend that’s seen e-bike sales outstrip those of traditional bicycles for the past three years.

Bike ownership across the ages

It’s clear why e-bikes are particularly appealing to an older demographic. Retailers like E-bikes Direct report that 40% of their customers are over 50. E-bikes can boost cardiovascular health, stimulate the mind, and provide an enjoyable sociable activity - all with the reassuring option of electric assist to ease the ride home. And for those with impaired balance, electric tricycles offer a safe and comfortable alternative.

e-bike theft


This shift toward e-bikes among older riders could have broader implications. As a demographic that tends to be politically engaged, their increasing preference for e-bikes might drive demand for better cycling infrastructure, potentially accelerating the adoption of pro-cycling policies across the board.

In the UK, bike ownership is highest among children aged 5-10, with 88% having access to a bicycle, according to Statista.

This figure declines to around a third by the late twenties but peaks again in the forties, when 58% have access to a bike, before tapering off to about a quarter in retirement years.

Insuring your e-bike

ETA cycle insurance covers all road-legal e-bikes. The fully comprehensive policy includes:

Theft, accidental damage, and vandalism
Battery theft cover
Cycle Rescue (24/7 breakdown cover for your e-bike and you - includes punctures and flat bettery)
No devaluation of your bike over time
£2 million third-party cover and £20,000 personal accident cover
Shed and garage storage
A low standard excess of 5% (£50 minimum)

e-bike competition

The ethical choice

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK's most ethical provider.



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