A regular bicycle is a relic from the past. Conventional bikes give way to electronic bikes, which have become increasingly popular among young, old, and sporty people within the last year. Ebikes make the lives of cyclists much easier by boosting their performance while mitigating their physical strain so that cycling becomes more relaxing and less stressful. Ebikers get to their destinations with less effort, while feeling fresher. More and more people change regular bikes for electronic versions of these much-loved vehicles. Of course, electric bicycles are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than cars, so we don’t even need to tell you why they are the next big thing.
However, newly-minted ebike riders might be prone to misuse these devices; they keep using these electric devices like regular bikes. But the truth is that e-bikes are a little heavier and can go faster, developing higher than average speeds. In contrast to the standard bike, it can have different riding modes, and you should replace batteries that only hold a single charge. When you become an owner of an electric bicycle, you will start wondering, “Can you ride an electric bike on the sidewalk? Do you need a license for an electric bike? Or are you only able to use pedal power when the smart lithium battery starts running out of juice?”
Accustomed devices that have been upgraded require some time to get used to. So let’s figure out how a newbie can ride bicycles with an electric motor while incorporating e-bike safety concerns.
Before you start absorbing information about the best bike usage tips, let us explain how electric bikes work.
How does an electric bike work?
An e-bike is a bicycle that is powered by an electric motor that provides a certain form of assistance to the cyclist, making it significantly easier to ride. Many electric bikes use an electric bikes pedal system that activates the motor only once the pedals are already in motion. This electric-assist system allows the e-bike rider to still exercise but with a significant boost that aids in the riding experience.
Some models have a throttle, which gets the motor going with the press of the throttle/button. They are reminiscent of the way electric scooters work, and won’t deliver a pure cycling experience. It is also important to note that they are forbidden in some municipalities in the US.
As you get familiar with the main principle of how an electric bicycle works, let us answer frequently asked questions about these vehicles that are gaining so much popularity.
How do you start using an e-bike for the first time?
As you leave the ebike store with your new means of two-wheeled electric transportation, do not rush to commute to public places with too much traffic. Just like with any other device, an e-bike requires some practice for safety reasons. Before you set off, get to know the main features and capabilities of your new electric transport. You can look through the operating instructions, investigate the manufacturer’s website, or watch reviews by its users. Then, take your e-bike on your first test drive. Think of bike routes that avoid high-traffic areas and will enable you to test the handling characteristics of it. Test your electric bicycle for its top speed, braking capacities, and its tire pressure. Information about the optimal tire pressure can be found on each bike (on the casing side of the tires). However, if you are in doubt about the technical characteristics of the bike, you should better ask your ebike company dealer for more details.
Can you ride an electric bike on the sidewalk?
You will find various sidewalk rules for e-bikes depending on the city, state, or country. But the overwhelming majority of places ban riding any bikes on the sidewalk. The sidewalk is designed for pedestrians. However, kids under 14 can ride a bike on a sidewalk if its tires are less than 61 centimeters in diameter. Given that you can only use an e-bike if you are older than 16 years, it is not allowed to ride an e-bike on the sidewalk.
For example, in Toronto, you will pay a $60 fine if you are caught riding a bike on a sidewalk. In Canada, only bicycles that have been dismounted are allowed on the sidewalks.
In Missouri, cyclists cannot ride on the sidewalk within business districts; for the rest of the areas, it is ok, but you must yield right of way to all pedestrians.
So, if you are not aware of the e-bicycle laws in your area, you should check them before you go riding around.
Do you need a Licence for an electric bike?
As long as it comes to legal issues, it is recommended to check your local bike policies, because regulations for e-bikes vary depending on the city and country.
In most countries, electric bikes follow the same regulations as bicycles without electrical power. So, normally, cyclists don’t need licenses for riding e-bikes. However, there is more in the details.
For example, in Australia, for e-bikes with 250W motor power or less, you won’t need a license. But in the state of Victoria, only electric bikes with 200W or less are allowed to be used without a license or registration.
In the USA, it depends on the state. Some states like Arizona, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and some others do not ask you for a license but have maximum power restrictions. In Alabama, an e-bike is treated equally to a moped, so they both require an M class license along with the helmet. If you are the resident of the USA, check local rules and regulations, because vehicle wattage restrictions are different from state to state.
Can you ride an electric bicycle without the battery?
If you do not need to climb steep hills, you can switch off turbo mode and use eco mode instead—to use your e-bike as a regular bicycle.
If you run out of battery in the middle of your route and do not have a spare battery pack, you can still pedal and get to your destination.
How fast can an electric bike go?
If you are riding your bike with the electric assist, you can develop faster speeds. If you are using the electric bike acceleration, you might be going at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. E-bikes are fast enough for you to put yourself into serious danger, so they require extra attention in traffic especially. Ride responsively not to become susceptible to dangerous situations.
Can I go mountain biking if I use an electronic bike?
If you enjoy mountain biking, you will need an electric mountain bike that is designed for extreme environments, like mountainous terrains. They have plenty of trail-specific tech characteristics, such as better hill climbing features and a boosted battery capacity, which allow you to go faster and farther.
Should I buy a bike with a hub or a middrive motor?
Both of them are advantageous in their own fashions, and your choice will solely depend on what benefits you find most attractive.
Hub motors almost do not require any maintenance, thanks to their enclosed systems. Hub motors will also spare your chain since the motor will be doing more of the work. The hub motor system is independent, so you will still get home if the motor fails. E-bikes with hub motors have lower prices and have been mass-produced for several years already. However, it allows only a single gear ratio. Single-speed bicycles are preferable for flatland riding. A hub motor is also heavy, which can potentially negatively affect your riding experience.
Mid-drive motors were designed later to mitigate the disadvantages from hub motors. They have an increase in gear ratios, which allows you to climb steeper hills with less effort. This type of motor is usually smaller and lighter, and can even be incorporated into the bicycle’s frame. Mid-drive motors allow using sensors on the pedal-assist systems so that the power of the motor is regulated by the power of the push on the pedals. Nevertheless, these motors are more expensive and require more maintenance.
Can you ride an e-bike in rainy weather?
The motors and batteries are weatherproof and sufficiently sealed. That is why they are protected from rain, and you can enjoy your ride without taking any risk.
Enjoy the benefits of an electric bike to go faster easily, while still having a workout. Yet, such an increase in acceleration of the two-wheeled vehicle – beloved by so many – means more responsibility. So, ride your e-bike while undertaking safety measures and use your e-device wisely.