This article first appeared in the December 2014 edition of the Ashland LocalsGuide
Winter Riding with Electric Bikes
If you’ve been reading my articles here in the Locals Guide you know that I view electric bikes as legitimate alternative transportation more so than just-for-fun, next-generation bicycles. Don’t misunderstand; I’m all about the fun factor – and its huge! – but there’s so much more to this e-bike picture. Ask any e-bike owner and you’ll most likely hear how they use their new bike instead of the car more and more of the time. That’s all easy to grasp during the glory days of summer, but what about this time of year now that the weather is changing? With wintertime approaching the challenges to bicycle commuting inevitably arise. The good news is that things are different with an e-bike.
The old story involves dressing to keep warm on the bike but then overheating in short order on your way to work, school, etc. With an electric bike the task actually becomes much easier. You no longer need be overly concerned about overheating, getting sweaty, and then chilly along your way. You can rely a bit more on the electric assist in the winter to help keep you from working up a sweat on the trips when you simply want to arrive quickly, comfortably, and dry. Heart-pounding, sweat-streaming workouts are always an option, but they are always exactly that – an option.
You will need to dress warmer than you would if you were simply going out for a walk. Higher speeds mean greater wind chill factors, so layer up for wind resistance as well as warmth. A wind breaker or rain coat is essential for holding the warmth in as you cruise along at 10-20 mph. Rain pants help immensely too. A thin hat worn under your helmet that covers your ears will make a world of difference. We have fabric helmet covers that provide warmth and rain protection as well as offering a fashion statement opportunity! Gloves and glasses (clear safety glasses at night) will also increase your comfort level.
If you feel warm, safe, and dry you won’t hesitate to jump on your bike in all but the nastiest of weather. In fact, you may discover for the first time the beauty that abounds all around during what most people consider foul weather conditions. So, bundle up, appreciate the assistance that your electric motor provides, and enjoy the gifts of the great outdoors all year ’round.