EBikes in New Zealand a Catalyst For More Inclusive Bike Retail

EBikes in New Zealand

A recent study of EBikes in New Zealand brought up the fact that the pedal assistance has acted as a stimulus to empower women to cycle, this could be the start for bike retail environments becoming more inclusive.

Electric Bikes in increasing women’s access to cycling and physical activity study has recently been published showing through interviews that interest in ebikes was bringing in demographics that have at one time been shown to be wary of bike shops, often being seen as just for males.

Some of the reasoning for the shift is an ungendering of bike technology, where e-Bikes in particular are challenging the bike industry’s terminology, moving away from pointing customers to men or women’s particular bikes.

The retailers felt that the effect went beyond retail, empowering more ladies first to come in store and then to access more bike technology.

Electric bikes were keeping women engaged in cycling was multi-faceted and was attributed by a retailer to the quality of bikes usually pitched at women, versus that typical of an electric bike. A below standard bike, commented the interviewee, leaves women thinking “I don’t think I enjoy biking, but their cycling experience is based upon a bike that is really, really bad.” Ebikes in stores mostly show a higher level of build, assistance and so enjoyment, it was said.

Showing the difference that technology can make, but also flagging a lingering sexism the author writes: “Women’s entry-level bike technology is low and very evident when visiting bike stores. When buying a new cycle recently one of the authors discussed the issue with the store, after not being able to find an entry level ladies step through bike with more than three gears. In Auckland which is a hilly sprawling city three gears is inadequate except for the fittest. The customer raised this with the retailer, saying “what happens when women need to ride up a hill?”. He replied, “they use them twice, then put them in the garage forever.”

EBikes in New Zealand

The surveyed lady e-bikers commented that pedal assistance had improved their confidence, saying they did not think they would hold up groups of fellow riders or cycling partners. Many women were encouraged in being able to accelerate out of danger in traffic. All of this gave them a feeling of being more equal road users and of putting a bike to utility and family riding. Other studies have found that electric bike owners tend to put them to use instead of car usage.

Read about the law and ebikes in New Zealand:  https://electricbikesnz.com/2016/08/17/what-are-the-e-bike-laws-in-nz/