As winter approaches there are those who put their bikes away for the season, not to be ridden again until the temperatures rise again in the spring. However, there are also those of us who want to get out there and keep riding, even with snow on the ground and a nip in the air.
Riding in the winter is a great way to get outside when most people are inside trying to stay warm. Exploring trails in the winter gives them a completely different feel. And for me, with less people out and the snow absorbing sound, the silence and stillness of winter riding is a special experience well worth braving the cold for.
Riding in the winter can be incredibly rewarding, however there are special factors to take into account when preparing to ride your eBike in the cold, snowy months. You’ll want to think about keeping yourself warm. Keeping your electric bike running, including how the cold can affect lithium ion batteries, and lastly where you will be able to ride when there is snow and ice on the ground.
Keeping yourself warm:
If you want to enjoy the experience of winter riding the first thing to consider is how are you going to stay warm.The first thing to do is check the weather and see just how cold it is going to be. After all, 32°F and sunny is much different from 0°F and windy.
There are a few pieces that you will likely want to throw on or at least bring with you. For one, gloves are going to be huge, you need to keep your hands warm enough to maintain control of your brakes, shifting, and steering. Depending on the weather you may want waterproof and insulated gloves or just a thin liner.
If the weather is especially chilly you may want to do a base layer. You may also want an insulated jacket and perhaps a layer that is water and windproof. Pedaling a bike will warm you up a bit, so multiple layers really are key here, this way you can regulate your temperature throughout the day. Make sure you also have a good pair of socks and boots for your feet!
Apart from dressing appropriately, we also sell handlebar mitts. Handlebar mitts are a great way to really keep your hands warm throughout the day. Our handlebar mitts can be worn with or without gloves. They also have zippered pockets on the underside so if it is a really cold day you can throw some hand warmers in there. Remember that your ability to stay warm will allow you to stay out longer and better enjoy the ride!
Keeping your bike running optimally:
Alright so now that you have your own warmth covered, let’s turn our attention to the bike. Machinery is always going to be affected by the temperature that it is operating in. So it is important to keep that in mind when setting out on a winter adventure with your eBike.
Now I’m not going to go into the finer details of how the chemistry of lithium ion batteries is altered at different temperatures. But basically you don’t want to try to use a cold lithium ion battery because often the battery management system will limit the battery because it senses large temperature differences within the cells. This is why often even a fully charged battery will quickly fall to 0% in the cold.
Have no fear though, we have come up with an exclusive, innovative solution to this problem. Our battery jacket features a heating element that will get your battery to an optimal temperature before start up and then the insulation of the jacket will keep that battery at an appropriate temperature while you ride.
If you aren’t riding one of our fat tire electric bikes I would also recommend running the biggest tire that your frame will allow, this will help handling in the snow. Some people also like to run studded tires if they will be riding on ice. You will want to thoroughly clean and lubricate your bike after a winter ride. This will protect the components and keep them running for longer.
Where to ride:
For your first few winter rides, it is a great idea to stay relatively close to home and on well paved paths or even plowed streets. This allows you to get used to riding in the cold and dial in what gear you will want to have.
Once you feel comfortable in the cold weather, I love going to places that I have ridden in other seasons. Seeing the change through the different seasons is really beautiful and gives you a new perspective on old areas. Also since you are already familiar with the trail even if the snow is obstructing some markers you should still be able to navigate.
With fat tires, like on our bikes, you can ride on packed snow with relative ease. I have tried riding on fresh, powdery snow and unfortunately it hasn’t worked out super well for me… maybe we need to get some skis for our bikes? So stick to easy to handle packed snow but if you do find a way to ride on powder please let me know!
Riding your eBike in the winter can be an awesome and novel experience. It is a great way to get outside if you are getting a bit of cabin fever. Just make sure that you wear warm layers. Make sure that you know how your bike and battery respond to colder weather, perhaps consider getting our battery jacket to keep your battery operating optimally. And lastly plan a great ride in a beautiful area that you are equipped to tackle. If you end up on a winter adventure with your Bakcou bike we would love to see pictures! Send them our way at firstname.lastname@example.org and enjoy the winter wonderland.