Category Archives: E-bike Tips

The maps in the new MN Bike/Hike Guide offer many fun places to explore

Now in our 15th year of publishing the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, tied to all the information at HaveFunBiking.com, we hope you find all the bike-friendly maps helpful in planning your next adventure. To help you select your next fun outing with family and friends, we have added some suggested route options to most of the maps, along with helpful tips and interesting places to get some refreshments. So bookmark the 2024 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide so it’s ready and at your fingertips for that next bike adventure.

The MN Bike/Hike Guide is full of maps and tips for your next outdoor adventure.

Where can you find a printed copy of the MN Bike/Hike Guide?

As in the past, the Minnesota guides will continue to be available at the Minnesota Tourism Welcome Centers and many local libraries if you would like a printed copy. These handy pocket-size guides are perfect for paging -through, copying a map, or jotting down a few notes when planning your #NextBikeAdventure.

Please help us by sharing your comments on this year’s Bike/Hike Guides

We would like to hear from you as we update the guide. What do you like about the MN Guide, and how can it be improved so we can continue to add more helpful information in future editions? Please review this digital edition of the guides and share your comments with [email protected] – Thanks!

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Good luck, have fun, and share your next adventure at HaveFunBiking!

Helpful tips to consider before purchasing an e-bike

With the popularity of e-bikes (electric-assist bicycles), here are some helpful tips and questions to ask when buying a bike. The top question we have been asked here at HaveFunBiking.com, along with the price of an e-bike, is how the new government rebate program works. What are the e-bike types and styles and battery/motor options available?

This is followed by the range or distance you can expect to travel on a charge, riding in rain and snow and maintenance tips. In conclusion, after reviewing the following tips, we suggest visiting several bicycle shops that carry electric-assist bicycles to narrow down the right bike for you. Ask them specific questions we have touched on here. Then, like buying a car, test-ride the e-bike you want.

Different types  of e-bike displays in the Eco-Building at the MN State Fair

Top 10 questions asked when selecting an e-bike.

1. An e-bikes cost, and what about the Minnesota Tax Credit

Has the idea of touring by e-bike piqued your interest?

There are many variables when buying an electric assist bike, including the distance you can ride and how you will use it; the number of times you can charge the battery; its weight (bike and battery); the warranty; and whether you will need to take out a loan to finance the bike? Along with a good warranty, the quality of standard parts or upgraded parts on the electric bike can increase the price from $2,000 to $6,000 or more. Plus, having adequate insurance coverage for possible damage, theft, and liability can increase the price.

See more information on the cost of buying an e-bike here.

What’s the skinny on the MN Electric-Assisted Bicycle Rebate

The Minnesota Transportation Finance and Policy bill included a new electric bike rebate program that takes effect July 1, 2024. In the 2023 session, four million dollars were appropriated for the 2024 and 2025 calendar years. This Rebate Program will allow $2 million to be used starting July 1, 2024. Then again, consecutively, 2 million dollars for 2025 will be available until June 30, 2026.

The credit maximum is $1,500, depending on your income. To qualify, an Individual must assign the credit at the time of purchase after July 1st with an eligible retailer that is in the rebate program. If you qualify, this will reduce the cost of purchasing an e-bike. For more information on the rebate, contact your local bike shop or see Minnesota Tax Changes.

2. Consider payment options to get the right e-bike

Enjoy the Micro-Mobility experience for hauling cargo or kids.

To get an electric bike that will fit your needs over the next two to five years, find out if the bike shop or bike manufacturer (if buying online) offers a no- or low-interest loan. Some lending institutions, like Affinity Plus, offer low-interest bicycle-specific loans and let you borrow 120% of the cost of the bike, allowing you to buy accessories like helmets, locks, baskets/panniers, lights, etc.

See more information on financing here.

3. Check the bike warranty, and then insure it

Many bikes come with limited or full warranties. Typically, e-bikes may come with a 2-year warranty on parts, motors, and batteries. Some e-bike brands have a 5-year, “no questions asked” comprehensive warranty. So, learn what sort of warranty is being offered before you buy. A reputable e-bike company will have its warranty information on its website.

A warranty should be a part of the purchase price.

It is recommended that you Insure your new bike. Check if your car, renter’s, or homeowners insurance can bundle an e-bike into your policy. If not, look at an insurance company that often covers theft and collision protection for your e-bike, similar to automobile insurance. Many companies, like AAA and Velosurance, even offer roadside assistance for bicycles and e-bikes.

See more information on warranties and insuring an e-bike Here.

4. E-bike types and gear options

There are two types of motors: the wheel hub type and a center crank model pictured here.

There are so many types of e-bikes available! First, what is your primary use for buying an e-bike? Is it for commuting, hauling cargo, off-road riding, touring, or riding in winter conditions? Once you know how you will use the bike, check out the nationally defined classifications below and your state DOT statutes for e-bikes:

  • Class 1: e-bikes are pedal-assist only, no throttle, with a maximum speed of 20 mph
  • Class 2: e-bikes with pedal assist and throttle, with a maximum speed of 20 mph
  • Class 3: e-bikes are pedal-assist, with or without a throttle, with a maximum speed of 28 mph.
    Most states consider e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph “OK to use all non-motorized bike routes.”

See more on the types and speeds of e-bikes here.

5. What’s the battery’s range and life before recycling?

A centerpost battery for an electric bike
A center post battery mount is standard for many electric bike models.

The general rule is that a 36-volt, 10.5Ah (ampere-hours) battery should get 20 to 40 miles per charge, with the average weight of rider + gear & cargo being less than 200 pounds in ideal weather conditions. You’ll get fewer miles the higher the assist level you use. You may enjoy 50 miles or more on a single charge on low assist. To maximize the life of your e-bike battery, try to charge it before it is close to empty.

Recycling your battery: Call2Recycle is helping e-bike owners recycle their batteries. On the right side of their website, please type in your zip code to get a list of places that will recycle your e-bike battery when it’s time to replace it.

For a more in-depth look at how volts x amps = watts can give you an approximate range, click here.

6. Weight limits, and a size that fits you

There are many sizes and types of e-bikes and trikes to test ride.

Most manufacturers recommend a maximum combined weight of around 275 pounds for a rider and gear & cargo on an e-bike. Cargo bikes are meant to carry small people or big loads and can accommodate riders + gear up to 400 pounds or more. Typically, e-bikes can handle total weights more than described by manufacturers’ specs. However, it may reduce the range or increase maintenance, including wheel spokes repairs.

Most e-bikes weigh between 30 and 65 pounds, with the battery weighing anywhere from five to 15 pounds. The battery’s weight increases with voltage, but its capacity (range) also increases.

For more on weight limits and restrictions, click here.

7. Maintainance and your options to have your bike repaired

Like a regular bicycle, always start with an ABC’s (Air, Brake & Chain) check before you ride to maximize your e-bike investment. You should schedule a tune-up every six months or every 1,000 miles you have ridden. This will protect your warranty. Check the manufacturer’s service recommendations to what they specify.

If you’re buying an e-bike online, see what sort of repair service or online support the company provides, or make sure your local or favorite bike shop can fix the electrical components of the e-bike you select. Bikes with Bosch drivetrain systems are well respected and offer the following information for care and longevity. 

For more information on maintaining our preparing an e-bike, click here.

8. Riding an e-bike in the rain or snow

E-bikes work well year-round.

Like most standard bicycles, E-bikes are water-resistant and can be used in most weather conditions. You may need accessories (like rain gear or studded tires) to ride safely. Most e-bike models also provide a high-quality, water-resistant casing to protect your battery when wet and cold. You can ride an e-bike at any temperature, but the colder it is, the more it may impact the battery’s range. Bring your battery (or the entire bike + battery) inside if you’re not riding it. Do not leave the battery on the bike if parking the e-bike outside at any time in the winter.

Click here for more information on riding an e-bike in rain or snow.

9. Keeping your new e-bike safe and secure

To protect your e-bike investment, consider using a U-lock with a cable lock when locking your bike outside (also recommended for indoor public storage areas). Another anti-theft device to consider is a GPS track tag. Ask your local bike shop for their recommendations. Again, having adequate insurance coverage for possible damage, theft, and liability is wise.

For more information on securing your e-bike, click here.

 10. What else should I do before purchasing?

A test ride should be part of the plan indoors or out before purchasing.

Have fun and test-ride the e-bike(s) you want to focus on. One of the essential parts of buying an e-bike is taking the model(s) you are most interested in for a test ride. Like buying a car, test-ride the e-bike will help you finalize your decision once you have narrowed the selection down. Visit several bicycle shops that carry the e-bike brands you are most interested in. So grab your helmet and go for a test ride. Consider these questions while test-riding that new e-bike:

  • Does the e-bike fit the way I like it to
  • Do I feel comfortable on the e-bike climbing hills
  • And finally, is the quality and functionality over everything I expected while riding?

Now that you are back from your test ride, does the e-bike you like fit into your budget, and does it have a warranty? An e-bike is a significant investment, whether $1,500 or $10,000. So, with a warranty, you can rest assured that your investment is well covered. For more information on scheduling a test ride, click here.

Have fun on your new e-bike. We would enjoy hearing about your experiences here at HaveFunBiking!

With an e-bike, it’s easy to bring along your faithful friend or haul cargo.

Bicycle theft prevention to keep your e-bike secure

by John Brown

Bikes in general, are stolen often, but for a thief in today’s crazy world, an electric bike is the crown jewel. With e-bikes, normally a larger investment here are some bicycle theft prevention ideas to consider. To protect your bicycle investment, consider using a combination of a U-lock, or cable lock, along with a GPS-tracking air tag. You could also take the bike inside a building with you or use a mobile bike storage locker for storing your bike. Using a combination of the above locks will deter a thief. And with a GPS tracking device attached will help you retrieve your bike if it is stolen.

Types of bicycle theft prevention

Not all situations require the same level of security. Also, there isn’t a lock in existence that a motivated person can’t get open.  Therefore, there are many different types of locks for different situations. Picking the right lock should dissuade a potential thief from even trying to take your bike.

U-Lock

U-locks are a good bicycle theft prevention tool.

The most reliable bike locks are U-locks. They consist of a steel bar bent in a ‘U’ shape that fits into a straight locking mechanism. These locks are also resistant to bolt cutters and hacksaws, and a potential thief would need a lot of uninterrupted time and powerful tools to get through one. Many U-locks offer an insurance program where the lock manufacturer will pay you to replace your bike if it is stolen. All you have to do is register your bike.

Chains

Chain locks are also popular. While some chains can be cut with bolt cutters, some versions rival the strongest U-locks in durability. Chains use hardened steel links and padlocks to keep your bike secure and offer much flexibility in what you can lock your bike to. Look for versions that have some better covering over the chain (either rubber or fabric), because it goes a long way in protecting the finish of your bicycle.

Cables

The least secure lock is a cable lock. Cable locks use steel cables with a built-in key or combination mechanisms to secure your bike. These locks are great for stopping someone from grabbing your bike and running off with it. But if a thief is prepared and motivated, they can cut through these locks in a few seconds. However, cables do offer the greatest flexibility in what you can lock your bike to.

GPS air tag devices and alarms

In combination with a bike lock, an external bike alarm system with GPS tracking capabilities is another option. For less than $60, the Apple Airtag, and Knog scout alarm and tracker are a coule options. And easy to mount under the bike saddle, or other places on the frame,

There are a lot of pros and cons to these devices, But for the price, I say it’s just an extra chance for recovery. Intalled inconspicuously, these tracking/internal bicycle alarm systems combine with a bicycle lock adds to the chance you are going to get your bicycle back if stolen.

Secure indoor bike storage options

First and foremost, secure indoor storage is best! Especially in an area that stays above freezing, if you have an e-bike to protect its battery. If any of your bikes will be stored in a public area of your building, please use one of the bike lock systems above.

Safe, weatherproof storage lockers are like a garage for your bike.

Bike lockers are another bicycle theft prevention option and are available at many municipalities’ Park & Ride lots, near bus stops, and other community locations. Check your city’s website for a location near you. In Minneapolis, see info on Metro Transits bike lockers,

How to Lock

Location, Location, Location

First and foremost: Lock your bike in a secure location. The ideal location is in plain sight with a lot of traffic. The more conspicuous a thief needs to be stealing your bike, the lower the chance is of them trying to take it. And always remember to lock your bike to something secure. For example, a parking meter might look secure, but if an industrious thief has removed the hardware that secures the meter to the post, they can quickly slide your bicycle and lock up the post and be on their way. So search for immovable objects like a bike rack that’s bolted to the ground.

lock it up rack booby trap

This bike rack was cut and taped back together by a bike thief. Be sure what you lock to is secure.

Protect Your Bike Parts

Bikes are built with quick-release wheels and seats. It’s fine to lock the frame, but a thief might just take a front or rear wheel if available. If you use a cable or chain, lace it through both wheels, the frame, and whatever you’re locking the bike to. If you’re using a U-lock, then remove the front wheel and place it next to the rear wheel. Then capture both wheels and the frame when you lock it up. Many manufacturers make component-specific locks that secure your wheels or seat to the bicycle frame.

Lock it up Frame and QR lock

Frame locks and locks that replace your wheel’s quick-release levers are common on commuter bicycles

If you follow these tips, then you’ll be on your way to making sure your bike isn’t stolen, and it’ll be one less thing for you to worry about.

If it is stolen, a GPS tracking device may help you get your bike back

Even with the best security measures, nothing is 100% theft-proof. With thefts unfortunately a sad reality of bicycle ownership, a tracker could help provide some peace of mind – and the means to find your bike – should the worst happen. Bicycle trackers are an emerging technology that allows riders to locate their bike, usually through a dedicated app. following a GPS chip.

About John Brown, the author

As a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinkerer, John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit him, and that particular fever is still there. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. Starting, like most, sweeping floors and learning anything he could about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then as a store manager. Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the bike of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts, or just share your latest ride. You can also see more of John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.
While I can’t stop the cold from hitting Minnesota, I can prepare for winter riding. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the winter.

Prepare for winter riding with these fun, easy cold weather tips

by John Brown, 

I can’t fight it any longer; my powers of denial are only so strong. Despite my best efforts, a change is coming, and I can do nothing to stop it. That’s right, winter is here. We just experienced a real cold snap, and snow is coming. While I can’t stop the cold elements from hitting Minnesota, I can prepare for cold weather riding. Here are a few tips to prepare your bike and body for the rest of the winter season here in the upper Midwest.

Is your bike set for winter riding?

Even though your bike will function perfectly in cool weather, there are things you should do to protect it and yourself from the elements.

Lubricants

Not too much care needs to be taken for the sealed parts of your bike, like the hubs, bottom bracket, or headset. Those places are well-greased and sealed from the elements, so there is no need to change the type of grease. What you do need to be concerned with is the chain. It’s best to switch from dry, or wax lubes to synthetic oil (like Park’s CL-1) for winter riding.

Lubing your chain is easy with a wax based lube or synthetic oil.

Frame

For most of the United States, winter roads mean salt. That salt can play havoc with your frame and components. The best way to protect your frame from corrosion is to install fenders. A plastic fender is impervious to salt damage and can stop salt from reaching your frame. Additionally, Fenders keep you dry when moisture is on the road and clean from any debris your tires kick up.

Tires

Thanks to rain, snow, and less road maintenance, there is an elevated amount of debris on the roads during the winter riding season. Coupled with lower temperatures that make tires stiffer, flats are more prevalent in winter. For these reasons, I encourage you to get some “winter tires.” By “Winter tires,” I mean something with a pronounced tread and a puncture-resistant feature. With more tread and protection against flats, you can confidently ride through the winter months. Investing in studded tires is also a good plan if you live in an area that gets below freezing and stays there for several days. For Fatbikes or Mountain Bikes, you can invest in aftermarket studs that thread into your existing tire.

This tire has a reinforced layer (orange) that prevents most flats

Lights

Winter is as dark as it is cold. Therefore, having some additional visibility is important. If you are riding on well-lit roads or paths, blinkers that make you more visible are perfect. In contrast, if your route is not well-lit, I recommend getting a headlight with at least 100 lumens. That light will allow you to see safely.

Your Body and winter riding

For you, dealing with winter riding is simply the basics of keeping you comfortable. As the winter rolls on, you will need to use different amounts of insulation to keep you warm. In early fall, knee warmers and a long sleeve jersey will offer ample warmth but as the temperature drops, knee warmers make way to tights and long sleeve jerseys are eclipsed by jackets. For a complete overview of temperature vs. clothing, check out our article on winter clothing.

prepare for winter riding

This “Rider” has his arm and knee warmers (blue) on

The ride

Riding in the winter is amazing if you are prepared. It’s incredible because there is a calm and quietness to winter that cannot be replicated during any other season. While it may sound difficult or unenjoyable to ride during the cold days of the winter, it is that fear others have that allows you to have most of the trails, all to yourself. Start slow and build up. As an example, try to ride until the temps reach 40 degrees. That temperature requires little additional clothing, and will keep most others off their bike. For the following season, try riding down to freezing and so on.

If all else fails

AAA Road Service now includes bicycles, it like have a SAG in your back pocket and a call away.

AAA Road Service now includes bikes. It’s like having a SAG in your back pocket.

Because winter riding puts you out into the elements, breaking down can be dangerous. Rather than getting yourself stuck in a bad situation, make sure to tell others where you will be and have a contact you can call for a ride home. If you don’t want to rely on a friend for a ride, you can always buy a AAA Road Service membership, with three-inexpensive options, that includes your bike. Its like having a SAG service in your back pocket, if you have a flat or break a chain, call and they will come a get you.

About John Brown, the author

John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN as a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinkerer. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit, and that fever is still there. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. Starting, like most, sweeping floors and learning anything he could about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then to a store manager.  Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the bike of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts or share your latest ride. You can also see John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.
Bike commuting is an easy way to increase fitness, jump start your energy level, and enjoy nature. Read and learn about what you need to commute in comfort.

Make a resolution? It could be your best bike year ever!

By John Brown,

After all the presents are opened, and the last cookies disappear, many of us focus on the year ahead. More specifically, many of us begin the annual task of developing New Year’s resolutions for ourselves. Why not resolve to make this year your best year for bike riding by starting now?

Get ready for the bike season

For most of us, the season doesn’t begin in earnest until April 1st. Coincidentally, April 1st is also the first day of the 30 days of biking pledge. Therefore, why not take the next three months to prepare for April’s goal of thirty days of bicycle riding?

A happy rider having completed his 30-days of Biking

It’s been proven countless times – the mind drives the body! I find it a great way to get my mind ready for a goal is to share that goal with others. For me, once I tell others about my plans. I am making a deal with myself that it is a real thing. Once your goal is real, begin clearing your schedule for it.

Get your body ready for the bike

Make a training plan now. Your plan can be as simple as committing to ride two times a week or as detailed as planning the mileage, date, and time. Just be sure that your plans match your goal (for example, riding for only one hour a week wouldn’t give you the fitness you need to ride two hours a day through April).

Minnesota is sometimes locked in a winter freeze, with abundant snow, so conditions may not coincide with your availability to ride outdoors. But keeping yourself physically active is paramount for this time of year, and it’s especially crucial for your training. You can go snowshoeing, running, swimming, cross-country skiing, indoor riding (on a trainer), take spin classes, or anything that raises your heartbeat.

best year of riding

Indoor rides can be fun with the right group.

There is no better indoor exercise to ensure on-bike fitness than riding on a bike trainer. Spin gyms, training centers, and bike shops run classes a few times a week. Look into what programs are available in your community.

How to fit riding into your daily routine

Most people don’t have time to do the things they need to do (like that home project you swore you would finish last summer). So, how do you fit in time to get in shape? First, try not to add too much separate riding time to your schedule. Instead, commute to work by bike. Drive or take the bus part of the way and ride the rest. A normal 30-minute drive could turn into a 15-minute drive, and the rest can be done on your bike with a little planning. That way, you only add 15 to 20 minutes to your schedule and still get a ride in. Do it in the morning and the evening, and you buy an hour of riding while only adding up to 40 minutes to your daily schedule.

Try riding your bike to the grocery store rather than driving once a week. A trip to the store, library, or other short errands within a few miles from home can also work.

Also, if you have an indoor trainer, ride for one hour a night while watching TV rather than sitting on the couch. It may seem counter-intuitive, but being active is a great way to wind down from a busy day. You will find you sleep better and generally feel more relaxed.

Get your bike equipment ready early

Bring your bike out of hibernation and put air in the tires. Take it for a spin around the block and check to see if it’s functioning properly. Take it to your favorite bike shop early for servicing. April 1st is smack dab when many people consider riding their bikes. If you wait until the last minute to drop your bike off for service, chances are, you will be waiting longer than you like. Click the  (link) here to read about some of the benefits of servicing your bike in the winter.

best year of riding

This rider is looking for speed, but a good bike fit can benefit any rider!

If you bring your bike in for service, think about making sure your bike fits you properly. A professional bike fit will lower the chance of repetitive motion injuries and make you more comfortable and efficient. While you’re having your bike serviced and fit, you can also find the right clothing and accessories for the year ahead.

The weather in April can be a mixed bag, so dress in layers. Make sure your clothing options include something to keep you comfortable in the sun, rain, snow, wind, or cold.

The First step

The longest journey begins with a single step, which should be taken early in January.  Getting started right away is a huge moral booster for the goal of having your best year of bike riding ever!

Bike Events and races

Another option this winter is to look at all the events leading up to April to stay in shape.

About John Brown, the author

John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN, as a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinker. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit him; that fever is still there. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. He was starting by sweeping the shop floor while learning anything he could about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then a store manager. Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the bike of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts or share your latest ride. You can also see more of John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.
This Bike Pic Thursday, we caught this biker chick out having fun along the Minnesota River bottoms near Bloomington, MN.

Can I ride an electric bike when it’s cold or wet?

Electric bikes can be used in cold or wet weather like most standard bicycles. However, you may need some accessories (like rain gear or studded tires for winter) to ride safely. Most e-bike models also provide a high-quality, water-resistant casing to protect your battery when wet and cold. You can ride an e-bike at any temperature, but the colder it is, the more it may impact the battery’s range. So bring your battery (or the entire bike + battery) inside if you’re not riding it, if possible. Do not leave the battery on the bike if parking the e-bike outside in the winter at any time.

Riding an e-bike in cold weather

This Monday mornings bike pic shows the wet road surfaces after another round of rain shower last night, hope you are staying dry!

STAYING DRY WHILE RIDING IN THE RAIN

An electric bike’s system, including the motor, battery pack, display, and connection points, is usually designed with closed units to accommodate wet weather. This protects the electrical system from getting wet while riding in the rain. The key distinction here is that e-bikes are water-resistant but not waterproof. So, for this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid heavily flooded roads, streams, and deep puddles that could submerge your bike’s electrical components.

As electric bikes might have different limitations and wade depths, you may need to refer to your owner’s manual or check with your manufacturer for the IP rating of your bike first. If you live in an area that experiences frequent wet weather, you’ll want to make water resistance a top factor in your purchase decision.

Riding an e-bike with ice and snow conditions

riding an e-bike fatty in inclement weather

Yes, you can ride your e-bike in the winter. However, riding in extreme cold, snow, and icy conditions will require a bit more maintenance, protection, and care.  With advancements in tire technology and clothing warmth, there are fewer reasons not to take your electric bicycle out and enjoy the winter season. All e-bikes can handle winter riding, but the wider the tire, the better, especially if studs can be installed on your bike’s tire for icy conditions. That said, you must follow the key points below to ensure you enjoy riding your bike during the winter.

Use the right type of tire

Like a regular bike you might use for winter riding, the tires that come with your electric bicycle are great for most dry pavement riding, but not winter. Maneuvering a bicycle (with or without a motor) requires a tire that handles ice and snow. Then add studs to those winter tires, transforming your e-bike into a fantastic winter vehicle! Great for riding on plowed roads and for hard-packed or icy conditions. If you are looking at a fat tire e-bike for winter riding, ask the dealer if studs can be added to the tires on that bike.

Battery Care

  • A centerpost battery for an electric bike

    A CENTER POST BATTERY MOUNT IS COMMON FOR MANY ELECTRIC BIKE MODELS

The general rule with a 36 volt, 10.5Ah (ampere-hours) battery should get 20 to 40 miles per charge with the average weight of rider + gear & cargo less than 200 pounds in ideal weather conditions. You’ll get fewer miles the higher the assist level you use. You might get 60 miles or more on a single charge on the low assist. To maximize the life of your e-bike battery, try to charge it when it’s near empty. Then, ride your e-bike a lot and charge it often.

Before charging, make sure your battery is in a room above freezing. Otherwise, you could harm the cells. It is no problem to ride the bike in below-freezing conditions (it doesn’t harm the battery). However, make sure you let the battery warm up slowly before charging. When riding an e-bike in very cold weather, you will notice a drop in power and range. Don’t worry; this is normal and expected when riding an e-bike in the winter.

It’s good to know the battery life and performance in cold weather of your e-bike. If you intend to commute to work or use the bike for a backcountry experience, test it out to determine the change in range with colder temps. And the steps you would take to ensure continued performance. For instance, purchasing a neoprene e-bike battery cover might be an option. Also, if you stop midway on your journey to warm up, bring the battery inside whenever you aren’t riding. This will keep the battery’s temperature up and give you extra power!

Avoid riding through slush

Riding your electric bike through snow is not only possible, but it’s also super fun! (See the Pedego video below for proof) What’s not fun is riding through slush. The watery, salty snow splashes up your gears and can seep into hard-to-reach areas, causing rust to form. If you must ride through slush, wipe the entire bike down, lube the chain, etc. Afterward, try to store your bike in a warm, dry location.

Don’t let winter pass you by; prepare your e-bike for Nordic fun!

Reflectors are forms of passive visibility, while lights are great for active visibility. Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.

Five Tips for a Memorable Fall Bike Ride

by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com

Bike riding in the fall can come with many challenges and, at the same time, be very gratifying. For some, the bicycle season may be winding down. In contrast, many others wish to continue to explore the incredible autumn landscape on their favorite mode of transportation, the bike. Pedaling along the colorful autumn roads or trails is so breathtaking that I will admit that fall bike riding is one of my favorite times to ride. Not too hot, not too cold, and there are fewer insects once the first frost hits.

If you plan to ride and enjoy the colorful foliage this fall, check out these top tips before heading out.

Fall Bike Ride Tip 1: Layer It Up

For fall bike riding layering your clothing is key.

For fall bike riding, layering your clothing is critical.

The temperature fluctuation can be confusing when you want to get dressed and go biking. The thermometer in the morning can show temps like 47 or 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, by the afternoon, the temperature could be in the low to mid-70s! The best way to combat this is by wearing multiple layers you can easily remove and put back to find your comfort level of warmth. When layering, a good rule of thumb is whatever you decide to put on last will be the first thing you’d want to take off!

Pro Tip: Start while still slightly chilly. As you ride, you’ll warm up, and that chilliness will go away. However, bring an extra layer in case you stop along the way! You want to stay warm when you’re not riding.

Not sure what to do for layering? Check out our article about how to layer, why it’s beneficial, and what to wear.

Fall Bike Riding Tip 2: Beware of Wet Leaf Piles

The falling leaves are gorgeous, and leaf piles can be fun. However, a wet, crunchy leaf pile can be a hazard when riding your bike through it. Not only can water splash upwards onto your bike and legs, but the bike tires can slip on the leaves. When leaves are wet, they become slick or slippery. With a standard bike tire normally thinner, it has less coverage area for surface tension. A bike can slip out from under you if the leaves you are riding over slip away or get stuck in the tire.

Luckily, this is less of a problem if you have a fat bike or a mountain bike. The larger tires add more traction to the surface, making them less likely to slip. Even with the lesser likelihood of slipping, caution should still be used.

Fall Bike Riding Tip 3: Stay Visible

For fall bike riding high visible clothing and saddle bag gear are easier for motorists to see.

For fall bike riding, high-visible clothing and saddle bag gear are more accessible for motorists.

Dusk is coming earlier and earlier as the fall season continues. This means the evening intrudes on some great riding opportunities in the daylight. In contrast, some days will be saved temporarily when we fall backward an hour on Sunday, November 5th this year. The time change can still negatively affect cyclists.

Also, when times change, it can affect a person’s sleeping routine, leading to a lack of sleep. This sleep deprivation may make people less attentive while driving or riding a bike. You would think that people would sleep in, being the 5th is on a Sunday, decreasing the number of accidents. However, cyclists and other pedestrians should be aware and extra cautious for the next few days. Why? Because people need time to adjust to the time change. According to a study done in Sleep Medicine and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, it has been found that there is a significant increase in fatal accidents following the changes in daylight savings time when it occurs on a Sunday or Monday.

This means that staying visible is even more critical than usual. This isn’t limited to the morning but throughout the day, whether on the road or trail.

You can do this in several ways, depending on what you are comfortable doing. Plus, the more you do, the more you increase your visibility.

Wear Light or Neon Colored Clothing

Wearing bright colors will make you stand out. If someone doesn’t see you begin with, the color will catch their attention, and they will find it easier to keep tabs on where you are. On the other hand, wearing dark colors isn’t recommended. Dark colors can blend into the dark and reduce your visibility. Natural dyes can also blend you into the background or sidelines, making you less visible.

Wear Reflective Clothing

Reflective clothing is a must when cycling in the early morning before there is much daylight or in the evening. This way, when the headlights on a car shine on you, you’re immediately recognized.

Add Lights to Your Bike

For fall bike riding add bike light front and back to be more noticeable.

Add bike light front and back for fall bike riding to be more noticeable.

Did you know it’s a law to have lights on your bike? You have to do it, but you should do it because you’re interested in protecting yourself and staying safe.

It’s important to note that lights aren’t required for daytime riding. However, since we never know when it might get dark out, and we can’t plan for all those times when we ride late at night, it’s essential to have a light handy. If it’s already attached to your bike, then it’s something you don’t have to worry about!

Unfortunately, there are no excuses if you get pulled over by a police officer for riding in dark conditions without one. Every state might have slightly different bike-light laws (with many similarities). For bike laws and more about lighting here in Minnesota, The Department of Transportation has a condensed document to review.

Fall Bike Riding Tip  4: Check Your Tire Pressure and Tires

As discussed earlier, leaves can hide different items that can puncture your tire. It’s not always avoidable, so you must check your tires occasionally. This shouldn’t be limited to the fall and winter but should be checked every time before you begin riding. Doing this allows you to catch any problems sooner rather than later.

Another thing to check is tire pressure. While fall isn’t as cold as winter, the cold can still alter the tire pressure. So, checking the tire pressure before each ride is best.

Fall Bike Riding Tip 5: The Usual Tools

Remember to bring the basic repair tools for your bike adventures! If anything happens, you will want to ensure you have all the necessary supplies to fix it. To know these, check out our article about the tools you should have for any ride.

With these tips, you’re sure to have a great and safe extended season as you continue to ride your bike through autumn.

Keep safe, have fun, and ride on!

Buying a new e-bike, test ride tips before making a purchase

by John Brown,

The best way to find the right bicycle is to research on the web before an e-bike test ride and purchase. Then verify their size to your body and test riding your choices a lot at a bike shop. With so many options, here are some tips to make the best use of your time while test-riding these bikes. Please read on for a complete list of suggestions to have fun and maximize your time on that next test ride.

Research plan before the e-bike test ride

Any suitable test ride begins with research. Like a regular bicycle, check out the latest e-bikes you would like on the websites of several brands. Please pay close attention to the prices of each e-bike and what it will buy you. Then, with a  check of the standard components (number of gears, type of suspension, tire size, frame material, and brake type), pay attention to the motor and battery size. Once you have a general sense of what is available, you can plan a trip to the bike shop.

Pick a shop

Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Before looking further, call a shop closest to you and verify they have the e-bike models you want to test ride.

Now, give your local or favorite dealers a call with a few bikes on your target list. If you don’t have a favorite shop, most brands’ websites have a dealer locator to help you find the closest shop. Call them to verify that they have the models you want to test ride. Not all shops can stock every possible model in every possible size. So call to ensure they have the correct model in a size close to what you are looking for.

Make a date to test ride.

Check the weather and your schedule, then pick a good time to head into the shop. Keep in mind that shops and roads are less busy during the workweek. Therefore, Monday thru Friday is the ideal time to test ride bikes. If you need to go in on the weekend, call ahead and see when they are least busy and make an appointment if possible.

Bring your ID

When test-riding bikes, you are potentially borrowing thousands of dollars from the shop. Therefore, it’s expected for shops to ask for some form of collateral. At the minimum, bring your ID and a major credit card.

The test ride

Test rides don’t need to take hours, but a three-minute spin is rarely enough time to make an accurate impression. Expect to take at least 15 minutes on each bike, with more time spent on the first few bikes you ride. When riding, try to focus on how the bike accelerates, how easily it changes direction, and how stable it feels. A great way to do this is to pick a set route with some flat area, some climbs, and at least one good descent. Riding the same course with different bikes makes comparing them easier.

Narrow the bike selection down

Once you get a feel for a few bikes, you can start narrowing down your choices. I find it best to pick two and then ride them back to back, concentrating on fit and comfort rather than speed and stability. Have the shop begin dialing in your fit on these two bicycles to see which one is the best for you. Once you have a bike that rides well and fits well, you are ready to buy.

Buy everything you will need

A bike that feels right is crucial in a great bike ride, but it’s not everything. Remember that your new bicycle or e-bike may need things like a water bottle cage, kickstand, lights, and maybe clipless pedals, or a better-fitting saddle. Consider all the situations you may run into on your new bike and buy the necessary products.

Hopefully, your next bike purchase will be fun and informative.

For added security e-bike insurance is a wise add-on

If you have recently purchased or looking at buying an electric assist bike, e-bike insurance is a wise consideration. First, check your car, renter’s, or homeowners insurance and see if the e-bike can be bundled into your existing policy. If not, look at an insurance company that often covers theft and collision protection, similar to automobile insurance, for your e-bike. Because e-bikes are a relatively new trend, there aren’t many insurance companies on the market. There are a few companies that also offer roadside assistance for bicycles and e-bikes.

The Importance of E-bike Insurance

From an insurance standpoint, electric assist bicycles pose a unique challenge. Most assume their homeowner’s or umbrella insurance policies extend to their e-bikes. As this is true for “human-powered” or pedal bicycles, adding a motor to the bike makes it a “motorized vehicle.” This might exclude it from coverage on standard homeowners, renters, or umbrella policy. Where you might need an insurance policy designed for the e-bike.

A good e-bike insurance policy brings added comfort.

It’s risky for your e-bike to be uninsured, and a stand-alone electric bicycle insurance policy will fit your specific needs. This will not only protect your assets but will protect your e-bike investment if it is damaged or stolen.

A good policy should offer the following protections:

  • Property coverage to protect your electric bike if it is damaged in an accident or stolen
  • Medical coverage for the bicyclist (yourself) in case of an accident
  • A Liability clause covers any injury or property damage that you might cause to another person in case of an accident.
  • And, Underinsured motorist insurance,
Please note. Unlike other types of insurance, liability insurance policies pay third parties and not policyholders.

Roadside assistance for your e-bike may be available

What do you do when stranded on the side of the road with a flat bicycle tire and can’t fix it? If you have a roadside assistance policy, they will pick you up and transport you to your home or bike shop. Along with AAA, Velosurance is another company that offers roadside assistance for bicycles and e-bikes.

An added prevention measure to keep your e-bike safe

Bikes, in general, are stolen often, but for a thief, stealing an e-bike is the crown jewel. With e-bikes normally, a more significant investment here is some bicycle theft prevention ideas to consider. To protect your e-bike investment, consider using a U-lock with a cable lock or bike lock alarm. You could also take the bike inside a building with you or use a mobile bike storage locker for storing your e-bike. There are also some modern ways with GPS tracking devices to help you retrieve your bike if stolen.

See more on “What’d the right type of e-bike for me.”

What’s an e-bike battery’s range and its life cycled?

Estimating the distance your e-bike can travel per charge is called range. This is an important specification to pay attention to when comparing a specific e-bike battery with your desired riding style. For example, if your commute involves steep climbs, you don’t want to run the battery low halfway up the hill. Without power (volts), an e-bike can be an uncomfortable mode of transportation that demands more energy for the cyclist to pedal. So the range of an electric bike generally depends on the following.

The e-bike battery’s range is volts x amp-hours = watts

Here a center mount e-bike-battery is storing the watts for the range

Most e-bikes now come with Lithium-ion batteries that typically last for over 1,000 complete charge cycles. Maybe more with these helpful tips, as the battery is generally a third of the cost of an e-bike. To get the right battery, think volts x amp = watt-hours. Volts are the “force” pushing an amp through the system. The higher the voltage, the more energy the motor can move. This is perfect for quicker starts or climbing hills. The amp hours (AH) measure the volume of the electrons. Figuratively, the AH measure describes the flow of the electric current going to the motor.

Has the idea of using an electric bike, called an e-bike, piqued your interest? If so you are in luck, the E-bike Challenge is coming to Minneapolis, MN.

Here the e-bike battery is mounted on the back rack

Now, multiply the volts by the amps, and you will get the true measurement to feminine the range you can expect from a full charge. h

Here is a general guide listing some of the sizes to the riding distances you could expect under ‘normal’ riding conditions on a full charged battery:
· 36V 10.5Ah battery  – 16 to 32 miles (26-51 km)
· 36V 17.5Ah battery  – 25 to 52 miles (41-85 km)
· 48V 10.4Ah battery  – 21 to 42 miles (34-68 km)
· 48V 14Ah battery –     30 to 56 miles (45-90 km)
· 52V 10.5Ah battery –  23 to 46 mph (37-74 km)
· 52V 17.5Ah battery –  40 to 76 mph (61-122 km)

Please note: the above distances can vary greatly depending on conditions (on the riders weight or rider, accessories, and cargo being hauled, along with the hills, temperature, and wind). Still, they might be helpful as a rough rule of thumb to compare against manufacturer claims.

E-bike battery cost

Speaking of batteries, replacing them, or riding with a second battery can cost you around $250 to $550. The price mainly relies on the amount of Wh or energy stored in the battery. Currently, that’s not bad since you only need to replace your battery(s) every three to five years. The more well-maintained the battery is, the longer it’ll last.