Avoid wet-weather mishaps with essential e-bike prep, proper gear, and pro-riding techniques to help you hit the road in less-than-optimal conditions. Freezing temperatures, icy roads, and skidding hazards can reduce your e-bike’s battery range, cause corrosive damage, or raise the risk of an accident.
It all comes down to being aware and prepared. Stay dry and stay safe with these 7 actionable tips to help you enjoy your e-bike ride in slippery weather.
The Safety Short-List
- Preparation is key
- Use proper clothing and gear
- Use safety precautions such as reflectors
- Know how to brake and accelerate safely
- Keep your bike battery safe
- Post-ride clean and cover maintenance
- Get local support
1. Prep Before You Peddle
Before you hop on your bike for a winter ride, you’ll want to ensure that it’s in optimal condition to handle potentially hazardous conditions.
Use an e-bike cleaner, soft toothbrush, and cloth to clean any dirt or grime from your e-bike after each ride. Using too much water or failing to clean your e-bike can cause components to rust or fail. Check that all battery contacts are clean and dry. Don’t forget to lubricate the bike chain and spin the pedal to ensure that lubrication circulates throughout the bike system.
Ensure that you have the right tires for your riding conditions. Wide or fat tires work best on new, non-compacted snow. The downside is that they don’t work well for icy conditions. Consider getting 118 studded tires instead. They’re durable and feature a grip that helps keep you safe on wet, slushy, and icy roads.
Your electric bike is temperature-sensitive, so storing it in a temperature-controlled area is crucial. If you plan to let it sit until spring, charge your e-bike to 70% before storing it, and then power it up to 100% before using it again.
Most electric bike models have a quality, water-resistant case that protects your battery. While it’s possible to ride at any temperature, keeping your battery warm will extend its range.
If you plan a ride that is longer than 30 minutes, invest in an insulated Velcro or zippered cover to keep your battery warm, safe, and dry.
Pro tip: Keep your battery inside where it’s warm and dry, and install it right before you head out on your ride.
2. Get the Right Gear
Protect your head and body on a cold or wet-weather e-bike ride with moisture-wicking layers and windproof outerwear.
Start with a base layer such as a wool or wool-blend shirt that promotes warmth and wicks moisture naturally. Add an insulated jersey and finish off with an outer shell or weatherproof and breathable jacket that’s specifically designed for cyclists.
Invest in a high-quality pair of tapered cycling pants that cover the top of your shoe or shoe cover to prevent wind gaps. They should feature leg straps, a reinforced crotch for durability and comfort, and breathable material.
Wear waterproof gloves to stay warm and dry during your ride. Aim for a loose rather than a snug fit to enable heat to circulate around your fingers. You can invest in a special cycling glove or use a thin, windproof glove on the inside, topped by a Thinsulate semi-lobster glove that’s also water-resistant.
Wool is the king of warm and wicking material. You can even use silk or nylon socks under your woolies for an extra layer to prevent cold feet.
Finish off your winterized attire with a loose-fitting pair of cycling boots (typically a half-size larger than your usual shoe size). This gives you space for thick socks and allows heat to circulate. You can also use neoprene shoe covers if you prefer shoes to cycling boots.
3. Stay Visible
The best way to stay visible on your e-bike is to ensure that the electric lights on the front and back of the bike work before each ride. Most conditions require a bright-white front-facing light that is visible from 500 feet and a red taillight with a visibility range of 500-600 feet.
Try to put some space between you and any traffic on the road to ensure drivers can see you before it’s too late.
4. Practice Proper Riding Techniques
Knowing how to navigate slippery surfaces is essential for a safe e-bike ride. Ensure your brake contacts are clean and dry before you set out. Keep an eye out ahead for puddles, standing water, sheets of ice, or rainbow patches, which can indicate an oil-slick area.
Slow down when approaching a curve or turn if it’s wet or icy. Slowing your pace will help you avoid leaning too much into corners, which can compromise your balance and make you more likely to topple over. Taking a wider turn can also help you maintain better control.
Many e-bikes feature disc brakes rather than rim brakes on traditional bicycles. The good news is that they perform better in bad road conditions. It can still feel challenging to come to a complete stop if the road is wet or slick.
Brake early rather than later. Always give yourself extra time to slow down for turns, especially if the road conditions are less than ideal. Watch out for and avoid spots with loose stones, gravel, or cracks since these can cause issues when riding in the rain.
If you need more power, shift into a lower or easier gear to accelerate more smoothly on slippery roads. Avoiding high gear will help prevent the chain from slipping off your e-bike.
Stay cautious, react early, and stay safe.
Read Also: 8 Tips for Cycling on Rough Roads
5. Protect Your Battery
Storing your battery correctly is one of the most essential ways to enjoy your e-bike in cold temperatures or wet conditions.
While electric bikes are water-resistant, this doesn’t mean they’re waterproof. They can handle a level of dampness and rain and still function as normal.
An e-bike battery functions best in a temperature range that’s above 25 degrees. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring your battery inside with you on lunch breaks or after a ride so that it doesn’t have to spend hours outside in the cold.
Failing to shield your battery from damp or steep temperature drops can affect its efficiency and performance. This means that your e-bike could fail while you’re out cycling.
Avoid any nasty situations by always covering your e-bike with a waterproof cover and battery protector when parking it outside in wet, rainy, or snowy weather. This will protect sensitive electric components, avoid operating issues, and prevent future time, money, and hassle spent resolving the problem.
6. Don’t Forget to Clean and Cover
You’re probably ready to head inside for a hot cup of coffee after a long bike ride in the rain or cold. But before you relax, there are a couple of things that you need to do to keep your e-bike in good condition and ensure that your next ride is just as safe and enjoyable.
First, it’s important to clean and dry your e-bike. Avoid using lots of water since this can rust or damage your electric bike components. Instead, use an e-bike-specific wash that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. This will help protect your battery and control unit and extend their life and functionality.
Wipe any visible dirt off your e-bike’s frame with a toothbrush and a soft cloth. Afterward, dry it completely to avoid any electrical damage. Once the chain dries, use an e-bike lubricant to grease and condition the chain.
Store your e-bike indoors, if possible, to protect it from severe cold or wet conditions that can damage its battery life. Bring your e-bike indoors with you rather than letting it sit outside to cool down. The best location is a cool, dry space with low humidity, such as a garage, insulated shed, or utility space. Optimal e-bike storage conditions range from 32 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you cannot bring your e-bike indoors, winterize it with a battery jacket and waterproof cover.
7. Tap into Community Support
You’re not alone when it comes to e-biking in the winter. Many e-bike enthusiasts cycle year-round, and chances are that there are e-bike groups close by that can share tips and tricks to navigate your local winter conditions.
If you’re not in touch with any fellow e-bikers in your community, your local bike stop is a good place to start. They can likely put you in touch with local electric bike cycling clubs or may even host group e-bike rides.
Check out Instagram or Facebook, online forums, or search by location to find a local group that is a good fit for you.
It’s also a good idea to contact e-bike professionals in person or online if you have any specific winter riding gear or electric bike maintenance questions. This will ensure that you get authoritative advice that is tailored to your specific needs.
Preparing and staying aware when cycling in wet, cold winter conditions is crucial. Prepping and maintaining your e-bike, wearing proper safety gear, and braking and cornering defensively will help your battery last longer, keep you warm and dry, and help you avoid dangerous situations.
Safety is paramount when riding in challenging conditions. Always prioritize your well-being on the road to stay safe and ensure a more enjoyable bike ride this winter.
PR Underground: https://www.prunderground.com/what-will-happen-to-your-body-if-you-ride-hipeak-fat-tire-e-bike-for-1-hour-every-day/00293531/