Riding an electric bike is much like riding a regular bike, only much more fun. While it does differ from riding a regular bike, most e-bike newbies get the hang of it quickly. Typically, it only takes one test ride for the body’s muscle memory to adapt to the feel of a pedal-assist machine. Here are some top tips to keep you safe and having fun when riding an e-bike for the first time.
For the eBike as for all technical products the following rules apply: first you should take some time to get to know your eBike and its special features. Then you can go for your first spin on the eBike. It's a good idea to start in a flat, open, area. Electric bikes are heavier and switching gears while not riding is more difficult because of that weight. If you can do it though, pick up the rear of the bike and turn the pedals a few times while shifting to an easy gear. Start out without assistance at all. Get the bike moving and when you feel steady and comfortable turn on the assistance. This process will help you feel in control as the assistance kicks in.
Pedal-assist power overcomes the sluggishness that a heavier bike might have, but a fast-moving weighty mass also requires an attentive brake hand. E-bikes come with robust brake systems to help, but you still have to be on top of your riding game. Even at the lightest assisted gear, an e-bike will add around 50 watts to your pedal stroke. That means you’ll want to slow down well ahead of stop signs and crossings, and far earlier than you would on a slower-moving bike. Get to know your brakes and their relative power, so you can better assess the safest time to start slowing down.
MAKE YOURSELF SEEN
Automotive traffic is an issue on any kind of bike but on an electric bike, it can be an even bigger problem. Drivers have a certain expectation about bikes and electric bikes change the equation. It's a challenge that fast-moving road cyclists also run into, but electric bikes exaggerate it even more. To make sure you’re seen, outfit your bike with lights and a bell. And it’s not only drivers—you might be too fast for pedestrians or other cyclists who won’t hear you coming without a polite warning.
REMEMBER, IT'S STILL A BIKE
Crashes can happen on any bike, but e-bikes are noteworthy because of the higher speed involved. So when you’re out zooming, make sure to keep standard bike safety in mind.
Enjoy the ride!