One of the pleasures of riding ebikes is that they allow you to get off the beaten path to ride on trails and roads that are not easily accessible with traditional bikes. If you live near a trail that is easily accessible and close to your home, you’re one of the lucky and rare riders who don’t have to drive with your ebike to ride. For many folks, it’s not always easy or convenient to get to those remote places to ride and they need to do a bit of driving to get “off the grid”. Many ebike riders often take their ebikes with them on vacation and weekend getaways, to add a little more adventure to their trips!
We understand that traveling with your ebike could be inconvenient but we’re here to help make it less of a hassle. We hope these tips help you the next time you travel with your ebike.
Install a hitch-mount bike rack
The most secure, easiest, and most versatile method to transport ebikes is behind your vehicle. We highly recommend installing a hitch mounted bike rack because it is considered by most to be the ideal way to carry bikes on a vehicle. They are sturdy, reliable, easy to load, and don't have any risk of damaging your vehicle. However, you will need to have a receiver hitch installed on your vehicle. This could be done at your local Uhaul. The two most common hitch sizes are 1-¼” and 2”. Make sure that the bike rack you purchase is the same hitch size as the hitch receiver installed on your vehicle. If you are unsure, it’s best to have your bike rack professionally installed and inspected.
The other important thing to keep in mind is the weight rating of the bike rack you are purchasing.
All bike racks have a weight limit. If your budget allows, you should try to buy the bike rack with the highest weight limit possible. Ebikes are generally heavier than traditional bikes, so it’s especially important that the bike rack you purchase can handle the weight. In general, the style of rack that sits on your bumper with fabric straps that hook onto the trunk aren’t a good match for heavier ebikes. This type of rack can also mark up your bumper during use.
Got a Step-Through? You’re gonna need one of these...
One of the main aspects that keeps your bike securely attached to your hitch rack is a top tube. If you have a traditional bike model, you’re in luck because most bike racks should be able to mount on this frame without issue. Step-through bikes do not have a top bar, so an adaptor is necessary. A ‘top tube adaptor’ or a ‘bike frame adaptor’ is needed to keep your bike mounted to the rack. This adaptor attaches to your seatpost and your handlebars creating a top tube on your bike. An accessory such as this is not too expensive, costing about $30-$50, a small price to pay for the freedom of traveling anywhere with electric bikes.
Where you’re going, there might not be tools!
We’ve all been there - you’re enjoying a ride when you get a flat. Don’t let this ruin your expedition. Before heading out make sure you’re stocked up on the essentials needed to continue cruising throughout your trip. A bike pump to keep your tires inflated is a must-have when traveling. Additionally the slim stand up design of tire pumps allows you to lay it in your trunk and forget about it until needed. Or hopefully you’ll never have to worry about it. Additionally, the hex key that was given to you when purchasing your bike is a great tool to throw into your glovebox in case you need to adjust any aspect of your bike.
Beyond the bike
Unfortunately accidents happen but what good is having your Aventon ebike with you without the proper equipment to keep you safe? We recommend keeping a first-aid kit handy when traveling with your bike. This will ensure that any minor cuts or scrapes can be treated quickly without ruining your ride time. A water bottle seems like a no brainer but is often overlooked when heading out on a cruise. Luckily water bottles and bottle cages are an inexpensive way to stay hydrated through longer rides.
Riding an ebike with no dedicated space for a water bottle? A hydration pack you can strap on your back and sip throughout your adventure is a great alternative. Staying hydrated is really important, especially in warmer climates! Don't go riding without proper hydration methods while!
In case you thought we forgot: WEAR A HELMET!
Keep your bike safe
When traveling with your bike you may cruise past some interesting destinations. A bike lock is a must-have during your expeditions and allows you some piece of mind to explore that farmers market or street fair you stumbled upon without worrying about your bike. The most common bike lock is the traditional U shaped lock that can usually be mounted onto your bike frame. This allows you to ride your bike anywhere and really explore the areas of the town you may have missed from your car window.
The U-Lock should secure the frame and be anchored to a sturdy object, like a bike rack or street sign. Don’t forget to secure your wheels! Looping a cable lock through the wheels and then through the U-Lock is an easy way to secure them.
It is also important to secure your bikes to the bike rack when leaving them on the bike rack overnight, while traveling. This ensures you will wake up to find your bikes still in place so you can enjoy your trip without the frustration or worry.
Racks and fenders
Unsure of the weather at your final destination? Unsure of what you’ll need to carry? Eliminate those worries with a rack and fenders. While fenders look cool on the bike, that is not their main benefit. Fenders cover your tires while preventing debris, mud, and dirt from being flung off your tires and onto your back. There are also many uses for bike racks. A plastic bag dangling off your handlebars can be a hazard to your safety but not everything can fit into your backpack. A rack on your bike enables you to carry bigger items that you might not have expected to transport. Attach a basket to your rack and toss in whatever you might come across during your travels.
Some final thoughts to traveling with your ebike:
- Remove your battery when in transit. Securely store the battery in a temperature controlled area when not in use. Avoid leaving the battery in the sun for long periods of time, especially in warmer climates. Read more about taking care of your ebike battery.
- Ensure the bike rack you purchase for your car is equipped to handle the weight of your bike(s). Never skimp on this point, as this could cause an accident or worse.
- Follow the proper protocol to mounting your bike on the rack, if fat tires are an issue, ensure you have the right extension for these tires. If step through is an issue, ensure you have the right top tube adapter to secure the bike safely.
- When traveling, or for general riding, always account for hydration, so that you are never caught in an emergency without water.
- Safety first! Make sure you don’t forget your helmet!!
- Know your terrain, if going on a new trail in a new destination is what you have planned, make sure you’ve alerted someone not traveling with you to your whereabouts, done some research on the trails and have the right equipment in case of an emergency. Consider the distance of riding, and whether you need an external charger capability, or extra charger, especially when traveling to more remote areas.
- Have a handy tarp with you so that you can cover your bike in unexpected weather conditions.
And make sure you lock bikes on the rack for security when you don't have a secure place to keep them on your travels. We recommend against the use of bumper racks for ebikes to ensure proper mount security.