How to Commute by Electric Bike in 2020
2020 is upon us. Electric bikes are catching on. And as eBike brands are improving the battery range, reliability, and overall build of bikes, we at LA Fly Rides are simply waiting on the world to ditch their cars entirely for an environmentally friendly, cost-effective commute via eBike.
How do you commute full time? Read on, or check out our YouTube playlist with tips for eBike commuters.
Start with a bike that suits you.
Most electric bike companies offer models with commuters in mind, meaning the overall geometry, tire selection, and motor is tuned for your roadside ride. You might ask yourself how many miles your commute runs, on average. *Pro Tip: An eBike ride has the potential to cut your trek time nearly in half. A twelve mile route may take 65 minutes on a regular bike, but an eBike will likely take only 36 minutes of travel time. If you're making this trip regularly, comfort is king. If you haven't already found your steed, stop into your local bike shop to schedule a test ride or two! Everything from the bike's display type, to the suspension, to the saddle will make a difference in the rhythm of your ride.
Plan your route!
If you haven't already, start to think about what route you might be taking (Google Maps and Trail Link are great for this), and plan according to the terrain. As with any unfamiliar trip, it's always advisable to run the route a time or two before the real commute. Take a commuter buddy with you! Encourage your coworkers to join you in the spirit of camaraderie and environmental consciousness and make this a group thing. *Fun fact: As of 2018, a recorded 870,000 people claimed to commute by bike. That's .6% of the U.S. population - let's get that number up, baby!
Getting a test ride in allows you to consider alternate routes, possible pit stops, and bike parking. Okay, so you don't have to spend time circling as you look for a space to park your gas-guzzling car, but you will need to allot time for finding a safe space to stow your e-bike. Most places of business will offer a nearby bike rack or post, but it's best to know all potential spots beforehand. On another note, might you need to ride to work or home again in the dark? Get a trusty bike light!
Lock it up.
Of course, don't forget how crucial it is to lock your eBike. Chain, cable, and D-Locks are three of the main types. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. For example, a chain link will be a bit heavier, but undoubtedly secure. A D-lock is usually much easier to carry, but might not fit around every bike frame. Either way, you should never take your steed out without some form of safeguarding. Watch how to prevent your eBike from getting stolen in this video.
Pack your bags.
Are you heading to work? Maybe you'll need to carry a change of clothes, a laptop, your lunch. This means you're going to need the right equipment. Get yourself a pannier or two. Choose from a handlebar bag, a saddlebag, a rear rack, hydration pack, and a cellphone mount to keep everything locked in place. Bringing coffee, or stopping along the way? Get a cruising koozie that WON'T spill your latte. *Pro Tip: Bike baskets aren't the most secure of holding sacks for a bumpy ride. Check out a trusted brand like Ortlieb to carry your goods in a waterproof pannier, backpack or briefcase.
Allow for charging time.
We, the people, don't need expensive gas prices. We need electricity! A great e-bike will come with a 400-600 Wh battery that will give you great range, so you shouldn't have to recharge after every ride. But keep an eye on your display, and for peace of mind, charge your battery every night. If you're low on battery and in a pinch, you should know most batteries require 3-4 hours of charge time. If you're one of those people who likes to test their limits (hello, fellow drivers who cruise on "E" for way too long), maybe opt for a dual battery system that won't require as many re-charges.
Last, but not least, we must remember that it's the little things that bring us joy. Equip your vehicle of choice with all the specs that make your ride a tad easier. For instance, an insulated trunk cooler will keep your lunch hot and ready as you ride. Also, don't pedal without a playlist. A safer alternative to headphones would be this magnificent shockproof wireless bike speaker. How about a helmet that provides all of this? It allows you to do everything from making a quick phone call, to operating voice navigation, and designating automatic emergency-dials. Heck, I would wear this helmet on a brisk walk.
Also in Good Rides, Good Vibes, Everyday at Fly Rides
One question we get asked a lot is if an eBike can be used on roads and for mountain biking. It makes sense - you want a versatile bike that you can use for all kinds of situations. Electric bikes are also an investment, so it's smart to try and maximize how much riding you can do on your new bike.
Since every bike is going to have certain things it does really well, and other things it can’t do as well, we typically suggest that you choose a bike based on what kind of riding you want to do most. But in the interest of being helpful to all the folks who ask this question, we decided to do a test to see what it would be like to commute on roads with an electric mountain bike.