Ten Beginning Tips for New E-Bike RidersOctober 20, 2022
The other day, I had someone ask if we had any tips for someone who has never ridden an e-bike before. This got me thinking. If you are unsure how to ride an e-bike here are ten simple tips that will help you get over that initial first ride…
If you haven’t been on a bike in years, the first step you should take before riding around town is simply getting comfortable on your e-bike. Take some time to practice in your driveway, in a park, or on a calm side street before you take your wheels on the road. Practice the range of motions you’ll at some point do on your bike, such as riding with one hand, shoulder checking and stopping quickly. It’s always a shock that first time you start to pedal and feel the power kick in! If you don’t know what to expect, it can catch you off guard.
CHECK YOUR BIKE
Give your new (or 2nd hand) e-bike a good once-over before you take it out on the road. Clean the chain, put air in the tires and make sure the brakes are working properly. If you’re not comfortable with basic bike mechanics, take it to a local bike shop for a tune-up before you go. You can check to make sure things are running smoothly by turning the bike upside down and turning the pedals for a second or two with the wheels free spinning in the air.
GRAB A FRIEND
Finding a more experienced rider to tag along with can be a great way to beat those first-ride jitters. Find a friend, family member or coworker who cycles regularly, and join them on a trip around town. Let them lead the way, so you can just focus on getting comfortable.
Look for a map of bike lanes and paths in your community and plan a route that will have you spending as much time as possible in protected bike lanes or bike routes on traffic-calmed roads. While here in the UK commuting entirely in dedicated cycling infrastructure is impossible, many other countries have cycling infrastructure that will cover you for most of your trip. If there isn’t a bike route map on a local website, contact a local cycling organisation or bike shop for advice on the best routes in your town.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Be cognizant of other cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles around you. Yield to pedestrians at zebra crossings, shoulder check before turning and mind the turn signals of cars in front of you as you approach junctions. Pay special attention to staying out of the blind spots of motorists.
Pass on the right (here in the UK anyway) and use a bell to alert other cyclists and pedestrians that you are about to pass them. You can also say “passing on the right/left,” if you don’t have a bell. Trust us your new e-bike will definitely be passing other cyclists often, so this one is a must.
FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD
Bike in the direction of traffic and obey traffic lights. There are a few bicycle traffic laws – such as the requirement to come to a complete stop at stop signs – whose relevance to people on bikes is currently being debated, but pedestrians do have right of way before bikes of any kind.
USE HAND SIGNALS
E-biking in a predictable manner can go a long way to keep you safe on the road. If people behind you (other bike riders, cars, etc.) can predict what you’re going to do, they can better plan their movements around you. Just as drivers who don’t signal cause crashes, so do people on bikes. Use hand signals when you’re turning or stopping to avoid unnecessary confusion. A bent left elbow, fingers raised skywards, means turning right, while pointing your arm straight out to the left indicates a left-hand turn. Pointing your fingers down with a bent right-elbow signal says you plan to stop.
MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE
You don’t have to wear glow-in-the-dark neon cycle wear to be visible to other road users. A few simple reflectors and lights in low-light environments will do the job. If you can wear something bright and protective that is a bonus, but it is not always that necessary.
While cycling needs to be approached with the same degree of precaution that any form of transportation should, it shouldn’t be a stressful experience. Cycling is safe, healthy and most importantly, fun! Relish the experience of the wind in your hair and the sun on your back. Take note of your surroundings and say hi to other cyclists. As much as it’s about health and sustainability, cycling is also about putting the joy back into your commute, and we promise, cycling will bring you even more joy with a new e-bike under your bum. But don’t take our word for it, get out and ride!