Riding and commuting by e-bike is awesome.
You can go further, faster, carry more and sweat less. You’re still out getting exercise, but you’re getting a little help in return for the effort you’re putting in.
At Trek, we know that the key to making your experience as fun and rewarding as possible is knowing how to ride and commute safely on your new e-bike. As a brand partner of Cyclescheme, we wanted to share our top tips for your safety, and a few more ideas for how to keep your e-bike out of harm’s way.
5 tips for safely riding an e-bike
1. Start slow
It might seem like a great idea to crank your e-bike up to the fastest setting straight away, but we recommend taking a more relaxed approach for your first few rides. Try riding around a large open space or an empty car park while you familiarise yourself with your new e-bike. Stay on the low power setting until you’re used to the handling.
2. Brake sooner
E-bikes have more power, generate more speed and are typically built with a heavier frame. This means that you’ll need to start slowing down sooner on your e-bike than you would on a normal bike, as your stopping distance will be greater than usual.
3. Brake lightly and evenly
Most e-bikes come with disc brakes, which means better braking in all conditions. When you’re getting used to your new bike and brakes, be sure to always brake gradually with a light, even pull of both brake levers. Never use the front brake lever on its own!
4. Ride with extra care
E-bikes are still relatively new to the accessible market, so when people see you, they might not expect you to be riding as fast as your e-bike allows. After all, e-bikes look just like regular bikes. This means there is some added risk to your ride, so be extra careful and pay greater attention to your surroundings when you’re out and about.
5. Follow the rules of the road
Your e-bike will bring you a new level of freedom and fun – but you’re still responsible for knowing and following all the rules of the roads, paths and trails in your area. No matter when and where you ride, people in cars (and other cyclists and pedestrians) aren’t always looking for people on bikes.
There are several proven ways you can help yourself be seen and noticed:
Always have your lights on, day and night
Wear hi-vis clothing
Wear reflective clothing
Get a bell, and use it if needed!
Making the most of your e-bike
So you’ve got to grips with your new e-bike and followed our 5 tips above for your own safety, but how do you prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your lovely new bike? The last thing you want to do is overwork the battery and cost yourself a repair or replacement job.
No doubt you’ll want to get as far as possible on your bike between each charge. The amount of range your electric bike has depends on your battery, motor and level of assist. Factors like wind, weather, temperature and terrain make a huge difference too, as will the other pressures you might put your e-bike under!
Here are a few things you can do to optimise your ride, that will maximise your range, and care for your battery:
1. Find a comfortable cadence
The slower your feet are rotating, the harder your motor is working. Shift around to find an efficient balance that doesn’t overwork you or the motor.
2. Lighten your load
One of the best benefits of e-bikes is that they let you carry more. The downside is that the more you carry, the harder the motor works. It’s good to be mindful of how much you’re hauling.
3. Use a lower level of assist
The higher your power mode, the lower your range. Try toggling between assist levels by using a higher level when heading up a hill and switching into a lower one when on a flat stretch.
With an e-bike, you’ll also want to make sure your battery is charged before you set out on a journey. Whilst you can still ride the bike without the battery, it’s no fun to get stuck with only your own pedal power if you’re miles from home. Alternatively, take your charger with you if you know you’re going a long way away.
Properly securing your e-bike
While it’s wonderful to be able to park your electric bike almost anywhere you’d park a regular bike, you want to make sure you’re parking it somewhere safe and securing it well. These are the three things we recommend you take into consideration any time you are taking your e-bike out:
1. Use a good quality lock (or two)
Even if your e-bike comes with a lock, consider purchasing a second one to help secure your investment. Be sure to choose a high-quality lock that’s difficult for would-be thieves to cut. Lock your bike to a fixed, permanent object and lock up the wheels and any quick-release parts (your saddle, for example) with a cable lock if you are able.
2. Be aware of where you park
As with any bike, even if it’s properly secured, it can still be a target. It’s best to park your e-bike in a well-lit area where other bikes are also parked. Try to plan your parking ahead of time to avoid stressful situations where you could be unhappy with where you’re leaving your bike.
3. Keep your battery with you
If you can easily remove your battery from the frame, it’s best to take it with you. Better to be safe than sorry!
Finally, if you have an e-bike rack for your car, don’t forget to look into how the rack fixes to your vehicle’s hitch. You don’t want to go through the effort of locking your e-bike to your rack only to have the bike and rack stolen!