Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage that most of us experience some time during our childhood. Learning to ride an e-bike is a slightly different story. Despite the similarities between the two, riding an electric bike can is largely a different experience than that of a normal bike. The differences lay in the e-bike’s pedal-assist nature and its electric motor.
Sure, at the end of the day, electric bikes are bikes— but they do have some major differences. It's a major purchase and a new, fun experience. It's worth making the choice, but you want to make sure you learn to ride in the safest way possible.
Here are some tips on how to safely ride an electric bike.
Start Off Slowly
Electric bike riding is a different experience due to the different speeds involved. Not everyone who rides a bike regularly takes the time to learn about the speeds electric bikes are capable of.
This is especially the case in the US where class III bikes can go up to 26mph, but this is also true at slower speeds. Even if you’re riding at a speed that you feel comfortable with, it's one thing to pedal hard and start going fast, but it's a very different thing to have a motor push you to speed quickly with little work on your part.
Different types of bikes have various solutions for delivering power. Make sure to read up on what to expect. Some e-bikes feel very similar to regular bikes. Torque-based sensors usually deliver that more natural feeling. Even if that's the type of bike you’re riding, it's still a smart idea to start at a low assistance level, so that you experience a ride not too different from what you know.
Understand How Your Brakes Work
E-bikes are heavy compared to traditional bikes. The extra weight combined with more speed makes braking something you really need to focus on. You’ll want to ensure that you have an understanding of how the brakes on your e-bike feel and which brake part does what.
Make sure you understand what kind of brakes you have on your e-bike. It's a good thing to keep in mind when shopping, but you should take a look once you own the bike. Mechanical disc brakes stop due to the cable pulling the calipers closed. There is a physical connection to the brake lever and the harder you pull, the stronger your braking power will be. On the other hand, when it comes to hydraulic disc brakes, the only connection between the caliper and lever is fluid.