It’s tough to think about winter riding conditions while temperatures are still very pleasant in many locations, but now is the time to get ready for the coming changes in weather — especially if you are approaching your first experience with an e-biking winter. Maybe you’re one of the lucky riders who has decent outdoor weather all year, or perhaps you get to endure months of cold, damp, windy, snowy chill.
You may love the cold and snow, or you may hate it, but most of us experience unpleasant weather sooner or later. Preparing in advance is always the best plan.
Get Ready for Cold-Weather Rides
Keep it Clean
Keeping your prized e-bike clean is important year-round, and especially so during the winter months. Remember, if you start out clean, it will be easier to keep it in good shape. After all, you may find yourself mucking your way through an unexpected mile of mud or splashing through a series of puddles.
Of course, a clean bike also looks great! If you spend all your time on trails, a little dust and dirt…or a lot…may not bother you. On the other hand, if you’re a commuter or normally ride on pavement, you may want to always look your best. I always get a lot of second glances when I’m riding my MAGiCYCLE, and I like to keep my Cruiser looking clean and shiny.
Get started by giving your e-bike a good wash.
- Visually inspect your e-bike, making note of any problems such as deep scratches or an excessively loose chain. If you find a problem, make a note or send yourself an email to help avoid forgetting to remedy the problem later.
- Brush your bike with a soft-bristled brush from stem to stern.
- Put a gallon of water in a bucket, and then add 2 drops of common dish-washing liquid soap. Gently stir.
- Leave your battery on the bike.
- Use a soft rage that won’t scratch your bike’s paint. Dip it in your bucket an wring out most of the excess solution. You want the rag damp, but not dripping wet.
- Using the rag, clean a section of your bike and wipe it down immediately with a soft clean towel…and move on to the next section. Wring the rag more thoroughly to wipe down the motor, brakes, disks, handlebars, seat post, pedals, and display.
- When finished, rinse your rag in clear water, wring it thoroughly and quickly wipe down the bike.
- Remove the battery. Wipe the battery and contacts with a dry rag.
- Using isopropyl alcohol on a soft rag, wipe your brake discs again. This will remove any residue of soap and help avoid squealing brakes.
Use common sense to decide how often to repeat the cleaning. Keep it clean!
Clean and Lubricate Your Chain
Winter months can be especially hard on the chain. Take time to clean and lubricate every week. There are numerous bike chain lubricants on the market. Choose one that has good reviews, and use it regularly. After lubrication, wipe the chain lightly with a dry rag to remove any excess lubricant. This will keep your chain nice and quiet, plus it will last longer.
Adjust the Tire Pressure
Get in the habit of checking your tire pressure at least weekly all year. For the winter months, remember to adjust the pressure according to current conditions. If ride in snow, for example, or perhaps in heavy mud, you have the option of lowering the tire pressure for better traction. Don’t be afraid to ride with 6-8 psi.
Light it Up in Winter
I love the long hours of daylight that come with summer. Sadly, they will disappear for the winter months, and soon enough darkness will arrive before suppertime. If you love riding like I love it, you’ll find yourself pedaling through the darkness. It can be a great experience, but do it safely and light it up!
Riding in dark or low-light conditions is always more risky. Whether day or night, you definitely want to be noticed by the driver of any vehicles approaching you. Reflective gear is a great way to increase your visibility. A wide variety of reflective aids for nighttime riding is readily available. Gear such as reflective tape, vests, spoke reflectors, etc. are very helpful, so take a look and choose the items that you like.
Naturally, this includes not only what you wear, but also your e-bike frame, wheels and fenders. Magicycle, for example, equips every e-bike with wheels that feature reflective sidewalls. These wheels glow very brightly in the headlights of surrounding traffic. You can also take advantage of this reflectivity by adding lighting to your e-bike.
Nearly all e-bikes come with a stock headlight that is not bright enough for the safest night riding. 200 lumens is the industry standard for a bike headlight, but there is added safety in lighting that is at least twice the industry standard. Fortunately, there is an endless variety of higher-powered headlights available for upgrading. Choose one that is upwards of 400 lumens, and aim it so as to not blind oncoming traffic. As a guide, the average automobile headlight is rated between 2000 and 4000 lumens. That is very, very bright, so consider staying under 2000 lumens for your e-bike headlight.
If you ride off-road frequently, and want an even brighter headlight, get one that has adjustable brightness so you can still ride safely on city streets. Alternatively, you can consider installing two headlights of varied brightness.
Wear Your Helmet
Yes, I know…I know. The best plan is to never ride without a helmet. Winter conditions can be especially treacherous, with wet roads, ice, and the like. Thus, it becomes even more important in winter to wear a helmet. The added bonus is that it will help keep your head warm!
Take a look at these statistics provided by New York City:
- Almost three-quarters of fatal bicycle crashes (74%) involved a head injury.
- Nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet.
- Helmet use among those bicyclists with serious injuries was low (13%), but it was even lower among bicyclists killed (3%).
Bicycle riders produce about twice as many head injuries as any other sport — including football! Don’t risk it…wear a helmet…especially if you ride an e-bike. My Magicycle provides a ton of enjoyment and exercise, but it is powerful and fast, reaching speeds well in excess of a conventional bicycle. This puts your head at even greater risk.
A decent helmet doesn’t have to be expensive. For my first e-bike experiences, I wore a Bell brand bike helmet, purchased at a thrift shop for $4.50. There was nothing wrong with it, and it was good protection.
Dress for Success
A successful winter riding experience definitely includes dressing for the season. You want to be warm, dry, and comfy as possible. It can be very helpful to pack a rain suit, gloves, and other protective gear in your bike bag. You might also consider waterproofing your shoes.
Last, but not Least
Be sure to ride on reliable equipment. If your e-bike frame, motor, battery, or components are of questionable quality, be assured that winter weather will bring out their worst.
That’s a major reason why I love my MAGiCYCLE Cruiser. It is built by a reputable company that owns the factory and controls every aspect of design and production. The result is exceptional quality control and a high-quality ride that is reliable regardless of weather or terrain.
Magicycle has a strong commitment to customer support. That commitment includes providing a high-quality electric bike at the lowest possible price point. In fact, no other e-bike company in a competitive price range can equal the quality and match the low cost of a Magicycle.
A big factor in that combination of high quality and low pricing is extremely important. It is the fact that Magicycle owns the factory that manufactures their e-bikes. That is not the case for most e-bike brands. Owning the factory means Magicycle has complete control of quality at every step along the way, from design to production to shipping. Get yours now while sale pricing is still available.