How to Ride an Electric Bike

How to Ride an Electric Bike
Electric bikes provide a fun and eco-friendly way to commute, exercise, and explore the outdoors. They ride much like regular bikes but with the extra boost of motor assistance. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your electric bike experience.
Understanding pedal assist system (PAS)
The Pedal Assist System (PAS) on your e-bike gives you an extra boost with each pedal stroke. Controlled through the LCD display on the handlebars, you can switch between seven levels of assistance. When activated, the PAS kicks in every time you pedal, but if it's off, your e-bike rides just like a regular bike.
Pedal assist is what truly sets e-bikes apart from traditional bikes. As the name suggests, the motor helps amplify your pedal power, making rides faster and easier. However, it's designed to enhance, not replace, your pedaling. This means:
Enjoying an easier and more enjoyable ride.
Traveling further and at higher speeds if you choose.
Experiencing a new sense of adventure.
Exploring trails and paths you might not have felt confident tackling before.
With PAS, riding an e-bike becomes a more versatile and exciting experience.
Know your brakes
Electric bikes are heavier than non-electric bikes, and combined with higher speeds, braking requires extra attention. Understanding your bike's brakes is crucial. Check whether you have mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes; mechanical brakes use a cable to pull the calipers, while hydraulic brakes use fluid.
Test the brake setup by pulling the lever without moving. It should engage before reaching the handlebar, allowing for both gentle and hard stops. Adjust if necessary or consult your local bike shop.
Identify which lever controls the front and rear brakes. Use both brakes together for the strongest stopping power, but be cautious with the front brake alone.
Start slowly
Riding an electric bike is a unique experience due to the higher speeds involved. Regular cyclists may not be accustomed to the speeds e-bikes can reach, especially in the US where Class III bikes can go up to 26mph. Even at lower speeds, the sensation of a motor quickly propelling you forward with minimal effort is quite different from working hard to achieve those speeds yourself.Different e-bikes have various power delivery methods. Some, like those with torque-based sensors, feel more like traditional bikes and provide a more natural riding experience. If you have this type of e-bike, it's best to start with a low assistance level to ease into the experience.
Be extra careful around cars
Automotive traffic poses a risk for all cyclists, but it's particularly challenging for electric bike riders. Drivers have certain expectations about bicycle speeds, and electric bikes often exceed these, causing misjudgments. This issue is similar for fast-moving road cyclists but is more pronounced with e-bikes.
Drivers make decisions based on their assumptions about how long it takes a bike to maneuver. They might wait for a cyclist to pass before turning across a bike lane, but if they misjudge the speed, it can lead to unsafe situations. E-bikes compound this problem by being faster and not always giving off visual cues that match their speed.
Road cyclists with deep wheels and form-fitting clothes often signal their speed to drivers, who still misjudge it frequently. In contrast, someone on a flat-bar e-bike, with an upright posture and casual clothes, might not appear to be moving quickly, despite often going faster than traditional bikes. This mismatch in visual cues and speed expectations can be dangerous.
Regardless of the type of bike, the advice remains the same: anticipate that drivers may not see you or give you enough space. While this isn't ideal, it's a reality that can help keep you safer on the road.
Shift your ebike to a lower gear before parking
A common mistake e-bike riders make is leaving their bike in a high gear when stopping. This forces them to either apply a lot of leg power to start moving again or use more battery power than necessary. To avoid this, it's best to shift down to second, third, or even first gear before coming to a stop. This way, it's easier to get moving again smoothly.
Conclusion
Electric bikes, much like regular bikes, are primarily powered by your pedaling, with the motor providing additional support. They're called "pedal assist" because the electric system is designed to enhance your pedaling, not replace it.Riding an e-bike is a fun and eco-friendly way to commute, exercise, and explore the outdoors. To maximize battery life and optimize your ride, use gears and pedal assist effectively, anticipate changes in terrain, and follow proper battery maintenance. By doing this, you can enjoy a smooth ride and get the most out of your investment.
FAQ
What basics do I need to know to ride an ebike?
If you have a cadence-based system, extra caution is needed. These systems can accelerate as soon as you start pedaling, making them easy to ride but requiring some adjustment. Even at a low assistance level on flat ground, you can quickly reach around 12mph/20kph.It's best to start in a flat, open area. Since e-bikes are heavier, switching gears while stationary is challenging. If possible, lift the rear of the bike, turn the pedals, and shift to an easy gear. Begin without assistance, get moving, and then turn on the assist when you feel steady. This helps you stay in control as the assist kicks in.If starting without assist isn't feasible due to the bike's weight, use the lowest assist setting. Ensure your path is clear and know where your brakes are, including which controls the front and rear. This approach helps you adjust safely to riding an e-bike.
How to use the brake system of an electric bike?
While riding, listen for brake pad rubbing against the rotor. Adjust the pads or caliper alignment if needed. Check for a bent rotor by spinning the wheel and observing any wobble. If bent, straighten or replace it.Remember, a heavier, faster e-bike takes longer to stop. Practice braking before riding in traffic to get used to the extra time needed to slow down.

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