Riding Your E-Bike During Winter Safely

Riding Your E-Bike During Winter Safely

It's still bike weather in some parts of the world even in the middle of winter. If you live in snow or ice country, you can still ride an e-bike -- if you take proper precautions.

You obviously need to dress warmer, with bright reflective clothing. Wearing layers and gloves (preferably heated gloves) is key -- along with a wool hat under your helmet. But the bike needs to be prepared, too. For instance, first apply a preventative anti-rust spray to the spokes and chain -- before you take the bike outside.

For hard-packed snow and ice, switch to studded tires or fat tires for softer snow. Yes, there are snow tires for bikes -- bearing different tread patterns and requiring different tire pressure. Immediately after riding, you should clean off the salt, sand, and gravel from the bike frame and store it in a dry place - a garage or shed is ideal.

You must charge the lithium ion battery in a place with a temperature above 32 degrees in cold weather, otherwise the cell will be damaged. Once you do take the bike out, turn on the battery and let it sit for a little while, to warm up naturally. Don’t heat it up with a hair dryer or by any other artificial means.

Finally, be careful to know your ability riding in snow. At first, newbies should take a test ride without the motor on, just to get a feel for the terrain. Know that e-bikes with front-wheel drive tend to perform better in snow, because they pull the rider forward for a straighter ride, and become a two-wheel drive when you pedal.

Rear-wheel-drive models get less traction and tend to spin out more in snow and slush. If you're riding, make sure your headlight, rear light, and helmet light are turned on. And drive more slowly than you would in the summer.

By lowering your seat, you will also be able to keep your feet closer to the ground, which in turn will help stabilize your bike better in slippery conditions. Speaking of, if you come to a slippery area, you can boost your stability by not pedaling -- hovering your feet close to the ground in case a tire slips.

Remember too, when riding an e-bike your speed can easily exceed that of a regular bike, especially if yours has a throttle. So slow down. In addition, bike lanes get narrower or disappear because of snow banks; car windshields are filthy; and drivers aren't paying as much attention with fewer bicycles on the road.

Clean the bike with a damp cloth when you get home, then dry it. Winter rides mean your bike will likely get dirtier than in warm weather -- due to salt or sand on the roads that was dropped to melt ice. If you don't clean hard-to-reach crevices, the dirt will likely spread into them, which will accelerate rusting.

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