Someone buying an eBike will sometimes tend to treat it like a conventional bicycle. But there are small, yet subtle differences: the Pedelec weighs a little more, it can reach higher average speeds thanks to the extra thrust and the handling characteristics demand different skills. That's why it may be advisable for those new to the Pedelec to do a riding course. Associations and institutions such as the ADFC offer such courses. We compiled some important eBike riding technique tips for beginners.
Before you set off
For the eBike as for all technical products the following rules apply: first you should take some time to get to know your eBike and its special features. It is advisable to take a look at the operating instructions or to research the manufacturer's website. Then you can go for your first spin on the eBike – for example on a parking lot – to test the handling characteristics in practice. Two safety aspects in particular have to be considered:
- Given the comparatively high speed, good brakes and correct braking technique are essential. So test this on an open stretch before you go riding around.
- To ensure a good travelling range and stability when going round bends the tyre pressure is crucial. On the casing side of the tyres you will find the minimum and maximum pressure for the relevant model. But be careful: when you pump up the tyres on your eBike you must take into account that the drive and battery mean extra weight. The tyre pressure selected should therefore tend to be greater than for a conventional bicycle.
If you don't feel confident in technical matters, you should ask your specialist dealer. Bosch is actively involved in continuous training and regularly provides comprehensive courses for specialist dealers
Riding with foresight
Electric drives put our road traffic habits to the test. Electric cars whoosh by almost without making a sound. With eBikes it's similar. In addition road users have to get used to greater speed – in the case of Pedelecs faster by about one to four kilometres an hour. That's why it's important to be attentive and ensure that you are ready at all times to react appropriately to unforeseen situations. The eBiker should adapt the speed to the relevant situation and should avoid dangerous situations.
The higher average speed and extra weight of the motor and drive demand that the eBiker be always ready to brake. You can ensure the shortest possible braking distance by the simultaneous use of the front and rear brakes. The biker should always be aware which lever activates which brake and how the bike reacts. After all, if incorrectly used the front wheel brake can hurl you from the saddle. This means you have to practise, practise, practise. In this way you will then gradually find the optimum braking pressure. And it's not only the brake lever which affects the braking but also the road surface: on snow, slush or gravel in particular the eBiker should apply the front wheel brake in a measured fashion.
Balance and cornering
Stop-and-go traffic travelling at moderate speed is always on the cards on the roads. But keeping to your lane is also a matter of practice. What's more: you must keep your eyes on the road ahead and actively turn your head and your body into the curve when going round bends.
Kerbs and potholes are an everyday hazard for cyclists. The best thing to overcome them is by relieving the load on the front wheel: to do this, move your upper torso in the direction of the handlebars just before you reach the edge and suddenly shift your body's weight upwards. This manoeuvre requires some practice until it's routine. If you feel unsure or the obstacle is too high, simply dismount briefly. To practise this you can use a low kerb or a small stick on a practice area. The important thing is not to pull on the handlebars too vigorously. If you still tend to lean backwards, simply actuate the rear brake and the front wheel will sink to the ground again. The general principle is that it is best to approach kerbs at right angles. This will make sure that you don't skid.
One important principle is that safety has absolute priority. You should never ride an eBike without a helmet. In-mold helmets provide reliable safety. Their special feature is that the vaporising hard foam is sprayed directly into the outer shell during production. When buying one make sure it bears the appropriate test mark: DIN EN 1078 (CE).
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If you follow a few important rules, and if you don't mind the winter winds on your face, there's no reason why you can't get safely through the colder months with your eBike.
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