Cycling is one of the most popular and accessible outdoor activities. With only the requirement of a bicycle, you can enjoy going around the streets and commuting to work. The electric bike is one of the best inventions in the cycling industry.
While there are many similarities between regular bikes and electric bikes, there are also several differences that can impact how you feel when riding. Unlike regular bikes, an electric bike can take you uphill without a sweat. These bikes have an electric motor that adds up power when you pedal. Riders inexperienced in handling a high-speed bike may lose balance and run into an object. Therefore, new riders need to practice sufficiently before hitting the road.
If you are riding an electric bike for the first time, you have come to the right place. This article will discuss a few important tips on riding an electric bike as a first-timer. Keep reading to learn more.
Preparing to Ride
Many riders make the mistake of immediately taking their bikes on the road without prior practice or preventive measures. You must contain your excitement (a little bit), and follow the necessary safety protocol to ensure the safest ride!
Get the Right Gear
Electric bikes travel at high speeds, so you need to make sure that you protect yourself. A helmet is your head’s number one protection gear. As a first-timer, you never know what is going to happen! If your head is going to scrap along the road, it is only fair that you protect it with something worth the task. Therefore, grab your helmet and give it a quick try to make sure it is adjusted properly and fits you well.
The ideal helmet should fully cover your head. If you want extra protection, invest in one with a face shield. While they may carry a hefty price tag, they are worth the money since you can never put a price tag on your head. The helmet can also offer you sun protection and make you warm during the winter. It can also make you look a lot cooler in the streets.
You will also want to wear protective clothing to be seen. The clothing should be bright and reflective, especially when riding early in the morning, on cloudy days, and late at night. This will help reduce the risks of accidents by ensuring other motorists can see you from a distance. You will also want to Install at least one blinking LED headlight at the front and back of your electric bike. In addition, you will need a bike lock and high-quality rear view mirrors.
Know Your Electric Bike
Electric bikes comprise several key components, such as a motor, battery, controller, and display. Knowing how they function and how to maintain them will ensure that your bike performs optimally.
An electric bike utilizes a mid-drive motor or a hub motor. The difference between the two is their location. While a mid-drive motor is usually mounted close to the pedals, a hub motor is located in the wheel hub.
The battery powers the motor and is measured in watt-hours (Wh). Batteries with large capacities can provide riders with longer ranges.
The controller regulates the power output of the motor and ensures that you have a smooth ride. It integrates with the display and allows you to alter the pedal-assist levels.
Most electric bikes have a display showcasing speed, pedal-assist levels, and battery life. You should know the display functions and how to adjust the settings.
Practice in a Safe Environment
If you are riding an electric bike for the first time, you must practice in a safe environment. You should choose a location that allows you to practice without worrying about traffic or causing an accident.
If you start riding your electric bike directly on the road, you might pose a safety risk for yourself and other people on the road. Moreover, you should stick to flatter landscapes before practicing on arduous terrains or steep slopes. Once you have had sufficient practice to control the bike’s high speed and motion over flat roads, you can try practicing on other terrains.
Some of the best places you can practice riding your electric bike include an empty bike riding trail, by the beach, or an empty park. You may also want to practice very early in the morning when there are not too many people or cars on the road.
Learning to Ride
The feel of an electric bike is mostly like that of a regular bike, with some key differences. While some people only need one ride to get the hang of it, others need extra time to practice. However, if you know how to ride a traditional bike, you will not have difficulty learning how to ride an electric bike.
Here are a few tips when learning to ride your electric bike.
Most electric bikes can reach a high speed of 20km/h without much effort of pedaling. As a beginner, it is advisable to start riding your electric bike at a slow speed so that you learn how to ride it properly. It is easier to maintain balance and stability when riding slowly. Riding slowly will also keep you safe and help you stop your bike easily whenever you need to.
If you are a first-timer, you will want to begin practicing riding your electric bike with the battery off. This can help you get used to handling the bike’s weight. Once you are comfortable maneuvering around the weight of the bike, you can proceed to practice with the electric battery turned on. Be sure to practice with level one electrical power sufficiently before moving to the next level. Also, it is important that you read the instructions manual carefully before moving to higher levels of electrical assistance.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Another important thing when learning to ride an electric bike is to be aware of your surroundings. You do not want to practice riding a bike on a busy street or where other activities like construction are ongoing. Being aware of your surroundings will help prevent accidents and ensure your safety.
Know the Rules of the Road
Traffic rules and regulations are there for a reason, and they must be adhered to. They help ensure that order is maintained on our roads. There are specific rules for electric bikes, such as equipment requirements, speed limitations, and bike lane restrictions. However, some general principles and guidelines apply in most jurisdictions.
The following are the common traffic rules pertaining to electric bikes:
Electric Bike Classification
Electric bikes are categorized into various classes depending on motor assistance and top-assisted speed.
- Class 1: Pedal-assist only with a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph
- Class 2: Throttle-assist with a maximum speed of 20 mph
- Class 3: Pedal-assist only with a maximum speed of 28 mph
Different local authorities implement speed limits depending on each electric bike class. Some regions have specific speed limits in certain areas like school zones, bike lanes, and pedestrian-heavy areas.
Designated Riding Areas
In most cases, class 1 electric bikes are allowed on bike lanes or some trails, while class 2 and 3 electric bikes have more restrictions because of their high speed.
Here are other traffic rules you must adhere to:
- Have a reflector and lights when riding at night
- Ride in the same direction and not against traffic
- Use hand signals when turning or stopping
- Follow all traffic signals and signs, such as red lights and stop signs.
Caring for Your Bike
Regular maintenance of an electric bike is key to ensuring longevity and optimal performance. Fortunately, electric bike maintenance is very easy once you get used to it.
The following are maintenance tips for an electric bike.
Charge the Battery
The battery is an essential component that separates an electric bike from a regular one. It is important because it powers the motor. Therefore, it is important to ensure that it is charged before hitting the road with your bike. It is also important to know how to charge it and how long you should charge it.
Clean and Lubricate the Chain
The chain is one of the most important parts of your electric bike. However, it does not have an easy life as it is often exposed to grime, mud, and the worst of the weather. You will need to clean it regularly by brushing out the links with a firm brush. Also, you will have to lubricate the chain with a lube that is specifically designed for electric bikes. You should note that over-lubricating can attract new dirt, so be sure to wipe off excess lubricant.
Schedule Regular Maintenance Checks
When you get home after an electric bike ride, you should perform a few checks before you lock up and store it. This can prolong the life of the bike by preserving the battery efficiency. Also, you can plan to take your bike to your local electric bike service center at least once every year. The highly knowledgeable technicians can identify any problem and fix it.
An electric bike is flexible and faster than a regular bike. They are easier to ride and can improve both mental and physical health. In addition, they are environmentally friendly and a great alternative to cars.
Riding an electric bike for the first time can be an easy thing if you follow these tips. It is important to prepare yourself by getting the right gear and understanding your bike. You should start slowly, be aware of the surroundings, and know the traffic rules. Also, you will need to charge the battery, clean and lubricate the chain, and schedule regular maintenance checks.
Be sure to browse our collection of electric bikes and safety gear like helmets, locks, and more. Feel free to contact us for any questions. Have someone in your life with limited mobility? Check out our array of mobility scooters from our sister website, Mobility Paradise. The blog “Top 5 Electric Scooters for Adults” is a great place to get started.