Riding an electric bike with ME/CFS

Recently I rented an electric bicycle and rode it for three hours and twenty-seven miles. That was too much for me, but I’m excited about the bike for shorter rides. I thought I’d share my experience in case others with relatively moderate ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis, aka chronic fatigue syndrome) are considering buying one.

The basics are in another post. Here I’d like to highlight considerations that healthy people won’t have:

  • Supporting myself on the bike wasn’t so taxing – no more, and possibly less, than sitting upright in a chair. This is borne out both by my heartrate readings and by my lack of immediate exhaustion.
  • Most electric bikes are heavy (~50 lbs. or more), so moving them – for example, while parking – requires a lot of strength.
  • Pedaling a light-weight road bike in a low gear might require the same amount of strength as I used while riding the electric bike in a higher gear. But I would have to pedal the road bike more (not harder) to go the same distance, tiring me more quickly.
  • It would be great to have an electric bike with a throttle, to avoid pedaling altogether when necessary.
  • The advantage of an electric bicycle with a throttle over an electric scooter is that you can ride electric bikes in bike lanes (generally), bicycles cost less, and you can get some low-level, adjustable exercise, if you’re up to it.

One response to “Riding an electric bike with ME/CFS

  1. Reblogged this on Tracy Duvall.


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