Winter riding may present more challenges than a sunny summer commute but that doesn't mean your ebike has to hibernate in the garage until spring. Ebike commuting during winter is not only possible but also highly rewarding. Beyond helping you stay eco-friendly and cost-efficient, riding an ebike offers an exhilarating way to embrace the frosty season.
Be mindful of changing conditions on your routes:
Before venturing out on your ebike during the winter, check the weather forecast and understand the limits of your stamina and your gear. Extreme conditions such as heavy snowfall, icy roads, and strong winds can make commuting dangerous. Assess your comfort level and consider mass transit when the weather is particularly harsh!
Winter conditions can drastically alter the viability of your usual commuting routes. Snow and ice can make some paths treacherous, while road closures can force you to take alternative routes. Plan extra time for your journey when conditions are challenging and choose paths that are more likely to be well-maintained. Additionally, stay informed about local road closures or restrictions, especially in areas prone to heavy winter weather.
Expect reduced range:
One challenge with ebike commuting in the winter is that lithium-ion batteries that power your ebike tend to lose energy storage capacity in cold temperatures. This can result in a reduced range. Depending on your temperatures this can result in a 10% loss or more. Be prepared for shorter rides, and ensure your battery is fully charged before heading out. Consider carrying an extra battery or your charger until you’re comfy with your wintertime range.
Charge and store your battery where it’s warm:
Cold temperatures can affect the performance and overall life of your battery. To combat this, it's advisable to charge your removable battery in a warm location. Avoid leaving it in your bike outdoors, as extreme cold can reduce its charging and storage capacity. Ideally, store the battery at room temperature and only install it on your e-bike right before your ride. When not in use, keep the spare battery in a warm, dry place to preserve its longevity and ensure it's ready to power your winter adventures. Additionally, remember to periodically check the battery's charge level during the winter months (esp. If you’re not riding much!) to prevent it from falling to extremely low levels, which can be detrimental to its health.
Remember — we recommend powering your battery down prior to removing and reinstalling it in your bike — see instructions here!
Clean Your Bike More Often:
Winter roads are often covered in slush, salt, and grime, which can take a toll on your ebike. To keep your bike in top condition, clean it more frequently during the winter. Use mildly warm soapy water and a washcloth to remove salt and dirt from your frame, components, and drivetrain. This not only preserves the aesthetics of your ebike but also prolongs its lifespan.
Lower Your Tire Pressure:
Reducing your tire pressure during the winter can increase traction and stability, making your rides safer. However, be cautious not to lower it too much, as this can lead to a higher risk of flats. Check your tire manufacturer's recommendations for the appropriate pressure range and consider staying within the lower end of that range during the winter months.
Ride with Added Caution:
Winter brings a unique set of hazards, including slippery roads and reduced visibility. Exercise caution by slowing down, increasing your following distance, and avoiding sudden movements. Brake gently to prevent skidding, and be extra vigilant at intersections, as other road users may have difficulty stopping on icy roads. Reflective gear and lights are essential for visibility, especially during the shorter days of winter.
Dress for the Conditions:
Last but certainly not least, dressing appropriately for the cold weather is vital. Layering your clothing provides flexibility to regulate your body temperature. Start with moisture-wicking base layers to keep sweat away from your skin, add insulating layers for warmth, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to shield you from the elements. Don't forget gloves, a warm hat or headband, and good footwear to keep your extremities comfortable. We recommend checking out the great outerwear options from our sibling brand Showers Pass!
With the right preparation and a commitment to safety, ebike commuters can conquer the winter chill and continue enjoying their daily rides. Knowing your limits, planning your routes, accounting for reduced range, maintaining your ebike, lowering tire pressure, riding cautiously, and dressing for the conditions are all essential steps to ensure a successful and enjoyable winter commuting experience. So, don't let the cold deter you — embrace the season, reduce your carbon footprint, and keep pedaling through the winter wonderland!