Electric bikes are a fantastic way to explore!
Heard a bit about them but unsure exactly what an e-bike is? These bikes allow you to get the exercise you want while having an equalizer that allows the whole family to conquer the hills of New England.
An electric bike is just a regular bicycle with the addition of an electric motor, battery and controller to provide assistance to the rider.
You can pedal a little, a lot, or not at all.
E-Bikes that are pedal-assist only. As the rider pedals, the electrical system gives the rider assistance. These bikes do not have throttles and have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.
E-Bikes with all the same components of Class 1, but have a throttle along with the pedal assist (maximum speed of 20 mph).
E-Bikes that can be both throttle and pedal assist with a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph. Wattage is important as well - to remain within the 3 classes, an e-bike must have at or below a 750 watt motor.
Motor is located on the front wheel. Provides power by spinning the front wheel creating the sensation of being 'pulled.' This is the simplist design, but offers the most limited capabilities.
Motor is located on the back wheel. Provides power by spinning the back wheel creating the sensation of being 'pushed.' This offers a wide range of capabilities, but makes the rear of bike heavier.
Motor is centrally located. Sends power to the drivetrain instead of the wheel hub. Creates sensation of a more balanced ride. Quieter and more balanced.
Rider simply twists or pushes the throttle and the bike gets going without any assistance from the rider (no pedaling required). This is the biggest drain on the battery.
Motor activates when the pedals are in motion. This allows the rider to still get a workout with the extra boost to ride further or in harder conditions. The rider can select which level of assistance they desire, from 0% to 90% assistance.
Helmets are the single most critical piece of safety gear for electric and pedal bikes.
Always use rear and front lights regardless of the time of day and wear a highly visible jersey or garment. Having lights on your bike is the best way to be seen.
Practice defensive riding practices especially in heavily traffic areas and intersections, and assume no one has seen you.
Keep pants and shoelaces away from the chain. It is highly suggested that cyclists should wrap the bottom of loose-fitting pants in leg bands or taping shoestrings to avoid them getting caught in the chain while cycling.
While e-bikes are functionally similar to pedal bikes, the motor of an e-bike can help riders travel further and ride longer. However, it's important not to overdo it, especially on your first few rides.
New riders should use the throttle sparingly at first and take the time to get used to controlling their bike.
Numerous bike accidents happen between riders. This occurs in large part because cyclists do not maintaining their “line” or maintain predictable bike handling. Likewise e-bike cyclists can easily creep up on other cyclist and cause accidents as a result of not modulating their speed.
Ride in the same direction as traffic and let other vehicles know your intentions before turning and stopping.
Think like the car in front and behind you. Other motorists may regard you as just a bicycle, without realizing you're approaching intersections and other crossings at the same speed as a motorcycle or other motorized vehicle.