The joy of e-bike touring
The recent surge in the popularity of e-bikes is more than likely as a result of our growing desire to embark on fun-filled cycling tours of the country, without having to overexert themselves.
But when you’re gearing up to enjoy the stunning cycling routes of the UK, how do you ensure that you and your brand new e-bike are prepared for the journey ahead? These e-bike touring tips will help you along the way.
Charged and ready to go
E-bikes are becoming one of the most popular bikes to use on a cycle tour. This is because they aid you uphill and can assist you if you get tired part way through your journey. It’s also possible to use other popular biking features on an e-bike, such as installing wide tyres.
You’ll typically travel up to 60 miles per day on a tour. So it’s crucial that you’re prepared for the journey ahead and this means fully charging your e-bike’s battery before you take to the road.
The latest batteries mean that there’s no need to wait for your battery to be completely depleted before charging it. In fact, there’s no problem with popping it on charge for 10 minutes if that’s all it takes to complete its charge.
Plan your stops around charging points
Dedicated e-bike charging stations remain few and far between in the UK but there are efforts being made to increase numbers. Earlier this year, Bosch announced that it was trialling power stations along multiple cycle trails in the UK.
Thankfully, there are alternative ways to ensure that your bike has got enough juice to get you to your next destination.
By stopping at locations which have power sources, such as hotels, restaurants, and camping grounds, you’ll be able to remove the battery from your bike and charge it up via your charger.
However, this does mean that you need to carefully plan each of your routes, the miles you’re going to travel and set each of your stop points before you leave your current destination.
It’s also worth noting that it’s not unheard of for e-bike cyclists to knock on doors to ask if they can use the homeowner’s power to charge up their bike’s battery. But, with the British public keener than ever to be more environmentally-friendly, you should find that most locals will happily help you out.
Back up batteries
The average e-bike battery takes between two and four hours to fully charge. The larger the battery capacity, the longer a full charge takes.
Bosch guarantees their batteries for two years or 500 full charges, depending on which comes first. Despite this, Bosch state that their batteries are good for up to 10 years or 1500 full cycle charges.
But this doesn’t mean you should solely rely on one battery throughout the course of your UK cycle tour. Having at least one back-up will ensure that you’ll make it to your next destination. However, for ultimate power and peace of mind, it’s wise to travel with multiple spare batteries.
Travel with spare parts
Throughout the course of your cycle tour, your e-bike may take a fair few knocks and bumps. Ultimately, this will take its toll on your bike and essential maintenance will be required.
E-bike touring means you’ll be travelling a considerable distance every day, you should check the condition of your e-bike’s brakes and brake pads on a daily basis. The braking material of the brake pads which sits on each side of the rotors on the tyre should be a minimum of 1.5 mm. When they fall below this, you’ll need to replace them.
As with standard bikes, it’s not unknown for e-bikes to get punctures. Although, the additional weight of an e-bike, along with the weight of your cycle trip essentials can result in your e-bike experiencing punctures more frequently than you’re used to.
If you stick to cycle trails and paths rather than going off the path, you’re less likely to get a puncture.
It’s also worth investing in puncture resistant tyres (most of 50cycles’ e-bikes come fitted with them as standard) to make your cycle tour of the UK less problematic, especially as UK trails are packed full of brambles, thorns, and similar puncture-inducing objects.
A bike is stolen every six minutes in the UK, according to the Evening Standard. As electric bikes are more expensive than standard cycles and thus have greater value, they tend to be more attractive to thieves. It is, therefore, essential that you take precautions when you park your bike up.
Cyclists who’ve toured around the UK on electric bikes suggest chaining them together. Keeping your e-bikes close to your tent if you’re camping out for the night as this will deter thieves.
It’s also a wise idea to remove the battery from your bike. The battery is the most costly part of an e-bike and will be much more attractive to thieves than the frame on its own.
Cyclist Gary Corbett claims that England is the least safe country that he has ever travelled through on an electric bike. With this in mind, it’s recommended that you carefully plan your daily route and research the safest way to get to your next destination.
The good news is that research carried out by VeiligheidNL found that e-bikes are just as safe as traditional pedal bikes. We actually think they’re safer. However, you’ll still want to take precautions to keep both yourself and your valuable e-bike safe from harm.
Once you’re back home from your cycle tour around the UK, you’re sure to want to spend a few days recuperating from your adventure. However, it’s important that you don’t neglect your e-bike during this time.
After being out on the road for several days or weeks, take the time to thoroughly wash your bike down with a specialist bike cleaner. You should also apply lube to the chains to prevent them from seizing up.
In addition, remember to top up the charge in your battery as this can help to extend the overall battery life, which will be beneficial when it comes to preparing for your next cycle tour.
Touring by electric bike is a great way to explore the UK, particularly as they make cycling up hills and mountains or along stony and uneven pathways easier than ever. But, you need to fully prepare for your journey and take action before, during, and after your cycle tour to keep your bike in optimum condition.