Easy Urban Tips: How to Ride an Electric Bike in the City
2017 was the year when people started appreciating electric bikes. That’s when the sales of e-bikes skyrocketed, and it looks like the trend is here to stay. After all – why wouldn’t it?
If anything, with a lot of people being uncomfortable with using public transit, a quick and sweat-free way of getting to work that’s also free and a way to make up for not going to the gym sounds like a dream come true.
Having a car in urban areas was always a challenge – the costs of parking, the time spent parking, the nerves destroyed over parking – you get the picture. Not to mention that when you take traffic into consideration, an urban car commute can seem like a joke timewise.
A lot of cities around the world are becoming more bike-friendly and each year – from new bike lanes to bike friendly public transit. And yes, a regular bike can be a great option, but if you’re looking for something more versatile or you want to ride to work without sweating too much, an electric bike is a way to go.
Choosing an electric bike
In order to fully benefit from having an electric bike, you need to choose wisely. Are you going to be using your bike outside of your commute? A lot of people use the same bike for their commute as they do when they participate in triathlons! Others swear by their mountain bike suspension when tackling the city streets. And still others like the sleek and timeless feel of their city bikes, or the slacker-chic appeal of their cruisers.
There are also folding eBikes that are absolutely perfect for those of us who live in smaller apartments or need to store their bike without taking up too much room – folding bikes or e-bikes are often kept in the trunk of a car for quick excursions, or can easily fit under your office desk or in your apartment closet. These are great little commuting machines.
As you can see, the choices of styles are endless!
Remember about the battery
It’s essential to keep your battery fully charged, and it can be difficult to remember, especially at the beginning, always to charge your bike after you’ve come back home. People often charge their bikes at the office or a coffee shop as they grab a quick lunch or have a meeting over coffee and a scone. E-bike batteries can take up as little as 2 hours to fully charge, depending on the battery.
Over time, the charging routine becomes natural and works itself into your schedule, but it’s easy to forget for newbies! A lot of people prefer to get an extra battery – and simply charge one as they use the other one. This way, they always have a backup, and can even take two batteries with them when they go on longer excursions.
Pedal harder when your battery is low
Even if you have established a new routine, it may still happen that you forget to charge your bike, or you won’t have a possibility to do it. In that case, when you’re low in electric power, but you need to take your bike for a ride, you can pedal harder, which will take some pressure off of your battery. Also, make sure to pedal more whenever you accelerate from a stop, as it’s the time when the most pressure is put on the battery. And don’t worry – you can still pedal when you run out of battery juice. This simply means that your bike is going 100% human power.
Take it slow
If you’re not in a big hurry, you may consider riding slow and enjoying the ride. It’s not only a safer way to be on the road, but it also doesn’t drain your battery. It’s especially important if there’s the wind blowing in your face and you’re fighting resistance.
Keep the pressure up in your tires
If the pressure in your tires is low, it will not only make the pedalling much more difficult, but it will drain your battery quicker, as your bike won’t run as smoothly as usual.
Have an appropriate lock
Unfortunately, theft is not unusual when it comes to electric bikes, so make sure yours is 100% safe at all times. There are light cable combinations locks that may be enough if you leave your bike outside the store for a short time, but if you leave it somewhere parked for longer, or you have reasons to believe that the risk is higher, you may consider buying a heavy-duty, keyed U-lock. A cable lock takes seconds to dismantle. In fact, some people claim that bike thieves become invisible when they are cutting cable locks, because no one ever seems to know how it happened! Some e-bikes have GPS tracking.
Make sure you’re visible on the road at all times. Wear bright accents to your clothes or on your helmet (always wear a helmet), have functioning lights both in front and at the back of your bike to use them always when the visibility is limited. Ride with traffic and only in the places where it’s allowed to ride a bike. Stick to the rules, and show respect to other bikers, drivers and pedestrians.
What if your commute is really long?
If you already know that your e-bike battery is not enough for you to get to work and back, and maybe run some errands on the way, you may consider buying another charger to be able to charge your bike while you’re at work. If that’s not possible, some e-bike manufacturers offer a possibility to add a second battery to a bike.You can also recharge at work!
Many people fear that they will become too lazy with an electric bike, but that’s because they think that riding it requires no effort from your part at all. It’s not true; an electric bike gives you some support, but you still need to pedal.
Yes, you will sweat less, that’s why it’s a perfect choice if you want to ride to work, plus, it may be of great help if you live in a city that’s not entirely flat. You will be able to ride hills and carry more things with you, as they won’t be as big of a burden as on a regular bike. But if you want to sweat a little bit, it also won’t be an issue, as you can do it and simply put some pressure off of your battery. Plus, you will save some time, as electric bikes can go faster than the regular.