For many of us, a rainy day is enough to call our ride off and leave the e-bike at home. But, with the rainy season upon us, you may be asking yourself if that is really necessary. Well, luckily, it's not.Your e-bike is water-resistant, and though this means that they aren't completely waterproof, they are capable of standing up to a bit of rain.
So, whether you are caught out in a sudden downpour or comfortable touching some harsh weather, your trusty e-bike will be there with you. So, as long as you take some basic precautions, riding in wet weather is just fine. Especially if you use your e-bike to commute to work, you’ll face rain during your regular rides and want to be ready for it. Let's take a look at some of these precautions so when the weather takes a turn for the worse, you can be ready for it.
The first part of riding in the rain is preparing to get wet. Your bike’s components may be water-resistant, but is your clothing and all of your other belongings? It's important to plan for this to ensure you aren't cold and soaked by the time you get to your destination.
First off, you will clearly need a raincoat or jacket if you prefer as well as preferably water-resistant pants and shoes. Just remember to balance what you wear with this to make sure you don't get too hot and sweaty while you're pedaling. Next, if you don't already have one, a cycling hat is a special piece of headwear designed to fit under your helmet, and these generally have a brim that can help keep the rain out of your eyes. Last off for clothing, remember to bring a pair of gloves. These can give you some much-needed grip on the throttle to keep your hands from slipping in the rain. Plus, they can keep your hands warm at the same time.
Now it's time to think about your other possessions. A lot of us don't go anywhere without our cellphones, and for many students using e-bikes nowadays, there may be laptops, tablets, and textbooks to worry about, among other possessions.
For your cell phone and other small objects, a simple Ziplock bag can get the job done. For carrying several objects, investing in a waterproof bag may be a good idea. However, even if you don't want to invest in a new bag covering a regular backpack or shoulder bag with water-resistant nylon may get the job done.
Now for your e-bike itself, as we said, it is water-resistant. However, this does not mean waterproof. If you want to ride in the rain regularly, it may be a good idea to wrap some water-resistant nylon tightly over the electrical components. After you finish riding, simply wipe visible drops off your e-bike to prevent any from seeping into anywhere it shouldn't. Pay particular attention to drying your battery.
Use Front and Rear Lights
No matter what the weather is like, there are bound to be other vehicles on the road alongside you. With cars, cyclists, and other vehicles powering through the rain like you, it is important to make sure everyone can see you and that you can see them. A good set of lights is the best way to ensure that happens.
In most localities, you are required to maintain a set of front and rear lights for riding on the road at night, but make sure your set is working well before the next downpour comes along, particularly if you haven't used them in a while. Also, make sure your reflectors are in good condition and consider investing in more reflective strips for your helmet, handlebars, and, if you have one, a bike rack. These will increase visibility and help ensure you will be visible even if your lights do go out.
Adjust Tire Pressure
In dry road conditions, most riders prefer to keep their tire pressure up to minimize rolling resistance. But, many riders know that lowering your tire pressure helps to improve grip. When you are riding on wet slippery asphalt, it is easy to see that you will need every bit of grip you can get. It may take a little more power to ride with reduced tire pressure, but it is worth it! Generally, lowering your normal psi by about 10 can improve grip enough, but if you are still slipping, you can consider reducing it more.
One of the most annoying parts of riding through rain is when the tires kick water and mud up. This can result in you getting wet and filthy, but for your e-bike, this can be particularly bad. Most e-bikes can handle getting wet from an ordinary rainfall just fine, but that does not mean you should go spraying water and mud over its electrical components at high speeds.
This is where a fender comes in. These metal or plastic blockades catch the water and mud that flies off your tires, keeping you and the rest of your e-bike dry. Many high-quality e-bikes, such as the Espin 21 Flow, already come with fenders installed, but if your model doesn't, you may want to consider installing a set before riding in heavy rain.
Fenders typically come in either metal or plastic varieties. Metal fenders are durable and are certainly capable of protecting you and your e-bike from mud and water, but they tend to rust easily. A plastic fender simply needs to be cleaned every so often to look brand new again, so these often are a better choice in the long term.
With the right preparation, a little rain out doesn't mean you have to call it quits on riding your e-bike. By dressing right, protecting your belongings, and ensuring your e-bike is ready, you can handle whatever the elements throw at you. Just make sure to ride safely, and probably take it a little slower than normal. When you are done riding, remember that drying off visible water, particularly on the battery, can help protect components and extend their service life. But, most of all, remember to enjoy the ride!