At a time of change like the current one, it seems that there is a window of opportunity for the electric bike to be much more popular and to end up consolidating itself as a common means of transport in many of our trips. The electric bicycle gives us the balance to combine exercise and become our vehicle because, the great inconvenience in these cases, is arriving sweating and this is the great advantage of the electric impulse, minimizing the efforts.
But it is not the only area where they are becoming more popular. In a world where electric vehicles are gaining ground, these bicycles are conquering space as cargo vehicles but, above all, in sports fields. It is clear that they have come to stay.
Electric bicycles, a growing sector
The figures in the sector speak of the good reception of e-bikes, which in the next five years is expected to triple their sales. In Spain, the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE) has already pointed to the electric bike as a lifesaver for the sector. The electric bicycle democratizes the practice of sports cycling. It is no longer necessary to be in optimal shape to go up a mountain with our group of friends or do a long route that we would not do otherwise.
The best-selling electric bike categories are mountain and trekking bikes above urban ones, wherein in France in 2018 65,000 and 63,000 units were sold respectively. Electric bicycles already account for 13% of total sales in that country.
The legislation of the electric bike
The e-bike will be affected by the same rules as the rest of traditional bikes. That is, in the city the use of a helmet is not mandatory, not on interurban roads and roads. They will not be able to circulate on the sidewalks, unless they are specially indicated for it, and they must circulate on the road like other vehicles. In this sense, if the DGT finally ends up pacifying traffic by promoting the speed limitation to 30 km / h on one-way streets, the bicycle as a means of urban transport could have a new impulse.
You also don’t need a license to drive, as would be the case with a moped. But it is essential to know the highway code, road signs and, of course, respect them like other vehicles. The bicycle must have a white front light and a red rear light whenever it is traveling in low light conditions or at night. In recent years, the DGT has issued an instruction to allow the rear light to blink so that the bicycles are better identified.
Insurance is not required. In this sense, the European Parliament voted in 2019 in favor of excluding electric bicycles from this obligation, provided that their motor does not exceed 25 km speed in assistance or a power greater than 250 W. From this speed, the motor power should be disconnected.
Nor do they have to pay road tax on mechanical traction vehicles, since they are not homologated to them. Of course, in the event of an accident if we do not have said insurance we will have to take care of the damage caused to a vehicle or a pedestrian, as the case may be, by our own means.
So far the regulations are more or less common to any bicycle. In the case of electrics, the specific one that affects its electric motor and the limitations imposed by pedaling assistance must be added. In this case:
bicycles with assisted pedaling, equipped with an auxiliary electric motor, with a maximum continuous nominal power of 0.25 kilowatts, whose power gradually decreases and is finally interrupted when the vehicle speed reaches 25 km / h, or earlier if the cyclist stops pedaling.
The bicycles must be approved by the Ministry of Industry, in accordance with standard UNE-EN 15194: 2009. In the case of having an accelerator similar to that of a motorcycle, which allows starting the march without pedaling, they will be considered mopeds. The same happens if your motor exceeds 250W or pedaling assistance does not stop when reaching 25 km / h. In this case, it is necessary to register the vehicle and a license is required to drive it, in addition to having insurance.
Types of electric bicycle batteries and autonomy
As in any electric vehicle, batteries play a very important role when choosing them. To begin with, we would have to see if we are looking for a bicycle with removable batteries or that is integrated into the frame. The main advantage of the former is that we can take them with us if we park the bike on the street and recharge them at work or at home; a more comfortable way than having to take the bike to our home. In this way, autonomy is not so important and we can bet on lighter bicycles as they have less battery capacity.
If we prefer that they be integrated into the frame, aesthetically they will be more concealed. It would be the option most similar to a conventional bicycle, regardless of the type chosen, be it a folding, urban, or mountain. We will practically not notice the difference, beyond a greater weight and the assistance selector that we want to apply.
When choosing, it is essential to look at the recharging cycles that the battery allows and how easy it is to replace it in the future. Especially if we plan to do many kilometers with this vehicle – as would be the case when commuting to work – the more recharge cycles, the better the endurance.
If we run out of battery we can always pedal without assistance. It is not a determining factor, but if the bicycle is very heavy it will be difficult for us to move it
Finally, autonomy will be linked to its energy storage capacity. The most efficient batteries are usually lithium-ion batteries, while the cheapest (and also heaviest) are usually lead, currently in disuse. The greater the storage capacity, the more kilometers they will allow us to travel with a similar level of pedaling assistance.
The autonomy that we achieve will also depend on the weight of the cyclist and the terrain to be covered. Someone who weighs 90 kilos and has to climb hills will not achieve the same performance as a cyclist who weighs 75 and performs a flat course. The same can be said about the bike. The normal thing is that they allow routes between 50 and 60 kilometers with pedaling assistance without problems.
It will also vary with the level of assistance chosen since the electric bike allows you to regulate how much you want the electric motor to push. Finally, you have to take into account the pressure of the wheels. High pressure makes the wheel slide better and has less friction but, on the contrary, we suffer more bumps and it is more uncomfortable if you do not have damping.
Where is the motor located?
When choosing a model it is interesting to consider where the engine is located. There are usually two trends, in the axle or in the wheel. It is a question of efficiency and sensations. With the motor on the axle, the usual pedaling of a bicycle feels more. It is the most suitable when we talk about doing sports with the bike, for MTB or even on the road. In addition, by having a torque movement sensor, on the axis itself when pushing the pedal, the electric motor starts working and the bike literally goes off, although it depends on the manufacturer and how it regulates the power delivery.
The feeling for first-time e-bike riders is as if they are always pedaling downhill.
In the case of the wheel motor, a motion sensor is included, so it takes a half or three-quarters of a turn for it to come into play. For more urban use, they usually go on the rear wheel, although it depends on the model, since some place it in the front to achieve double traction, the front wheel by the engine and the rear by the pedal.
Which electric bike model to choose
And now that we are clear about some concepts of electric bicycles, it is time to choose a model. And the decision factors will not be very different from what we must take into account on any other bike. It is interesting to ask yourself some questions:
- ¿ What use can we give regularly? Urban, mountain, road or mixed, cargo …
- ¿ Where are we going to save? Do we need it to be foldable?
- ¿ Where do we charge the batteries? If it is not removable, we will have to take the bike home or store it in a storage room where we can recharge the batteries.
- What range of bikes can I afford? As in everything we have the low, medium, or high ranges that are logically reflected in the price.
9 KEY WAYS TO FEEL CALMER
You may be exercising hard and watching your food intake, but if you don’t combat stress you may find it very hard to lose weight as stress can caused you to hang onto unwanted body fat. Here’s how you can get rid of stress.
Trying to lose weight and struggling? Stress can make you gain weight, firstly because you’ll be more tempted to overeat and snack on unhealthy treats. Secondly because when you are in a stressful situation, your brain will tell your cells to release a burst of adrenaline to help you cope with the stress, so that you can fight or run from the ‘danger’ it perceives you to be facing.
You also get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish energy, and this can make you very hungry. Your body will continue to release cortisol while you remain stressed, so prolonged periods of stress can have a significant effect on your waistline.
Thirdly, being stressed or overly concerned about something can interfere with your sleep, and this can change the hormone balance in the body, which in turn can increase hunger. Leptin is a hormone that signals when we are full, and when we don’t get enough sleep, the release of leptin slows down.
Sleep deprivation also causes our body to release ghrelin, a hormone that signals hunger. So lack of sleep through being stressed or being unable to switch off your mind can mean you’ll overeat and your body will naturally want to store more body fat.
So how can you get your stress levels under control so that you can lose weight and get fit? Yoga or meditation will help, but there are other things you can do that will also make a difference. Reducing sugar and caffeine intake can help, as these can affect your mood and will do little to bring your stress levels down.
Switch off your brain before bedtime
Try to switch your brain off at night. Read a good book (avoiding anything too extreme like a horror story) so that you have a chance to distract yourself from the day’s events before you go to sleep.
Clear the bedroom clutter
Make sure your bedroom is tidy and free from clutter. Leave technology out of the bedroom. Switch your phone off and put tablets and laptops away. Pick up any stray items of clothing on the floor, or towels that you meant to put away earlier. Make sure your bedroom offers the calmest possible environment and is a sanctuary where you can truly relax.
Shut your blinds
Try to make your room caveman dark, so that you can sleep well. Switch off anything that brings light into the room, like mobile phones or portable phones that charge overnight. Draw the curtains or shut the blinds as tightly as possible.
Just say no
If your stress is caused by others expecting too much from you, either at home or at work, set some boundaries. Don’t be the first to volunteer to take on new tasks or projects at work, especially if you’ve already got a lot on your plate.
If someone asks you to do something and you genuinely think it will add more stress and pressure, say no. Be polite. Just be honest. We’re so conditioned to doing what others want, but in the end, it can make us stressed and miserable.
Get plenty of fresh air. The mental health charity Mind recommends outdoor exercise as a great way of improving your mood and being outside is a natural mood booster. If you have a stressful job, always take some time at lunch to go out for a walk and get some fresh air, even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes.
It sounds so simple, but it works. All you need do is inhale through your nose, and gentle exhale through your mouth. Make sure you are sitting up straight as you do this. Deep breathing in this way can reduce the effects of stress by slowing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure.
Keep a stress diary
Get some perspective by making a note of anything that happens which stresses you out during the day and then maybe, over the course of a week or two, you can give some thought to how you can eliminate or control those stressors. It might mean being more assertive and learning to say no, or avoiding certain situations that add stress.
Watch cheerful TV, sleep well
Avoid horror films or graphic scenes of violence before bedtime, as this can increase your heart rate and your stress levels. If you like to watch TV before bed, watching a comedy show will be a much better choice.
Unload on someone you trust
Find a good friend or trusted confidante to whom you can unload and get your stress out from time to time. Now and again you may need to do the same for them!
Make a to-do list
If you’re stressed because you’ve got so much going on and so many things to do, make a to-do list for the next day before you go bed, so that you’re less likely to lie awake worrying about all the things you’ve got to do. Prioritise the tasks on that list the next day and make sure you only do the important tasks first.
Closing your mailbox and web browser for an hour or two while you the most important tasks will help you get them done more easily.
5 BEST TRAIL RUNNING SHOES FOR WOMEN 2021
Are you regularly heading off the tarmac and onto trickier terrains for your runs? You’ll need the correct footwear for the job. Emma Lewis tests and reviews the best trail running shoes for women, to help you get off on the right foot…
Great views, loads more greenery, peace and quiet away from polluted streets… there are many reasons people choose to leave the pavements behind and run into the hills, or simply along a local footpath. In fact, if you run almost anywhere that’s not on the road or athletics track, you could call yourself a trail runner. But have you thought about your shoes?
For the best experience, lower injury risk, and increased performance, you should consider swapping your regular road runners for their sturdier cousins – trail shoes. No, it’s not just a ploy to get you to add to your running shoe collection; this footwear is designed to deal with everything from divots, loose stones, and steep, rocky paths to slippery, muddy, and uneven tracks. Read on to discover the best trail running shoes for women on the market…
What makes trail shoes different?
There’s more to these shoes than first meets the eye. Grip, protection, fit, and stability are the four main elements that make up a trail running shoe, according to Milly Voice, trail runner, and Salomon ambassador. ‘Trail running shoes have deep lugs [grips] to give you more traction on loose terrain or mud,’ she says. Then there’s often a special layer underfoot (aka a rock plate) made from plastic or carbon fiber, to lessen the impact of sharp rocks, and a reinforced toe area, too.
‘It’s also really important you have a nice, snug fit over your foot,’ says Voice. ‘This helps to keep you nimble on the trail, maintain articulation and get that excellent ground feel.’ Allow about a 1cm gap between your toes and the end of the shoe to help you avoid blisters and black toenails, and try on shoes in the afternoon as your feet swell during the day, which helps mimic what they’ll do on a run. As for stability? ‘Don’t be put off if trail running shoes feel a little weightier than road running shoes,’ adds Voice. ‘This is due to reinforced heels that keep them stable on the ground and reduce the risk of you rolling over on your ankle.’
What’s the best heel drop for trail running shoes?
Heel drop is the difference in height between the back and front of the shoe and is to do with how your foot strikes the ground. Many regular runners strike the ground with their heel first, so they should have a bigger heel drop (more than 6mm). More experienced runners, or those who land further forward on their foot, may prefer a smaller drop.
Choosing the right trail shoes to suit your runs
- Mainly hard-packed trails? Go for a more flexible, lighter-weight shoe with shorter, more closely spaced lugs (2-4mm).
- Lots of rocky surfaces? A stiffer outsole with more stability, plus rock plates underfoot, toe guards, and rugged uppers are a must. Look for ‘sticky’ rubber outsoles to aid grip.
- Puddles and streams? Choose lighter-weight, well-ventilated shoes over waterproofing to allow the water to drain out and help keep your feet cool.
- Very uneven terrain? A well-supported instep and upper will help keep you stable and balanced.
- Mainly muddy trails? You’ll need deep (5-7mm), widely spaced lugs to stop mud from getting trapped in the treads.
- Running long distances? Look for good stability and plenty of cushioning.
- A mix of tarmac and off-road? Hybrid shoes are softer and more flexible than trail shoes but have better grips than road shoes.
5 best trail running shoes for women
A slightly softer shoe that would work well for trail running newbies, the Sense Ride 4s are thicker than many others underfoot (a heel-stack height of 32mm and forefoot of 24mm), and have a generous 8mm heel drop. They weigh 250g and feature updated Optivibe cushioning to dampen vibration and propel you forwards.
The Endo Fit layer over your foot provides a secure fit, then there’s a tough mesh SensiFit outer. The Profeel film underneath helps protect your feet from sharp objects, while rubber Contragrip outsoles with 4mm lugs deal well with all kinds of surfaces. These are super comfy but a little less supportive than some, and the Quicklaces are a bit tricky to tuck away.
Experienced all-rounders who want a powerful shoe that can cope with everything from rocks to mud should try this one. Born 10 years ago, it has had several tweaks along the way and this version sports a new rock plate for underfoot protection, plus it’s more breathable. The PWRRUN cushioning is quite firm and responsive, while the flexible and durable FORM FIT upper cradles your foot comfortably. The shoes have a minimal 4mm drop but thick soles (27mm at the back and 23mm at the front) and they weigh 270g.
If the grip is a priority, the slightly tacky 5mm PWRTRAC rubber lugs are great for grassy, muddy terrain. These have a supportive feel but are a tad chunkier and heavier than some. I’d pick these to help me keep my form on long, challenging runs.
With these hybrids’ 8mm drop, they’re good for most regular runners. The 4mm lug depth is as deep as many trail shoes, but the lugs are smaller, softer, and more closely packed. This makes on-road running or running on hard-packed summer trails, comfortable, too.
There’s a new BOOMERANG footbed, with long-lasting foam that harnesses your energy and gives it back. Plus, there’s a Powerflow+ midsole to boost this some more. They’re light, at 220g, and you get a really good feel for the ground as you’re quite close to it (it drops from a 20mm heel to a 12mm forefoot). There’s not much arch support, but a really roomy toe box, helping give these a more minimalist, natural feel.
Best trail running shoes for long distances: The North Face Women’s Flight Series VECTOR Shoes (£180)
Wow! You can really feel the curved ‘rocker sole that’s part of the VECTOR, which also includes a high-tech, carbon-fiber plate that sits underfoot to give better energy return, protect your foot from sharp objects, and offer lateral support. Designed for long distances, these 255g shoes feel firm but very well cushioned. The seamless, sock-like upper is super comfy and helps seal out debris.
It incorporates a Kevlar and polyamide Matryx panel to boost lateral support. The 3.5mm lugs handle varied summer terrain comfortably. A 6mm heel drop (25mm to 19mm) should work for most people. As these sit quite high off the ground under the rocker, I felt a little wobbly laterally in them at first.
These brand new shoes are built for speed! At just 200g (lighter than Hoka’s Torrent 2s and Speedgoat 4s), these keep your feet close to the ground (21mm heel to a 17mm forefoot) for excellent control and have just a 4mm drop. All this confirms that these are best for more experienced runners with confidence in their foot placement and less call for lots of cushioning.
The lightweight mesh upper is made from recycled yarn and the gusseted tongue will help keep dirt and debris out. Database Vibram Megagrip (thinner and lighter but just as grippy as usual) and the deep, 4mm lugs on the soles will help keep you upright.
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