Only ride in safe Weather Conditions
Most importantly, only use your ebike if you’re absolutely sure you can ride it under the prevailing conditions. Your safety is paramount and, even if you’ve taken all the precautions which follow here, there’re some days where you might want to consider commuting using an alternate method or giving your weekly ride a miss.
Braking Is Different
The heavier an object and the faster it travels the longer -or more friction- it takes to stop, these are the laws of physics. Ebikes tend to be heavier than regular bikes and they travel faster so, naturally, they take longer to stop. Meaning that you need to brake sooner especially in slippery conditions.
When there is water on the road this reduces friction even further, thus increasing your stopping distance, meaning that you need to brake even sooner in the rain or whenever there is water on the road.
Keep an Eye on the Temperature
Ebikes can be operated below freezing, and even down to 0º degrees, but this is not ideal. Electronics are sensitive and even though they can operate down to this temperature it doesn’t mean they should.
Below 32º electronics don’t operate at their optimum level and once you drop to 32º and lower, batteries begin to lose their charge even quicker, resulting in a drop-in mileage. If an ebike gets too cold you can kill the battery cells and then you’re without your battery until you get home and may even need to order a replacement.
A good rule is: If it’s too cold for you then it’s more than likely too cold for your battery too!
As mentioned in our previous post, make sure that you have many thin layers which you can shed and put on as needed; as opposed to a few thick, bulky layers. In the winter this is much more important and it is also a good idea to have a warm base layer in the mix. A rain jacket is always necessary and your top layer should always be a bright color so you’re highly visible, this is even more important in the winter when conditions are often a little on the worse side.
Improve Visibility with Headlights
The winter days are much shorter and you don’t want to get caught out in the dark. Proper planning can prevent this but for safety purposes make sure that you have front and rear lights on your ebike; not only so that you can see where you’re going but so that others can see you too.
Stay Seen with Reflectors
Reflectors are there to reflect the lights of other vehicles to let them know you’re there. They won’t replace lights but they’re an excellent tool for bringing your presence to the attention of others. The ones which fit between the spokes of your wheels are especially when crossing side roads.
Reflectors don’t just have to be on your bike. You can buy fluorescent and reflective clothing -all the way from socks to hats!- and reflective stickers too. All of this ensures your safety by making sure that you are highly visible to everyone around you.
Wear a Helmet, Obviously
It goes without saying that you should always ride with a helmet; especially once the conditions start to get worse and the light begins to fade quicker.
Knee & Elbow Pads
Some riders wear pads year-round, others opt for them during wintertime and in the presence of tricky conditions. Water can make roads and trails slick and slippery, and ice can be a big danger during winter. As many drivers know, black ice is one of the greatest dangers found on the road. Protect your joints with a set of knee and elbow pads. They’re comfortable and stylish!
Check Your Tires
In adverse conditions, your ebike needs to be the best it can be. Your tires are your contact with the ground so it is important that they’re in top condition. The tread on your ebike tires will wear, just like those on your car. Check your tires periodically throughout the year and especially during the winter.
Protect you & your bike with Fenders
Fenders are a good idea to have on your ebike in general but if you don’t have them you’re going to want them for wintertime riding. Fenders will protect you, your clothes, your bike, and your battery from dirt and debris kicked up by your tries. Not only do they provide this protection but not having this material flying up toward you makes for a much more comfortable ride.
Keep your ebike clean
It is an excellent practice to clean your ebike after every use. This becomes even more significant on rainy days where your bike is more likely to have gotten wet and dirty. Simply wiping your ebike down after each trip can prolong its life and ensure that it stays free from rust. When doing this make sure to dry wipe the contacts where the battery connects to the bike, ensuring this integral part of your ebike stays in optimal condition.