Welcome. We're your premier source for fun places to explore by bicycle or on foot. Offering guides, maps and articles on road and trail riding for the novice to seasoned cyclist - helping you find your #NextBikeAdventure
Here in this bike pic, we see more and more people around the world looking at and taking an e-bike out for a test ride. For those who may need a little, electric assistance on their #NextBikeAdventure it may be time to visit your favorite bike shop and test ride an e-bike to continue your commute to work or for that next bike tour.
Get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. And now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.
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Now rolling through our 18th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, our goal is to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.
Do you have a fun bicycle-related photo of yourself or someone you may know we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the pic was shot? Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.
As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure. Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile-friendly as we enter into our 13th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.
Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends, and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.
Have a great day with a safe, and memorable year ahead!
You have probably tried or read about electric-assist bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes. With many improvements, the past couple of years, this type of bicycle has grown in popularity around the world. So what exactly is a pedal-assist bicycle?
Simply by pedaling, instead of using a twist or thumb throttle, you activate the motor to help turn the drive-train. If you are curious and would like to check them out, stop by a local bike shop or visit the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis, on April 2 & 3 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Either option, here are some questions you may want to ask when test riding.
Fun test riding opportunities at the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis
First, how would you use an electric-assist bike
commuting to work, running errands, or hauling cargo
maybe bike touring
spending more time on off-road trails
or assist with a disability or rehabbing after an injury?
Then ask yourself
will an e-bike make it easier for me to stay active
make it more enjoyable, especially when dealing with hills and headwinds
help so I can keep up with friends who ride faster?
Because electric bike technology is progressing quickly both the batteries and motors are lighter to allow you a better range between charges. Today there are bikes for every conceivable application from hauling cargo to making a climb up a mountain bike trail, a breeze.
Choose an e-bike for your style of bicycle riding
With so many e-bikes on the market today, design options vary to fit different people and their preferences of use. So it’s up to you to decide what is most important. Is it the ease of riding; the cost; maintenance, dependability, and range – or all the above?
Test ride an electric-assist bike
Now that you have answered some of the questions, visit a few bike shops or the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis and test ride them. There you will see all the latest brands and models available to ride on the mammoth indoor test track.
One of the most important and fun parts of buying an electric bike is taking the most interested models out for a test ride. Just like buying a car, once you have narrowed the selection down, a test ride will help you finalize your decision.
Visiting several bicycle shops that carry the e-bike brands you are most interested in will allow you to put aside skeptics, reviews, and research. Helping you answer the most basic question, which e-bike do I love the most?
So put on your helmet and go for a ride. Check your list, then test-ride the best electric bike for you. Also, don’t forget to bring your driver’s license and a credit card along. Some shops may require you to leave your identification card with them. Or, they may want to swipe your credit card if some damage happens on your test ride.
Does the electric bike you are looking at climb hills, haul cargo, or help you keep up with friends the way you expect?
While test riding an e-bike:
does the bike climb hills the way you need it to
will the e-bike fit you the way you would like it to
And finally, while riding, is the quality and functionality what you expected?
Now that you are back from your test ride, does the e-bike you like the best fit into your budget, and is there a warranty? Buying an electric bike is a significant investment, regardless of whether the e-bike is $1,500 or $10,000. Make sure the purchase comes with a warranty so you can rest assured that your investment is somewhat covered. Two-year warranties on parts, motor, and battery (with no exclusions for regular use) are reasonable to expect from most electric bike manufacturers.
Most of these questions can be answered at the bike shop that carries the model you are interested in buying. Or have the experts at the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis answer those questions. So, make your list and come prepared to test ride some of the best e-bikes available in the market.
The idea of strapping a motor to a bicycle is nothing new. In fact, the first internal combustion engine bicycle was launched in 1885. As the bicycle industry moved forward into the next century, bikes with motors became motorcycles. But, the call for some sort of bicycle, powered by a motor, has never faded away. In recent years bicycles called E-bikes or electric-assist bikes have emerged to fill that void. Now as battery technology matures there are many options you can choose from when looking to buy an electric bike. Read on for some tips on choosing the right E-bike for you.
Motor options for E-bikes
At the heart of any E-bike is its motor. Motors usually break down into two types; Hub motors and Center motors.
Hub motor systems
These options replace either the front or rear hub with an electric motor. The front motor systems are usually an aftermarket system designed to change a standard bicycle into an electric bike. While these systems aren’t used commonly on stock E-bikes, they are another option if you have a bike you love and want to add some battery power. Rear motor systems replace the rear hub with a motor. Additionally, some rear hub systems incorporate the motor and battery into the rear wheel. Some of the benefits of a hub motor system are that they don’t put any additional strain on the chain or gears of a bicycle. The cost might also be a factor.
The GeoOrbital (bottom left) and Copenhagen (top left) wheels are aftermarket hub motor options, while the DHM (right) bicycle comes complete with a rear motor wheel.
The Center motor systems
This has become the most popular option for a completed E-bikes in today’s market. A center motor bicycle is purposely built to accept a motor in the center of the frame where a normal bikes pedal crank would go. With two major E-motor manufacturers, either Bosch or Shimano, most bicycle brands build their bikes around one of these two systems. Center motors are usually about 50% more efficient than hub motors and produce more torque. This allows the center motor to have a better range and ride quality. Also, when removing a wheel for transport or fixing a flat, a center motor system is far easier than a hub motor.
Here this center motor Raleigh E-MTB is perfect for the off-road trail.
The battery for an E-Bike
E-bikes usually use a battery located in one of two places, over the rear wheel or on/in the frame’s downtube. The batteries use a series of Lithium-ion cells to maximize motor power while keeping the system light. When comparing batteries, the power is measured in Watt Hours, with larger batteries having more Watt-Hours, equaling a longer mileage range.
Rear Battery (left) and a downtube mounted battery (center and right)
How the E-bikes works
Most E-bikes come equipped with pedal assist for added power when pedaling. However, there are few models that also offer a thumb or twist throttle for an added boost when you need it. With only the pedal-assist made most E-bikes only offer power when you need it. Therefore, if you are riding along a flat path or downhill, the E-bike will not offer much in the way of assistance. However, if you are riding against a headwind, along rolling terrain, or uphill, the E-bike’s motor will kick in and assist you when the going gets tough. Additionally, most systems are adjustable, allowing you to customize the level of assistance you may need.
Bosch and Shimano are the two E-bikes motor manufactures.
Range between charges
Determining the range of an E-bike is difficult due to the fact that the motor only engages when needed. As an example, someone riding a bike on a 45-mile trip that is half downhill and the other half on flat ground might finish their ride with plenty of battery left. On the other hand, a route selected that is 15 miles long but full of steep hills could burn through a fully charged battery sooner. So the published information for any E-bikes range is a bit of a guess. On the bright side, these guesses are consistent across most brands, so the range is still a good way to compare brands.
Buying an E-bike
The best place to start your E-bike buying education is at your favorite bike shop. Usually, I recommend doing some research about various brands before starting a search, but with E-bikes, the ride is more important than the stats. For E-bikes more than any other bike, the sum is greater than the parts, so ride the bikes! In fact, ride as many of the bikes as you can. They will all have drastically different ride qualities. Beyond the different ride qualities, there are also many different types of E-bikes. Those types can include Mountain bikes, Fat bikes, Road bikes, Trekking bikes, as well as trikes and recumbents.
Accessibility for E-bikes
Now that the market for E-bikes has become mature, there are many options to choose from.
The last thing to consider when buying an E-bike is your state’s laws on the subject. Will they legally allow you on non-motorized trails or road, or treat you as a motor scooter, requiring a license? Considering E-bikes are a relatively new development, the department of transportation in individual states haven’t all agreed on how to treat them. Additionally, your local trails could be off-limits to your new E-bike, so check the laws first. As the E-bike legislation matures, I think there will be more and more options for E-bike riding all states.