Can Electric Bikes be Used for Winter Commuting in Canada
E-bikes are becoming more popular as bicycle commuting grows in Canada. Winter weather brings not only the usual cycling problems but also new ones that are frequently more difficult to conquer. Winter brings a lot of rain, ice, snow, and other circumstances that make e-bike riding dangerous. This forces electronic bikers to forsake their bikes as riding becomes fairly tough to achieve.
However, the weather should not prevent you from having a good time when biking. Several arrangements have recently been made for e-bikers during the winter months so that they can continue to use their bikes. In addition to these, there are other ideas you may utilize to get the most out of your winter bicycling experience.
Challenges of Electric Bike Commuting in Winter
Storage Issues for E-bikes
E-bikes like all bicycles, should be stored in a cool, dry place. However, this is not always achievable. Keep removable e-bike batteries indoors, half-charged, and flat. Check more details on storing e-bikes during winter.
Electric bike batteries, like certain human beings, are sensitive to temperature changes. The battery range decreases significantly on chilly days. Performance may be subpar. One would think that the more costly the bike, the better the battery will perform in all conditions, but this is not always the case. In chilly weather, we tested relatively pricey e-bikes that lasted less than an hour on a gusty trip around the neighborhood.
Test the battery life and performance in cold weather, especially if the goal is to commute to work on an e-bike in cold weather. And if that is the case, there are a few more actions to ensure that performance continues.
Maintenance and Repair
Whether you are riding or not, winter can be rough on your e-bike. You can keep it in great shape with proper storage and maintenance procedures. Maintenance and repair extend the life of your e-bike and keep it ready to go whenever you are.
How to Prepare Your Electric Bike for Winter Commuting
Choose the Right Tires
You must select winter-specific tires if you intend your e-bike for winter commuting. For riding on ice, 4-inch fat tires are the best option, while knobby tires can provide good traction in the snow. You can also reduce the pressure on your winter tires to improve traction on slick surfaces.
Install front and rear fenders to your bike to give it a winter makeover. Make sure there is sufficient clearance between the fender and your tire, as well as between the fender and your brakes, regardless of the type of bike or fender.
Lubricate your drivetrain and other moving parts regularly. It will shield them from the weather and increase their longevity. Use a wet lube because it is less prone to wash off in the rain or snow for winter riding.
Due to increased use and exposure to the elements, brakes, and cables might wear out faster in the winter. Check brakes regularly for indications of wear or damage.
Add Lights and Reflectors
It is critical to be visible all year, not only during the winter. A winter light can produce a twilight appearance, making you more visible. Reflectors can also help you stay visible in the dark by supplementing your lighting. But, they are not a replacement for high-quality lighting and should not be relied on solely.
The Heybike Brawn headlight with an auto-on feature is great for winter riding. These headlights offer more powerful e-bike lights with twice the lumens.
Tips for Riding Your Electric Bike in Winter Weather
Dress for the Cold
People tend to layer up when riding ebikes in chilly weather, however, most of the time you will be sweating within 5 minutes of riding and will have to stop to remove those layers. Dress consciously to keep warm and ride safely in inclement weather. Warm jackets with a thermal top, riding gloves, leggings, and pants are required to cover your neck, arms, and sleeves.
Ride Slowly and Carefully
Moderate your speed and brake gently when riding on snowy or icy surfaces. When braking, be especially cautious because it is easy to lock up your wheels in slippery conditions. Take a short test ride in a less congested area to assess how you will handle your bike. Select a dropper seatpost to assist you in keeping control of your ebike and avoiding sliding in icy conditions. It lowers your center of gravity and you can place both feet on the ground if necessary.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Knowing your surroundings is critical for a safe ride. During the icy season, be aware of the possible hazards around you to help keep your e-bike safe. If you are about to strike ice, do not make any rapid movements — do not turn the bar too quickly or far, do not lean the bike, and brake forcefully or suddenly.
Avoid Riding on Icy Road
Choosing the dry line is the best approach to avoid complications when cycling on snowy roads. Be especially cautious of more exposed areas of road, such as those with no hedges — the wind chill will have cooled the pavement even more — and always keep your eyes on the road ahead so you are prepared for icy hazards, navigating around them if you have time and it is safe to do so.
Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
Because the tires compress in the winter, they lose air pressure. If you have 35 pounds of air pressure in the summer when it is 85 degrees, when it gets cold, down to -10 degrees, your air pressure can drop to around 25 lbs. So, before it gets too chilly, fill up your tires.
Choose the Right Gear for Winter Electric Bike Commuting
Riding your ebike in these conditions necessitates correct layering and winter-specific gear to keep you comfortable and safe. Begin with a thermal base layer to wick away sweat; insulated riding trousers help preserve body heat; water-resistant shells or windproof jackets keep chilly air from penetrating your layers; and reflective strips on your outer jacket for visibility. Insulated and waterproof gloves keep your hands dexterous and toasty, while wool socks keep your feet dry and comfortable.
Winter riding circumstances need the use of appropriate footwear. Waterproof winter boots with a rough tread give critical traction on snow and ice. For boot compatibility and to keep your feet from sliding off the pedals, toe clips and flat pedals are recommended.
Additional gear will keep you cycling in freezing temps. Cover your head, face, and neck, and use hand warmers in your gloves to stay warm for an extra few hours. Thermal shoe covers provide an additional layer of insulation for your feet.
Bring eye protection against wind and glare. In winter, supplement headlights and reflectors with additional LED lights to improve visibility in low light.
Electric bikes can be ridden comfortably and safely throughout the winter with the correct preparations, safeguards, gear, and maintenance. While frigid temperatures and alarming weather pose some particular problems for ebikes, they are beatable.
Follow the guidelines in this post, which include wearing protective clothes, exercising caution based on road conditions, maintaining your e-bike regularly, and properly storing your battery.