Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular means of winter transport. What about electrically assisted bicycles (EABs)? Is it a good option for getting around in cold weather? Absolutely, as long as you are cautious. Here are a few tips to help you ride your EAB safely all year round.
A smooth ride 🍃🚲
One of the benefits of the EAB is that departures are smooth, thanks to battery power assist. A very useful feature when the roads are snow-covered and the wheels can easily get stuck, complicating the first pedal strokes.
Less physical effort thanks to electric assistance which means less sweating and a drier ride.
Travel time can easily be shortened in cold weather with the adjustable power modes of the battery.
A mode of transport more accessible to a larger number of people, enabling you to ride longer with less resistance to adverse weather conditions.
Cycling in winter requires a few adjustments and accessories. Your bike shop can help you to make sure you don't forget anything. Here are a few key points to consider:
Install studded tires. Tire width will depend on whether you're riding on bike paths in the city or on less snow-cleared shoulders in rural areas, for example.
Be visible at all times. If your EAB doesn't have built-in lights, front and rear lights, ensure good visibility, day and night.
Protect yourself from the elements. Multi-layer clothing, ski goggles and a good pair of gloves will keep you warm, even in freezing weather. There is also specialized equipment like three-finger gloves that keep your hands warmer while making braking easier.
Adaptations on the road 🚴🏾🚦
As when driving a car, it's important to adapt the way you ride to road conditions. For example, during a snowstorm or ice storm, it's best to limit travel or opt for public transport.
Being an EAB cyclist in winter also means changing your riding habits. The battery range of an EAB decreases significantly, especially in extreme cold. It's important to bring the battery indoors and to charge it more frequently. Cold temperatures do, however, have the advantage of hardening surfaces, thereby making cycling less demanding, especially if you have to ride on a partially cleared shoulder. Watch out for black ice, though!
Active transportation is a healthy and pleasant way to enjoy winter. Proper clothing, a few accessories, caution and cheerfulness will be your best allies! A transportation cocktail that also includes public transit and walking is a winning combination and a viable alternative to the solo car in winter, be it in the city or outside major urban centres.