Cold Weather Impact on Lithium Batteries: Winter-Proofing Your Electric Bike. Ebike cold weather

Cold Weather Impact on Lithium Batteries: Winter-Proofing Your Electric Bike

As the winter season approaches, it’s crucial for electric bike owners to understand the implications of cold weather on lithium batteries. Cold temperatures can significantly affect e-bike battery performance and overall longevity.

In this article, we will delve into the importance of winterizing your electric bike, emphasizing the need for proper battery care and maintenance during the colder months. By implementing the right strategies, you can ensure your electric bike and its lithium battery thrive throughout the winter season, allowing you to continue enjoying your rides with peace of mind.

Let’s explore the key considerations to keep in mind when it comes to winter-proofing your electric bike’s lithium battery.

How Cold Weather Affects Lithium-Ion Batteries: Impact on Battery Health

A. Does cold permanently damage batteries?

When it comes to the effects of cold weather on lithium batteries, one common concern is whether the cold can permanently damage these power sources. The good news is that cold temperatures alone typically do not cause permanent damage to lithium batteries. However, they can significantly impact their performance and overall efficiency.

B. How cold is too cold for lithium batteries?

While lithium batteries are designed to operate within a wide temperature range, extremely cold temperatures can adversely affect their functionality. As a general rule of thumb, most lithium batteries start to experience performance issues when the temperature drops below 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). At this point, it’s essential to take extra precautions to mitigate potential problems.

C. Do lithium batteries get ruined in the cold?

Lithium batteries are relatively resilient and can withstand cold temperatures to a certain extent. However, subjecting them to extremely cold conditions for extended periods can indeed lead to damage. It’s crucial to strike a balance and ensure that your e-bike battery is not exposed to freezing temperatures for prolonged durations.

D. Exploring the Impact of Cold Weather on Lithium Batteries: Understanding Freezing Temperatures’ Effect

Freezing temperatures can have several adverse effects on lithium batteries. Firstly, cold weather increases internal resistance, making it harder for the battery to deliver power efficiently. This can result in decreased range and reduced overall performance of your e-bike. Secondly, freezing temperatures can cause the electrolyte inside the battery to thicken, making it more challenging for ions to move freely and reducing the battery’s capacity. Lastly, repeated exposure to subzero temperatures can lead to the formation of crystal structures within the battery, potentially causing irreversible damage.

Storing and Maintaining Lithium Batteries in Winter

A. How to store lithium batteries over winter?

Proper storage of lithium batteries during the winter season is crucial to maintain their health and prolong their lifespan. Here are some essential steps to follow when storing your electric bike’s lithium battery:

  • Charge the battery: Before storing the battery, ensure it is fully charged. A full charge helps to prevent self-discharge and keeps the battery in a stable state during the storage period.
  • Remove the battery: If possible, remove the lithium battery from your e-bike. This step helps prevent potential power drain and protects the battery from extreme cold temperatures.
  • Choose a dry location: Find a dry and cool place to store the battery. Avoid areas with excessive moisture or extreme temperature fluctuations.

B. Is it okay to store batteries in a cold garage?

While storing batteries in a cold garage may seem like a convenient option, it’s not ideal for lithium batteries. Cold garages can expose the batteries to freezing temperatures, which can impact their performance and longevity. It is recommended to choose a different storage location that maintains a relatively stable temperature above freezing.

C. Best practices for long-term storage of lithium batteries

Follow these best practices for long-term storage of your electric bike’s lithium battery:

  • Maintain a moderate temperature: Store the battery in an area where the temperature remains relatively stable, ideally between 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). Extreme temperature fluctuations should be avoided.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: Keep the battery away from direct sunlight or sources of heat, as excessive heat can negatively affect its performance and cause premature aging.
  • Check the charge periodically: During long-term storage, it is advisable to check the battery charge every few months and recharge it if necessary. This helps prevent the battery from discharging completely and potentially damaging its cells.

D. Keeping lithium batteries healthy during the winter months

To keep your lithium battery healthy during the winter months, consider the following tips:

  • Maintain regular usage: If possible, periodically use your electric bike during the winter season to prevent the battery from remaining idle for extended periods. Short rides or even indoor cycling can help maintain the battery’s health and capacity.
  • Keep the battery warm: If you must leave the battery on the e-bike during winter, consider using battery covers or thermal accessories designed to insulate and protect the battery from cold temperatures.
  • Avoid riding in extreme cold conditions: While lithium batteries can handle cold temperatures to a certain extent, it’s advisable to avoid riding in subzero temperatures or during severe weather conditions. This helps minimize the strain on the battery and ensures safe riding conditions.

Ensuring Optimal Battery Performance in Cold Weather

A. How to keep batteries from dying in the cold?

Keeping your electric bike’s battery from dying in the cold requires some proactive measures. Here are a few tips to help you preserve battery life during winter rides:

  • Preheat the battery: Before heading out for a ride in cold weather, consider warming up the battery. You can bring the battery indoors or use a battery warmer specifically designed for electric bikes. This helps maintain optimal operating temperature and improves performance.
  • Limit exposure to extreme cold: Whenever possible, try to limit the exposure of your e-bike and its battery to extremely cold temperatures. Store the bike in a warmer location and avoid leaving it outside for extended periods.
  • Keep the battery insulated: Insulating the battery can help minimize the effects of cold weather. Consider using neoprene covers or thermal wraps designed for e-bike batteries to provide an additional layer of insulation.

B. Tips for keeping a battery alive in the cold

To keep your electric bike’s battery alive and functional in cold weather, consider the following tips:

  • Plan shorter rides: In extremely cold conditions, opt for shorter rides to reduce the strain on the battery. Cold weather can decrease battery efficiency, so shorter rides help prevent complete battery drain.
  • Avoid Rapid acceleration and braking: Smooth and controlled acceleration and braking can help conserve battery power. Aggressive riding techniques in cold weather can put additional strain on the battery and decrease overall range.
  • Monitor battery levels: Pay close attention to the battery indicator on your electric bike’s display. Regularly monitoring the battery level helps you plan your rides accordingly and avoid situations where the battery is at risk of dying in the cold.

C. Importance of proper maintenance and care

Proper maintenance and care are paramount to ensure optimal battery performance, especially in cold weather. Here’s why it’s crucial:

  • Battery health: Regular maintenance, such as keeping the battery clean and free from dirt and debris, helps maintain its health and performance.
  • Cell balancing: Periodically balancing the cells of your lithium battery can help ensure even charge distribution and maximize its overall capacity.
  • Check for damage: Inspect the battery regularly for any signs of damage or wear. If you notice any issues, consult the manufacturer or a qualified technician for assistance.

D. Optimizing battery capacity and range in winter weather

To optimize your e-bike’s battery capacity and range in winter weather, consider the following:

  • Maintain proper tire pressure: Keeping your tires inflated to the recommended pressure helps reduce rolling resistance, allowing the battery to work more efficiently and extend range.
  • Adjust riding habits: In cold weather, adjust your riding habits to maximize battery performance. This includes avoiding excessive speed, minimizing steep climbs, and utilizing pedal-assist modes when available.
  • Be mindful of battery cover usage: While using thermal covers or wraps can provide insulation, be cautious not to obstruct the battery’s ventilation. Proper airflow is essential to prevent overheating during both cold and warm weather.

Cold Weather and Battery Charging

A. Can lithium batteries be charged below freezing?

Charging lithium batteries below freezing temperatures is generally not recommended. Extreme cold can negatively affect the chemical reactions within the battery, leading to reduced performance and potential damage. It is best to charge lithium batteries in temperatures above freezing to ensure optimal charging and battery health.

B. The impact of freezing temperatures on the charging process

Freezing temperatures can impact the charging process of lithium batteries in several ways:

Reduced charging efficiency: Cold temperatures can slow down the chemical reactions that occur during charging, resulting in reduced charging efficiency. It may take longer to fully charge the battery in cold weather.

Increased internal resistance: The internal resistance of the battery can increase in freezing temperatures, causing energy loss and potentially affecting the battery’s overall capacity and performance.

C. Exploring the use of trickle chargers in cold weather

Trickle chargers, also known as maintenance chargers or float chargers, are designed to provide a low-level charge to a battery over an extended period. They can be useful in cold weather for maintaining the battery’s charge and preventing it from fully depleting.

Benefits of trickle chargers: Trickle chargers help counteract the self-discharge of the battery and ensure it remains in a healthy state during periods of inactivity or cold weather.

Proper usage: When using a trickle charger in cold weather, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines. Ensure the charger is compatible with your e-bike battery and use it in a dry location away from extreme temperatures.

D. Recommended practices for charging electric bike batteries in winter

To optimize battery charging in winter weather, consider the following practices:

Charge indoors: Whenever possible, bring the battery indoors for charging. Room temperature is generally more suitable for optimal charging conditions.

Avoid charging in freezing temperatures: If you must charge the battery outdoors, ensure the ambient temperature is above freezing to prevent potential damage to the battery.

Monitor charging process: Regularly check the charging progress and ensure the battery is charging as expected. If you notice any unusual behavior or signs of damage, discontinue charging and seek professional assistance.

Longevity and Shelf Life of Lithium Batteries

A. Factors that can affect the lifespan of lithium batteries

The lifespan of lithium batteries can be influenced by several factors. Understanding these factors can help you take the necessary steps to maximize the longevity of your electric bike battery:

Temperature: Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can have a significant impact on battery life. High temperatures accelerate chemical reactions within the battery, while freezing temperatures can reduce its performance.

Usage patterns: How frequently you use your electric bike and the intensity of usage can affect the battery’s lifespan. Regular, moderate usage is generally better for the battery compared to infrequent, heavy usage.

Charging habits: Proper charging practices play a crucial role in preserving battery life. Avoid overcharging or deep discharging the battery, as these can cause stress and reduce its overall capacity.

B. Proper storage and maintenance to extend battery life

Proper storage and maintenance are key to extending the life of lithium batteries, especially during periods of non-use or winter storage:

Storage temperature: When storing lithium batteries, it’s recommended to keep them in a cool and dry location. Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures, as this can accelerate degradation.

Partial charging: If storing the battery for an extended period, it is recommended to partially charge it to around 50%. This helps maintain the battery’s overall health without overcharging or depleting it completely.

Regular maintenance: Periodically check the battery’s charge level and ensure it remains within the optimal range. If the battery is not in use for an extended period, consider giving it a brief charge every few months to prevent deep discharge.

cold, weather, impact, lithium

C. Addressing the question of how long unused lithium batteries last

The shelf life of unused lithium batteries can vary depending on various factors. While lithium batteries generally have a longer shelf life compared to other battery types, they can still experience gradual self-discharge over time. On average, unused lithium batteries can retain their charge for several months to a year before requiring a recharge.

D. Understanding when it’s better to store batteries full or empty

Storing lithium batteries full or empty depends on the duration of storage:

Short-term storage: If you plan to use the electric bike and battery regularly, it’s generally better to store the battery with a charge level between 40-80%. This helps prevent self-discharge and allows for immediate use.

Long-term storage: If storing the battery for an extended period, it’s recommended to store it with a charge level around 50%. This prevents over-discharge or overcharging during the storage period.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as you prepare to winter-proof your electric bike and its lithium batteries, Tritek is here to support you with our expertise and high-quality products. With over 15 years of research and development, manufacturing, and sales experience, we are a trusted manufacturer of integrated BMS lithium-ion battery packs. Our company, located in Shenzhen, China, is equipped with more than 100 experienced RD personnel who continuously strive for innovation and excellence.

At Tritek. we pride ourselves on our strict quality system and our commitment to international certifications such as CE, FCC, UL, and EN15194. These certifications guarantee that our battery packs meet the highest industry standards. With strong production and delivery capacities, we ensure that your orders are efficiently fulfilled.

Furthermore, our dedication to exceptional customer service extends beyond the point of sale. We have established after-sales service centers in Spain. and we are in the process of setting up customer service centers in the United States and Germany. With Tritek, you can trust in a comprehensive support system that is always ready to address any inquiries or concerns you may have.

As you navigate the challenges of winter weather and strive for optimal battery performance, consider Tritek as your reliable partner. Our integrated BMS lithium-ion battery packs, combined with our experience and commitment to customer satisfaction, make us the ideal choice for corporate customers seeking top-quality solutions. Experience the difference with Tritek and enjoy uninterrupted electric bike rides throughout the winter season and beyond.

How to Keep an E-Bike Battery Warm in Winter?

Well, an e-bike’s battery life decreases in both; extremely cold and hot temperatures. However, in the cold, e-bike batteries require some extra attention. Since battery gel hardens when it gets chilly, extra care is essential.

Ignorant nature might have a negative impact on the life and efficiency of your e-bike’s battery. To keep your battery life from falling apart, it is important to keep it warm in winter.

In the spring, you can quickly and easily get your cycle ready for the seasonal ride. All you need to do is take a few preventative measures. How about a ride in the snow? Here comes the real challenge!

Don’t worry, we have some basic knowledge and expert advice for you. Following the upcoming tips, you will be able to take care of your e-bike’s battery like a pro.

Electric Wheelers is reader-supported. Although we independently research and test products, we may receive a commission on purchases made from our chosen links. Read more…

  • Why Cold Weather Affects E-Bike Battery
  • Tips for How to Keep Electric Bike Battery Warm in Winter
  • Use a Battery Cover
  • DIY Insulation and Heating
  • Store Battery and E-Bike Indoors
  • Extra Steps for Keeping E-Bike Battery in Good Condition in Winter
  • Charge the Battery Before the Ride
  • Avoid the Battery Drain Completely
  • Conclusion

Why Cold Weather Affects E-Bike Battery

Temperatures below freezing point can have an adverse effect on lithium-ion batteries, which is an essential part of e-bikes. The battery’s power decreases with the increase in cold weather. This can result in shorter journeys and an overall decrease in the performance of your e-bike.

Incredibly low temperatures are just too good at compromising your battery’s integrity. In the worst case, it may even stop working altogether.

You didn’t like reading that, yikes! But, we have some good news coming.

Tips for How to Keep Electric Bike Battery Warm in Winter

We think you should go for an e-bike ride at least once every two weeks, especially if you live somewhere with a cold winter. Alternatively, keeping your e-bike in the “running” position can help you keep it fit.

Here are some expert tips for keeping your e-bike battery warm this winter. Following these will make sure you cycle without any issues whenever the mood strikes. Have a look below:

cold, weather, impact, lithium

Use a Battery Cover

One of the easiest ways to keep an e-bike battery warm in winter is by using a battery cover. Also, it functions in the same way that a wetsuit does when diving in the ocean.

The cover’s insulating properties keep the battery warm and the damaging elements at bay. Using a battery cover and keeping it inside will allow you to get a lot more miles out of your e-bike’s battery.

DIY Insulation and Heating

An insulated case could keep a battery warm during transit or storage. Protecting electronics from moisture and sub-freezing temps with foam or other materials is a good idea. Batteries should also be stored in an environment free of dampness, as this can cause them to short out or corrode.

Given the remote risk of combustion that comes with all Li-ion batteries, keeping them in specially designed fire-proof bags can be another helpful safety measure. But it usually depends on the length of storage.

Also, wrapping your battery in a cloth or towel can act as emergency DIY insulation. It is a great idea if you ever find yourself stuck in cold conditions. Make sure it’s safely packaged before you head out.

Store Battery and E-Bike Indoors

Keep your e-bike battery toasty and ready to go all winter long by storing it away from the cold. You can preserve and extend the battery’s capacity and lifespan by storing it in a chamber where the temperature is not somewhere around freezing.

The gel inside the battery will harden if you leave it outside, which will postpone your next day’s trip. According to experts, the outdoors is a terrible place to leave your e-bike or its battery in the cold.

Keep your battery in a warm place, ideally between 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (10-25 degrees Celsius). It is the optimal range for maintaining your batteries’ health and readiness for a sudden ride.

Extra Steps for Keeping E-Bike Battery in Good Condition in Winter

Here are some extra steps to take for your beloved e-bike, in case the above ones are not sufficient:

Charge the Battery Before the Ride

If you own an e-bike and live somewhere too cold to ride in the winter, you should maintain the battery charging between 50 and 80 percent. Also, don’t forget to store at a temperature of 10 to 20 degrees Celsius.

To get your battery down to about 75%, you can either charge it to 100% and then take a short trip, or you can just charge it until it reaches that level. over, every three months, give the battery a test and a 75% recharge if it needs that.

Avoid the Battery Drain Completely

By maintaining a full charge, you can keep the battery from being over-discharged and ultimately dead. There must be an optimal ambient temperature and range for charging to occur without damaging the energy storage system of your e-bike.

cold, weather, impact, lithium

Therefore, we recommend waiting until the battery has cooled to optimal temperature before charging it. Avoid draining the battery to zero. Instead, recharge it whenever the percentage drops below 10%.

Conclusion

Now that you have all the basic principles for taking care of your.bike’s battery, let’s recall the cliff notes.

First thing first, you should always keep your e-bike battery in a warm area. Secondly, protect it with a battery cover, and ride your bike less often during the winter. This will ensure that it continues to function even if it is left out in the cold weather all day.

over, it is crucial to insulate or heat your e-bike’s battery during the winter, especially if you want to use it all year long. All you need to do is keep the battery out of the cold, away from moisture, and in an optimum environment. In other words, it’s as simple as counting to three.

Your e-bike’s battery will last longer if you perform routine maintenance on it. For example, charging it regularly, avoiding short circuits, avoiding extreme temperatures, and storing it in a cool, dry location when not in use.

Keep in mind that your e-bike battery may not work as well in the winter due to the colder weather and bad road conditions. But at the same time, with some proper care and upkeep, your e-bike battery can last all year long!

How to Prep Your Electric Mountain Bike for Winter

True, there’s part of us that’s a little bummed watching the last of the leaves fall and the frost grab hold of the grass in the morning. But there’s truly nothing that replaces the feeling of being deep in the woods under a blanket of fresh, silent snow. So every year we take some time before the first snowflake flies to make sure our cold-weather gear is prepped and ready for action so we don’t skip a beat. A major component of that is knowing how to prepare an electric mountain bike for winter.

That said, if you live in an area like Southern California or Florida where you’re lucky enough to ride year-round without fear of freezing (but not fortunate to experience the magic of winter riding) then you can disregard most of these tips. Or, you can plan a vacation!

Although initially it might feel intimidating to brave winter weather for a snow-covered winter electric mountain bike ride, with a little preparation, some bike maintenance, and some extra apparel, it just might be your new favorite way to experience your go-to fair weather trail.

How do you store an electric bike? (Especially during the winter season).

When the temperature outside flirts with freezing, it’s important to know that an electric mountain bike simply can’t withstand the cold weather like the rest of your bike quiver can. While no bike should ever be left out in the elements (continuous exposure to rain, ice, and snow, can cause rust, fusing components, and driving your bike shop bill way up), e-bikes have several extra parts that don’t do very well even under cover in the freezing temperatures. In short: treat your e-bike like you might treat electric scooters.

Bring Batteries Inside

Most electric mountain bikes come equipped with lithium ion batteries. Simply, even high-quality batteries don’t do very well in the cold. Here are our most important tips for making sure that your e-bike batteries not only perform when you go out for a ride in the snow, but fulfill their life expectancy and keep you riding for years to come regardless of the weather forecast:

  • Charge the battery inside. We recommend removing the battery from your e-bike to charge it indoors. This is because oftentimes the temperature dips too low for your battery to effectively charge outdoors or even in the garage. In cold weather, you can sometimes leave the battery to charge overnight in the garage, and in the morning it will show an empty battery simply because of the temperature.
  • Store your battery (and extras if you have them) inside. For most of us, we get out there less frequently when the snow flies. So storing your batteries inside ensures they’re warmed up and ready to go even if a week or so elapses between bike rides.
  • Don’t let your battery sit for too long. Did you know that even high-quality lithium ion batteries like the ones that come with your electric mountain bike experience a phenomenon known as self-discharge? This slow loss of charge is inevitable and usually inconsequential unless you let your battery sit for too long. When your battery shows a charge of 0%, what it’s really telling you is that it’s at the minimum charge possible before it starts harming the battery. So when it stoops below, that’s when damage can occur. If you’re planning on letting your battery sit for more than two to two and a half months, make sure you’re popping by for an overnight charge every few weeks.

Invest in Studded Tires

There are many—sometimes gimmicky—gear options to help your bike for the winter season. The most important of them all: studded tires. Even if you’re riding high quality knobby fat tires, a good pair of studded tires can make a notable difference on ice and packed snow.

The options are seemingly endless. And because there are so many different types of winter riding, there is likely a right and a wrong studded tire for your electric fat tire mountain bike. Peruse The Adventure Junkies’ 2020 Fat Tires for Snow buying guide.

Test Ride Close to Home

Our best advice, and perhaps the most important one of this blog: test ride around your driveway or down the street before you drive out to the snowy trails for an electric mountain bike ride. Far too often we’ve heard stories of people thinking they’ve done everything right and by the time they get to the trailhead, unload their bike, gear up, and hop on, they realize that somehow they only have a bar or two of battery life.

Learning your bike in winter is a whole new experience. Don’t be ashamed of a bit of trial and error! But it’ll be to your benefit if you execute that trial and error in your front yard rather than an hour away at the outset of your ride.

So…how cold is too cold for a bike ride?

Simply, you can ride your e-bike in the coldest weather imaginable. But that doesn’t mean your battery is going to perform the way you expect it to. When the temperature dips below freezing, you’ll start to see less usable capacity in your ion lithium battery. Our recommendations: keep your battery in the car on the way to the trailhead, if it seems to be getting cold, put it into “boost” or “turbo” mode, and plan on shorter rides to stay safely close to the car in case it unexpectedly drops to zero.

Yes, You Can Ride an E-Bike All Winter Long

With proper clothing and technique, you can tackle snow, ice, wind, and rain on two wheels.

Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto.

Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science.

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When my electric cargo bike arrived in mid-November, several people commented on how unfortunate it was that the bike came so late in the season. “You’ll have to wait until spring to see how it rides,” they said. Clearly, these people don’t know me very well because cold, wet, and even snowy weather has never been an obstacle! There is no bad weather for biking, just bad clothing. If you know how to dress, and how to handle a bicycle in slippery conditions, you can ride all year round.

I live in Ontario, Canada, in a town on the edge of Lake Huron that doesn’t get terribly cold weather (most January days are between 14ºF and 28ºF), but there’s a lot of wind and snow buildup. I realize that everyone’s conditions differ greatly, depending on where they live, so I’ll try to keep the following advice as broad as possible. The bottom line is to use common sense and assess the riding conditions daily, as these can change rapidly.

What to Wear

Electric bikes are similar to conventional bikes in that you don’t need to dress as warmly as if you were out walking. Stay on the cool side, even a bit uncomfortably cool at first, following the classic advice, “Never dress for just the first mile.” With the electric assist, however, you won’t get as hot and sweaty as you would on a regular bike, so keep that in mind.

After my very first e-bike ride, which happened to be through a heavy, frigid November rain, I ordered a pair of basic rain pants from outdoor gear retailer MEC. This was a Smart purchase that I now use almost every time I leave the house. They’re better than snow pants because they’re light and thin, offering a water- and wind-proof layer over tights. (My colleague Lloyd has said that fenders are sufficient for him and he hasn’t had to use waterproof shell pants, but that’s not my experience.)

For footwear, I just use my Blundstone boots, as they’re fairly lightweight (more so than my regular winter boots) and adequately warm with an insole and pair of wool socks. Some serious riders prefer special riding shoes, which can be weather-proofed by adding a Neoprene overshoe.

Gloves are a must. I use the same old pair of leather gloves I’ve had for years, but a post on Outside Online suggests buying a pair of split-finger mittens, which frees up your index finger for manipulating gears and brakes more easily. This is a Smart idea, since mittens are so much warmer than gloves, and I do find my fingers go numb after a while. This might be my next bike-related purchase.

Don’t forget about your head! Just because you have a helmet on doesn’t mean you shouldn’t insulate your head. Choose a thin hat, balaclava, or thermal layer that fits under your helmet. Add a neck gaiter to avoid snow flying into your neck and that you can pull up over your mouth for added protection.

Choose brightly colored clothing. Visibility is more important than ever during the dark winter months. I feel more confident knowing my bike is orange and my Arc’teryx shell is bright red. People can see me a mile away – although this also means that everyone knows where I am at all times (welcome to small-town life) and tells me they’ve tracked my progress around town. Still, I’d rather be highly visible and intact than squashed by a car.

How to Ride

Winter riding requires a slightly different set of skills than in the summer. Generally, you’ll have to slow your speed and be more cautious about pavement conditions, which can change rapidly from dry to wet to icy. If you hit ice, proceed steadily and slowly.

When I took my e-bike on a particularly icy snow-packed shortcut last week, I found that using just the throttle worked better than pedaling with the electric assist, since every time I pushed down on the pedals it caused the tires to spin a bit.

The RadPower Bike Team recommends using both brakes to get more braking power. Don’t be afraid of the front brake; it offers more stopping power than the rear. Slow down before making a turn, rather than trying to brake while in a turn. If you need to make a forceful stop, brace yourself against the handlebars and pedals to maintain control.

It’s recommended not to hug the curb when riding in winter. This is “where broken glass, bits of rusted metal from cars, and general road debris build up as the rain washes it to the shoulder. This stuff will make an unpleasant riding experience and can puncture your tires.” Fortunately, cars tend to give cyclists a wider berth in winter – if this is the case in your area, don’t hesitate to occupy more of the lane.

Make sure you’ve got good, strong lights on the bike – at least one big headlight and a red rear light. I like to set my rear light to flashing when riding in darker conditions because it’s more noticeable than when it’s solid. Add extra lights to your backpack, helmet, or handlebars if you can. (I have a friend who rides with fairy lights entwined around the body of her bike, in addition to regular lights; those are hard to miss!)

Bike Maintenance

Tires typically need less pressure in winter than in summer:

“Just like with a car tire, reduced pressure makes a bike tire squish out a little bit and gain better traction. For snowy roads, some people like mountain bike tires for all conditions, others like big, fat, knobby ones to gain even more traction and float over the slush, snow, sand, and grit below.”

Since my RadWagon tires are more than three inches in width, they’re already close to a fat-bike tire, which makes me feel stable and secure.

The battery needs special care in colder weather. It should be stored and charged at temperatures between 50ºF and 77ºF (10-25ºC). Store the bike in a dry place, and if it’s not heated, remove the battery and take it inside with you.

Avoid submerging the bike in water by staying out of deep puddles or streams. You never want to submerge an e-bike, as it can cause damage to electronic components.

You will need to clean your bike more frequently after winter riding. Try to let the bike dry before using a wet brush to remove dirt on the frame, followed by wiping with a rag soaked in chain cleaner. Avoid detergents that could degrade the lubricants on brake pads.

Riding at temperatures below.4ºF (-20ºC) is not recommended in general, so consider alternate forms of transportation on those really frigid days.

Don’t let winter scare you off your e-bike! With the right clothing and riding tactics, you can engage in a great form of exercise that gets you from point A to point B while banishing the winter blues and boosting your energy.

Note: Always read your bike’s owner’s manual carefully and heed the manufacturer’s safety instructions.

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