If you’ve invested in an e-bike for commuting – or you’re looking to do so – it’s worth making the effort to use it throughout the year. E-bikes aren’t just for balmy summer days; they’re a great way of getting about during the winter too. Here are our top tips for how to commute by e-bike all year round.
1. Fit mudguards
Mudguards don’t just protect you from road spray. They protect your bike as well. This is a doubly important thing to consider with an e-bike because road salt and electronics make less-than-excellent bedfellows.
2. Wear waterproofs
There’s a whole industry built around finding that perfect balance between waterproofing and breathability for cycle commuters. The good news if you’re commuting by e-bike is that waterproofing trumps breathability as your bike will hopefully keep you from breaking into too much of a sweat.
3. If you get properly drenched, remove the battery when you arrive
This isn’t normally necessary, but if water gets in through the battery contacts, it can short the battery. If you and the bike have got particularly wet, removing it (if that’s possible with your bike) will allow the contacts to properly dry.
4. Get lights (and use them)
You may well already have integrated lights on your bike. That’s generally the best option because you don’t have to remember to charge them or anything. However, even if you don’t, your bike may still support them, so that’s worth checking out before investing in rechargeable ones.
5. Be extra aware of cold weather
We imagine you’ll check the weather forecast anyway, but this is not just about rolling your eyes and throwing on an extra layer. When dressing for cold weather, pay particular attention to things like keeping your hands warm, so that you can operate your controls.
Be aware too that your battery won’t last as long in cold weather. This is unavoidable, but you can at least ensure it's fully charged. Charging a battery below 5 degrees can damage it too, so this is to be avoided. If you can store the bike somewhere warmer than this too, so much the better.
6. Plan for punctures
Punctures are a pain on any bike, but on a hub motor e-bike, there’s added complexity. Make sure you know how to disconnect the motor and always carry any extra tools you might need. Also check your tyre pressure and tread regularly to reduce the likelihood of suffering in the first place. (Maybe even invest in a more robust tyre.)
7. Make time for maintenance
Lube your chain, check your brakes, keep an eye on your motor system. There isn’t a huge amount to stay on top of and it’s definitely worth catching any looming issues when you’re at home rather than on your way to work. Cleaning is essential too, so stay on top of this as best as you can.
8. Lock your bike
Not really a seasonal thing, but do what you can to protect your bike from thieves. Frame locks are great for popping into a shop for a minute, but use something more robust if you’re leaving your bike for any length of time. One of the great things about e-bikes is that you have the luxury of easily being able to carry a heftier lock.