A guide to using an electric bike in the rain, wind and darkness.
If people have invested in an e-bike for commuting, or are considering doing so, be sure to use it year-round. Riders can use e-bikes to travel in winter and warm summer months. Here are top tips for riding an electric bike all year round.
1. Fit mudguards
Fenders don’t just protect riders from road spray. Their purpose is to protect the bike. Curbs and electronics don’t make the best buddies, so it’s important to take that into consideration when riding an e-bike.
2. Wear waterproofs
An entire industry is built around finding the perfect balance between waterproofing and breathability for cyclists. The good news is that if people commute on an e-bike, waterproofing will trump breathability, as such a bike will prevent the rider from getting covered in water.
3. If the e-bike is completely soaked at the end of the ride, remove the battery upon arrival
This is usually not required, but if water gets into the contacts of the battery it could short the battery. If the e-bike gets wet, removing the battery allows the contacts to dry properly.
4. Get lights (and use them)
Electric bikes may already have integrated lights. This is the best option because the rider doesn’t have to worry about charging. Electric bikes may still support them even if the rider doesn’t charge them, so it’s worth checking before investing in a rechargeable bike.
5. Be extra cautious during cold weather
People might check the weather forecast anyway, but it’s not just rolling their eyes and wearing an extra layer. Riders make sure to keep their hands warm when dressing in cold weather to operate the controls.
Also keep in mind that an e-bike’s battery won’t last long in cold weather. This is inevitable. Batteries charged below 5 degrees can also be damaged, so this should be avoided. It would be even better if the bike could be stored somewhere warmer than that.
6. Plan for punctures
Flat tires are hard to avoid on any bike, but hub motor e-bikes add another layer of complexity. The rider should know how to disconnect the motor and carry any extra tools that may be needed. Tire pressure and tread on e-bikes need to be checked regularly to reduce the likelihood of suffering in the first place. Maybe should invest in stronger tires.
7. Make time for maintenance
Lubricate the chain, check the brakes, and keep an eye on the motor system. It’s definitely better to catch any looming problems at home rather than on the way to work, because there isn’t much to keep track of. Keeping home clean is also important.
8. Lock the bike
People should do everything they can to prevent bike theft, even if it’s not a seasonal thing. While frame locks are great for a minute into the store, if people are going to be away from the bike for a long time, consider something more durable. The great thing about an e-bike is that the rider can easily carry a larger lock.