As we start to edge closer to summer, we start thinking about reacquainting ourselves with some ebiking fun. It is hard to be patient! The instinct is to hop on and ride. However, there are a few things every bike needs to be ready for its first pedal of the ebiking season.
First, the easiest way to get this done is by rolling that ebike down to your local bike shop. Erik’s Bike Shop typically has the resources to help you tune up your bike. It may cost a little, but you know the job will be done right. However, we have some ideas if you like doing things yourself. Here are 5 things that will get you ready for your first spring ebiking ride.
A clean bike is a happy bike! Washing it will prevent you from having a dusty saddle-print on your butt after that first ebiking session. Start with your drivetrain (the gears and the chain). A clean (and well-lubricated – see below) chain will make less noise and shift easier. Chains can be cleaned with a degreaser and a rag easily enough. If you want to keep your hands cleaner and really get that chained brightened up, you may want to consider a dedicated chain cleaning tool.
Your rear cogs can be a collection point for all manner of grit and grime. A stiff-bristled brush will do the trick, and again, there are specialized tools to help facilitate the process.
Congrats – that should be the end of the dirtiest part of the job. Now you can take your rag and an all-purpose cleaner and start working your way through all the parts of your bike.
For your brakes, it’s important for your safety to keep your braking surfaces clean and clear of contamination. Unfortunately, standard cleaners might leave a residue that will reduce braking performance. This could in turn cause an awful squeal while ebiking. We recommend a quick-drying cleaner, especially for disc brakes.
Now that you’re all cleaned up, it’s time to give your chain a bit of lubricant! This will help to keep it quiet and smooth. NEVER USE WD-40 ON A CHAIN! WD-40 might temporarily lubricate your chain, but it will eventually dry out your chain and lead to sticky links. We have found for most folks that a general, all-purpose lubricant, applied on a regular basis, will do what you need it to do before your ebiking adventures.
Keeping your tires properly inflated is the easiest thing you can do this ebiking season. Look on the sidewall of the tire for the appropriate range of pressure. Use an air compressor and a tire gauge or a bicycle-specific floor pump with a built-in pressure gauge. Make sure to stay within that pressure range. Lower pressures offer more traction but might be more prone to pinch flats. On the other hand, higher pressures are faster-rolling but less forgiving.
For ebikes, you’ve hopefully been storing your battery in a temperature-controlled, dry environment for the winter months. Make sure that the battery gets some quality time attached to the charger to get the voltage back up to full power. This can help make sure you don’t get stranded on your ebiking ride.
Safety Check & Test Ride
It’s a good idea to do a safety check on your bicycle before any ride. However, it is extremely important before your FIRST ebiking ride of the season. Essentially here, you want to know all your bolts are tight and the moving parts are working.
- Make sure the wheels are secure at the axles, there should not be any wobble or movement when they are properly tightened.
- Double-check your saddle and seat post. Don’t rotate side-to-side or wiggle up and down.
- Your handlebars and stem are important components to check for movement. If you hold the wheel between your legs, you should not be able to rotate the stem or bars.
- Attach your shifters and brake levers tightly so they do not move.
- Make sure your brakes and shifters are functioning properly by taking the bike for a quick spin on a flat, traffic-free area.
One final tip, if you find any cracks, broken or bent parts, take your bike to your local bicycle shop. It is best to get a set of professional eyes on it. In conclusion, take the time to get your bike fully ready before ebiking on a 10-mile jaunt. No one wants to pedal a cranky bike.
Now that your bike is ready for ebiking season, make sure you are ready as well! Here are some warm weather tips to help you beat the heat.
Tip #1: Hydration is Key!
This tip might be obvious, but it’s definitely worth noting. Your body sweats as it tries to cool itself down, and warmer weather means more sweating. This causes you to become dehydrated if you don’t replenish your body with water. It is best to stay on top of it and drink a little bit throughout your entire ride. Some people put water bottle holders onto their bikes. Others find water bottle backpacks to strap on. If you don’t want to do this, you could plan a ride along paths that you know have water stations. Drinking water is key when ebiking in the summer, and also not feeling terrible after the fact.
Tip #2: Sunscreen!
Hot days in the sun call for lathering up in sunscreen before any ride. Not only do sunburns cause you to get dehydrated faster, but they are also a pain. (No pun intended). Make sure to put sunscreen on any exposed parts of your skin. Being proactive about sun protection will save you from any unnecessary pain later when ebiking in the summer.
Tip #3: Wear the Right Clothes
During hot weather, you want to be sure to stay away from thick clothing or material such as cotton. Wearing breathable and light clothes will help you to stay cool when ebiking in the summer. Many people who partake in summer riding typically wear well-fitting shorts to reduce the chance of rash burn. Other beneficial accessories include sunglasses, thin socks, and breathable biking shoes.
Tip #4: Replenish with Food and Electrolytes
After a fun day of ebiking in the summer, always make sure to replenish your body with the nutrients it lost during your ride. Eating a snack is extremely important to get some energy back in your body. It’s also important to drink water after your ride, or beverages such as Gatorade that help you to replenish your electrolytes.
So, now that you know tips on how to beat the summer heat, where can you take your ebike?
Here in the Midwest, summertime means it’s cabin season! And since cabins are typically located in smaller towns or on lakes, what better way to travel into town than on an electric bike? Ebiking is efficient, easy, and lets you enjoy the outdoors. Take it from a Minnesotan—this is why we love ebiking at the cabin.
Great Exercise Around the Lake
I don’t know about you, but whenever we go up to the cabin, there is A LOT of food involved. And who wants to take the time to go on a run, when you could enjoy another Smore’s Bar? eBiking makes it easy to get exercise. Bring a small group of buddies onto the ride, and it makes it that much better. Whether you decide to take a bike path to the beach, or wind through neighborhoods around the lake, either option brings you great scenery and gets your blood flowing. Using the pedal-assist feature allows some electric assist, but keeps you pedaling and getting some exercise. Take a little adventure and try ebiking to a place you haven’t been before! Being at the cabin is all about being outside, and adventure.
Take it into Town
Need more fish bait, or more food drinks? We’ve all been there. Typically, it’s a short ride into town, but can be a hassle taking a car and maneuvering on smaller roads. Plus, it always seems like no one actually wants to be the one to grab the supplies. With ebiking, running into town is less of a chore and more of an adventure. Not only are you still outside but traveling along some dirt paths and narrow roads are much easier. And quite frankly, a lot more enjoyable. You won’t have to worry about finding a parking spot. Or about parking on the side of the road if there aren’t parking lots. Cruising right up to the front of the store and grabbing those essentials just got a whole lot easier. Plus, you look pretty cool doing it, too.
Show off Your Ride
We can all agree: ebiking is the new big thing. It helps lower carbon emissions into the atmosphere, gives you exercise, and allows you to travel farther than on a normal bike. Plus, you have to admit, you can find some awesome eBike colors such as our XPLR and CRZR. Everyone will ask where you got your bike.
Allow Your Family and Friends to Try!
I think one of the BEST things about ebiking at the cabin, is seeing the joy on your friend’s and family’s faces when they try an ebike for the first time. There is always a little yell of excitement as the pedal-assist kicks in and they zoom forward. It brings a lot of smiles and laughter and makes for great stories to tell around the bonfire.
Just a reminder, ebiking rules are different in every state! Make sure to check out this document to see whether you need a license, registration, or are allowed to ebike on your local bike paths.