Electric bicycles continue to revolutionize the way people get around all over the world. In Europe, they’re proving to be extremely capable urban mobility devices, even replacing cars in certain trips around town. The same is true in Asia, as many cities’ congested streets make commuting by car a tedious, tiresome task. Meanwhile, in the US, e-bikes are picking up steam, as sales have quadrupled since 2019.

Now, I’ve been writing about e-bike stuff here on InsideEVs for nearly two years now, and I know a number of our readers have made the shift, or at least added an e-bike to their fleet of vehicles. For those of you who haven’t, well maybe you’re thinking of doing so in 2024. I thought I’d make that a little easier for you by giving you a quick rundown of everything you need to hit the road (or trails) on two wheels in a safe and enjoyable way. Let’s dive right in.

Do some research

Thok’s MIG eS Is The Perfect E-Bike For Both Urban And Off-Road Explorers
Folding Bike Maker Brompton Refreshes Its E-Bike Lineup For 2023

There are tons of e-bikes on the market today, and each of them are different from one another. Indeed, you don't need to look far. Simply type "e-bike" on our search bar, and you'll find hundred of articles highlighting everything the e-bike industry has to offer. That being said, the first step in starting your e-bike journey would be determining what kind of riding you actually want to do. Of course, this would depend on a multitude of factors such as your skill level, where you live, how long your commute is, and of course your budget.

If you’re the adventurous type and want to get into e-biking primarily for recreational purposes, then an e-MTB is probably your best bet. We’ve talked about tons of e-MTBs, and quite a lot of them offer impressive all-terrain capability at an irresistible price. If you’ve got kids and plan to use your e-bike for transporting them and running some errands, you may want to consider a long-tail cargo e-bike. Meanwhile, if you plan to ride mostly on the road and occasionally cross the odd gravel path or light trail, an electric gravel bike could be the one for you.

New Murf Higgs Cargo E-Bike Impresses With Versatility And Retro Style

Last but not least, once you’ve decided what kind of e-bike is best for you, you’re going to want to try it out. Head over to your nearest e-bike dealer or bike shop and see if they offer test rides. If not, try to find a buddy who already rides. Maybe they’ve got the bike you’re eyeing or something similar, and are willing to let you take theirs for a spin.

High Quality Helmet And Basic Gear

Looking To Get Your First E-Bike In 2024? Read This First

It goes without saying that riding an electric bicycle is slightly more dangerous than riding a regular bicycle. The addition of a powerful motor inevitably adds extra speed and weight into the equation, so it’s always a good idea to dress appropriately before hitting the cycle paths, roads, or trails, aboard an e-bike.

Looking To Get Your First E-Bike In 2024? Read This First

Luckily, there are tons of decent e-bike rated helmets on the market. These lids offer significantly more protection than your standard bicycle helmet, particularly at the back of the head. Some of these helmets even make use of premium tech such as Mips, which go the extra mile to protect your noggin' in the event of a tumble. It’s also worth investing in padded cycling shorts or pants so you don’t get saddlesore – something that’s pretty much inevitable especially for beginners. Gloves can also prevent your hands from getting sore while ensuring you have a good grip on the bike. They also provide abrasion resistance in the event of a drop or crash.

Learn How To Work On Your Bike

Looking To Get Your First E-Bike In 2024? Read This First

Bicycles are among the most reliable means of mobility, and their two-century existence is proof of this. Nevertheless, they’re machines, and machines can break down. As such, it’s essential that you learn even just the basics when it comes to troubleshooting and repairing your e-bike. Depending on the e-bike of your choice, you’ll want to learn how to replace a chain. Of course, removing the wheels is a must, and so too is replacing tires and inner tubes.

Bike tools are specialized, but they’re by no means expensive, especially if you know where to look. Scour the classifieds or Facebook Marketplace for a used set of bike tools, as well as a handy multi-tool that you can carry around with you when you ride. A floor pump for your home is also a convenient way to air up your tires before you ride, but you’re also going to need a portable hand pump (there are even fancy electronic pumps now) when you hit the road.

Learn About The World Around You

Swiss Startup URB-X Is Developing Elevated Bike Paths For European Cities

Depending on where you are in the world, different rules and regulations apply to bikes and e-bikes which will ultimately affect all the choices you make about the stuff I mentioned above. For example, in Europe, all e-bikes are mandated to have a nominal power output of 250 watts. Lots of European countries also have comprehensive cyclist-focused infrastructure such as bike paths, bike parking, and dedicated bike lanes alongside public roads. Meanwhile, cyclists in Asia and parts of the US aren’t as lucky.

At the end of the day, defensive riding is key for a safe and enjoyable e-biking experience. Riding like you’re invisible (i.e., not assuming other road users can see you) is the best way to develop a safe riding style. Having the proper safety gear, a capable bike, and the know-how to keep things shiny side up and rubber side down only make your two-wheeled experience more enjoyable.

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