Sales of bikes, electric and conventional, have soared since the beginning of the lockdown back in March and, compared to this time last year, sales of ebikes are up nearly 200%. Those who now own ebikes are realizing many of the benefits of having a motor there to back them up and, as we discussed last week, riding an ebike is not cheating.
With people returning to the workplace as school and offices open up around the country some may be eyeing their new ebike and wondering if they should ditch their regular commute and join the increasing number of people cycling to work. We’re here to say that you definitely should, and to make it even easier for you we’ve created this guide for commuting by ebike so you can be sure that you’re ready for anything!
Be Prepared For Your Ebike Commute
Fail to prepare and prepare to fail is what they say, and you do need to think of a few more things when you’re cycling by ebike. Preparing for your cycling commute is best done the evening before and once you’ve done it a few times it becomes second nature.
Charge your battery
Put your ebike battery on charge the night before to ensure that you have enough juice to get you to work. Many people make this part of their routine when they’re putting their ebike away so they don’t have to even think about it. You should also charge it at work and Aventon’s easily removable batteries make doing so a breeze.
Wear the right Clothing
When riding an ebike you are outside and, unfortunately, the weatherman isn’t always right. Wear the right clothes for the season but pack many, thinner layers rather than a few bulky ones as this enables you to always be comfortable on your ride. Ensure that you pack a rain jacket because it’s never nice to be caught in the rain. Also, when you’re riding, make sure you’re not wearing pants which dangle. You run the risk of getting them caught in the chain; this can be dangerous and will ruin your choice pair of pants!
Prep your bags or cargo
Pack your bag the night before with everything you need: layers, bike lock, water, repair kit, laptop, work items, etc. This leaves you less to think about in the morning. Ditch the backpack and find some cycle bags which work for you, there’re many configurations which you use to attach bags to your ebike and you’re sure to find one that fits your work bag and your needs. When packing these bags make sure that you’re balancing the weight correctly. You can take a look at some options here.
This list isn’t extensive but completing these tasks the night before means that you will have a hassle free morning and an enjoyable commute no matter what the world tries to throw at you.
Ebike Commuting Safety
Safety is a very important factor whenever you are cycling and the commute is no exception. Because this is also a time when there are more cars, bikes, and people on the roads and pavements safety should be at the top of your agenda.
Wear a Helmet
Always wear a helmet when riding a ebike. Get one that fits snuggly on your head and you’ll have peace of mind. Shop Helmets.
Mount head & tail Lights
Get lights for the front and back of your ebike. When the days start to get shorter you’re sure to get surprised one suddenly dusky evening. Once you’ve purchased these lights fix them on to your ebike, leave them there year round and you’ll never get caught out again. Shop head and tail lights.
Reflectors are not an alternative to lights and should be used in addition to them. The ones you can put in the spokes of your wheels are especially great as they’re visible to people who are seeing you side on, say, as you pass through intersections, and maybe can’t see your lights.
Wear the Right Clothing
You should wear highly visible colors and, ideally, reflective clothings. This becomes even more apparent when the light starts to get low. Not all of your layers need to be this way but your top one should, and this means that your rain jacket should be too.
Use a Bell
“On your left” is the conventional cyclist’s call that has taken over from the bell but with so many people wearing headphones on their commute you cannot be too sure that they’ve heard you. Getting yourself a bell gives you a method of rise unobtrusively above the noise in people's ears, making them aware that you’re passing.
You can travel faster on an ebike and this means that you need to brake sooner to safely slow yourself down. This will soon become second nature, but you also need to remember that when there’s water on the road you need to start braking even sooner because this water provides poor traction and increases your stopping distance.
Know the Laws of the Road
The laws of the road are there for a reason and we wouldn’t break them in a car so why would we break them on an ebike? Give ebikers a good name and protect yourself and others around you by keeping to the rule of law. Remember that some trails don’t allow ebikes, know before you go and give ebikers a good name in the cycling community.
Stay Clean with Fenders
Not just a safety factor, fenders stop mud and water from splashing up onto your clothes and ruining your day just as it has started. They not only stop you from getting wet and muddy before getting to the office but they also stop you from being distracted by such things, and allow you to plough through puddles with confidence. Shop fenders.
Having a cycling buddy not only makes it more fun but it will also increase your visibility. Your buddy doesn’t have to work with you they just need to leave from, and return to, the same area as you.
Remember that when you’re riding an ebike it is more important to be aware of your surroundings because you can travel much faster than a regular cyclist and both cars and pedestrians will be caught unaware by your extra power and speed.
Ebike Tips For Commuting
Now you’re safe and you’ve gotten everything ready you can get going on your commute. There are many different ways commuting by ebike can be different from commuting by car or by public transport and here’re some tips to optimize your biking experience.
It sounds a little counter productive but you should be a little chilly when you step out of the house. As soon as you start riding you’ll start warming up and you won’t have to stop to remove layers, but, if you do need to, you can easily add one.
Look out for Busy Roads
The beauty of commuting by ebike is that you don’t have to travel down the busy main roads you may be used to. Not only is avoiding these safer and easier but it can make your cycling, and therefore your commute, more enjoyable too.
Change it Up
Because you’re on an ebike you have more route options available to you. Map apps have a function which display various bike route options, and remember that your commute home usually doesn’t have the same time restrictions that the commute to work does; leaving you free to explore new routes at your leisure. Not only does all this make it more interesting but you might discover something you never knew was right on your doorstep.
Purchase a Phone Mount
As well as being a safety feature, to stop you reaching in your pocket or stopping to look at your route, getting yourself a handlebar mount for your phone means that you can change and monitor your route with confidence and ease.
Aero or Drop Bars
These are two types of handlebars often associated with road or racing bikes. They can be great for commuters for many reasons, all related to a change in your posture. This change makes your ride more comfortable, ensures that you are get maximum power from your legs, and also makes you more aerodynamic, reducing drag and allowing you to travel faster.
Keeping Your Ebike Secure
Get a good, hefty lock to secure your ebike once you get to your destination. A good, hefty lock can deter anyone from stealing your ebike. If your workplace has a garage where you can park and lock your ebike even better, and you can often leave your lock attached to wherever you lock it so that you don’t have to lug around a heavy chain. It is also a good idea to take your battery off and into the office with you, this way you can make sure it’s fully charged for your ride home.
There are many ways to make your commute more comfortable and, as you progress you may find yourself opting for a different seat, wider handlebars or all manner of accessories to enhance your riding experience.
When starting to commute by ebike a top tip is not to jump into it with two feet. Ease yourself in with a day or two a week and work up to doing it everyday. Not only will your legs thank you but you’ll gain more confidence doing it this way. Remember that your commuter ebike doesn’t just have to be used for commuting and on the weekends, or after work, you can also use it to head out to meet friends or just go for a leisurely, scenic cycle.
Ebikes give you the confidence to get to work without being tired, and with proper planning and preparedness you can save yourself time, money, and stay safe; all whilst looking after the environment.