Here are 5 handy tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable ride on your electric bike.
Whether you are planning on using your electric bike to commute to work or you’re just riding for fun, spending a few minutes planning your ride before you start can make a big difference to the enjoyment and safety of your ride.
Avoid riding on busy roads wherever you can. A few minutes on Google maps will show you how to link up back roads and side streets. You can also use the Google maps live traffic feature to avoid all the roads flashing in red.
The Brisbane City Council website has over a dozen free maps for download that clearly show all of the bike paths and shared bike lanes. Riding through the botanic gardens is much more pleasant that mixing it up with the traffic on Kingsford smith drive!
Anything you can do to make yourself more visible to other cyclists and road users can only help. Brightly coloured and high-visibility clothing are great for the daytime.
A good set of lights is an absolute must for riding at dusk, dawn and at night. Most of our electric bike models come with built in high lumen (very bright) lights front and rear. Some of our models also feature a reflective coating on the tire wall, which are amazingly effective at making you visible at night, especially from the side.
If you want to add even more lights to your bike click here to check out our range of easy fit, rechargeable super bright lights.
As an electric bike rider you’ll probably find yourself overtaking traditional cyclists a lot. Especially going up hills. All of our bikes are almost silent in their operation so people won’t hear you coming.
It’s common sense to use you bell well in advance to let them know you’re there. We always like to add a “passing on the right” and a “thank you” as we cruise past.
Look out for earphone cables dangling from the ears of the rider or pedestrian ahead as they might not be able to hear you. If that’s the case, maybe shout a bit louder and give them an extra wide berth.
A well maintained quality electric bike will provide you with thousands of trouble free kilometers. Getting your bike regularly serviced will make sure that the gears; motor, battery, brakes and tires are all in good working order.
However it’s a good idea to perform your own checks on a regular basis.
Check your tires for any cuts damage and wear. A worn or cut tire is much more prone to puncture and blow out.
Most of our electric bikes and conversion kits are fitted with hard wearing puncture resistant tires. For a belt and braces approach you can also add a self-healing inner tube, which will automatically seal up small holes. If your bike doesn’t have these we strongly recommended getting them fitted.
Tire pressures make a big difference to how your electric bike handles, goes and stops. Running a tire with too little pressure is extremely dangerous as it creates too much roll on the rim and can also dent or bend a rim if you hit a pothole. It will also increase tire wear and reduce the range and efficiency of your electric bike.
Too much pressure is also dangerous. Over inflating a tire can lead to the tire valve bursting or the inner tube exploding as it expands due to changes in external temperatures or heat transfer from the rim (if you are using rim brakes).
We check and adjust our tire pressures every time we ride. It only takes a couple of minutes especially if you use a good track pump to top up your air.
All of our electric bikes and conversion kits feature disc brakes. These work in the same way as the brakes on your car or motorbike. They provide plenty of consistent stopping power (especially in the wet) with minimal effort needed on the brake lever. If your bike is being maintained as part of an Electric Bike Brisbane maintenance plan it's unlikely that you’ll need to worry too much as we will change your brake pads as matter of routine.
It’s a good idea to test your brakes before you head out on a ride. A quick test ride on a flat surface at low speed to make sure that both brakes are working well and that the lever is not pulling in too close to the handlebar (this is a surefire sign that your cables need adjusting or your brake system needs a bleed).
We don’t stock bikes that use rim brake and rubber brake pads. Their stopping power is much lower than a disc brake, especially in the wet. Using the rim as breaking surface also adds wear and tear and ultimately weakens your wheel.
They also require much more adjustment than a disc brake. Back in the days when mountain bikes used rim brakes (1990s) I went through a set of brake pads in one wet muddy ride in the heart of Wales, towards the end of the ride they almost provided no stopping power whatsoever!
Rim brakes have their place in lightweight road bikes but we feel they aren’t up to the job when it comes to the extra weight and power of an electric bike.
Again if the torque (how tight your bolts are) is set correctly, a torque arm is installed, and thread lock is used as per the manufacturer's recommendation your bolts should stay tight between services. However it’s always a good idea to make sure there isn’t any play (wobbling) in your front and rear wheels before you head out. The same goes for your seat and seat post. If you are unsure about anything on your bike then give us a call on 1300 553 110 and we can give some advice over the phone or arrange a time to bring your bike in for a check over.
One of the great things about an electric bike is that you don’t have to dress up like someone from the Tour de France. However you still need to make sure you are going to be comfortable and safe (as well as looking cool). It’s not a good idea to ride in high heels - flat or flattish and ideally not slip soles are best. It’s also a best to avoid any clothing that dangles or could catch in a wheel. Doctor Who style scarfs are a definite no-no.
Most of, if not all of these are common sense and won’t be new to most of you, but in our busy lives it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves of the basics now an again.
If you think we’ve missed anything or you’ve got any hidden gems or advice we’d love to hear from you.
© 2014 Electric Bikes Brisbane. We encourage originality and respect for the ideas and work of others. This article or any derivative is not to be copied or reproduced without express permission from Electric Bikes Brisbane.