If you can already ride a bike, then you’re in the best possible position to take on an electric bike. They both, after all, follow the same core principles.
You sit on the saddle, hold on to the handlebars, peddle like crazy, and off you go into the sunset, or, if it’s been a while, your neighbors’ holly bush — ouch!
However, despite traditional and electric bikes being by and large the same thing visually, you might be shocked how dissimilar they are in terms of feeling.
Think about it… if one traditional bike can feel completely different to ride than another, it’s only natural that there’d be some pretty significant discrepancies to come to terms with when transitioning from traditional to an electric bike.
Not to worry, though, in today’s article, I’ll be sharing with you some top tips for riding an electric bike for the very first time. Ready? Awesome! Let’s get started.
The only different bit of gear you have to interact with on your e-bike is the control. This little unit will be stationed in an easy-to-reach location on your handlebars, allowing you to set the level of assistance you need.
Make sure you’re aware of how to bring the assistance levels up and down before you ride.
Start Slow To Get Used To The Feel Of Power Assistance
You may be a veritable speed demon on your traditional push-bike, unafraid of hurtling down near-vertical declivities, but motion and speed have an entirely different feel when there’s a motor doing some of the work for you.
When you zoom around on a traditional bike, it’s not just your feet and legs working. Your entire body naturally prepares itself for the motion you’re about to generate. The reason your body knows precisely what to do and when to do it is that it’s trained to do so.
When a propelling force outside your body comes into play, your body just isn’t used to it, and thus, becomes disoriented and isn’t quite sure how to react. This can lead to some wobbly starts, which is why it’s important to take it easy on your first ride.
The last thing you need is to fall off your fancy new techno bike at high speeds.
And while we’re on the topic of speed, electric bikes can go really fast, probably a lot faster than the average rider is used to.
Again, take things slow; there’s no rush. Start with no assistance (if possible), then, when you’re good and ready, put it on the lowest setting to ease you in.
Since you don’t have any muscle memory pertaining to the new functions of your bike, you’ll be using your brain a lot, so arm it with as much knowledge as possible by reading about the electric systems in place on your bike.
Choose Appropriate Terrain
You have to approach riding an eclectic bike for the first time as if you’re riding a traditional bike for the first time. Do you remember where you learned to ride? I’m guessing your parents, guardians, friend… whoever taught you, took you to a nice, smooth, level space.
This sort of forgiving environment is the best possible space for your first ride of an electric bike as well.
Acclimate Yourself To The Braking System
Okay, so the brakes of an electric bike work in the exact same way they do on a traditional bike, but there are a few things you need to consider before you take your first spin.
As we’ve already discussed, electric bikes have snappy acceleration and go much faster than the average rider is used to. Combine that with the excess weight that the battery and motor bring to the equation, and you’ve got some seriously cranked velocity.
Now, as I’m sure you’re aware, the more intense the velocity of an object, the greater the force required to slow it down, and you’ll need to keep this in mind when zooming around at 20-odd miles per hour on your e-bike.
Due to the excess velocity, your brakes won’t feel quite as responsive, which means you’ll need to start braking much sooner than you normally would on a traditional bike.
You will either have mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical brakes will feel a little sluggish in the face of this newfound velocity.
Hydraulic brakes, on the other hand, have greater stopping power, but will still feel a little slow compared to the brakes on your traditional bike.
Once you know what you’re working with, memorize which lever corresponds to which brake, and test them out while stationary.
The calipers should activate well before the lever is fully depressed, but not so early that there’s no room for soft braking when you want to slow down gradually.
The levers should also feel comfortable to pull all the way to the handlebars.
If you feel that something is off, consult your manual, and learn how to make all the necessary adjustments.
Develop A Light Touch
The brakes of your e-bike may not be quite as responsive when moving at speed, but seeing as they’re likely a lot more powerful than the brakes you’re used to, they also require a very light touch when you’re cruising at a low pace.
Furthermore, you should always depress both front and rear brakes evenly when trying to come to a stop, as it leads to more stable deceleration.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings, Especially Traffic And People
The increased acceleration and speed of your e-bike may be strange to you at first, but it’s always going to come as a shock to drivers and people around you.
E-bikes look exactly the same as standard bikes, so motorists will expect your bike to behave exactly like a standard bike, meaning they won’t be aware of how fast they’ll need to react in a sticky situation.
To compensate for this, you need to be even more aware of your surroundings than you would be when riding a traditional bike.
All the same safety precautions you take with a traditional bike must be applied to your e-bike, but as you’ll be traveling faster, they’re more important than ever — always wear a helmet!
Keep all these things in mind when you’re taking your e-bike out for its inaugural spin, and you’ll be absolutely fine. It may feel a little awkward at first, or that you have to think about the riding process too much to lose yourself in the moment, but you’ll be used to the differences before you know it, and then you’ll be free to enjoy the ride!