Just like drivers should make it a habit to check their mirrors and buckle their seatbelt before taking off on the road, a pre-ride bike check is an important habit for every cyclist. And this goes for both e-bike riders and analog bike riders.
Fortunately, there’s a lot of overlap between fast electric bike and analog (or normal) bike safety checks. That being said, there are a few extra things to consider for electric bikes, so buckle up for our checklist! While you can’t predict everything that will happen on a bike ride, checking over your e-bike before you leave better ensures that you won’t run into any surprises. This way, you can run into a potential issue in your garage instead of 10 miles into a ride. Whew!
- Electric Bike Safety Pre-Ride Guide
a. Plan your ride.
b. Check the basics: tires, brakes, chain, lights, helmet.
c. Check your battery level.
d. Make sure your display is working.
Electric Bike Safety Pre-Ride Guide
1. Plan your ride.
Before embarking on a safety checklist, it’s good to map out your plan. Don’t worry — you don’t need to have a specific destination in mind, but here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- How long am I planning on biking?
- About what time will it be when I get back?
- Am I traveling a long way or is this a quick ride (such as under a mile to the store)?
- What are the current weather conditions?
- Is the weather going to change?
- What type of riding will I experience (ex. city roads, gravel trails, etc.)?
Other than wearing a helmet, planning ahead is perhaps the most important safety measure of them all. If you know you’ll be coming back around sunset, you know you’ll need to check your lights. If it might rain later, packing a rain jacket is a good idea. If you might be out for several hours, grabbing some snacks and water is crucial — not the case if you’re just biking down the road and back.
Use these questions to determine what you need to take with you, as well as what else you need to check on your pre-ride e-bike safety list.
2. All Bikes: Check the Basics
Checking your tires, brakes, lights, and helmet should happen regardless of whether you’re riding an e-bike or an analog. We carry a variety of parts, tools, and other accessories to help you make quick repairs before your ride. And don’t forget about our helmets and extra lighting options so that you can enjoy your ride while staying safe.
- Start by seeing if you need to pump up your bike tires. Give each tire a little squeeze with your hand to see how much give there is. If it’s not pretty firm, you’ll likely need to fill them up. Electric bikes will need to have tires pumped up more frequently than analog bikes.
- Squeeze your hand brakes while slowly moving the bike to make sure your bike stops. Test both brakes at the same time, as well as separately. Make sure your tires and brakes are in alignment.
- See that your chain is on the derailleur.
- Make sure your reflectors are facing the correct direction. Test your lights by turning them on and off.
- Properly fit your helmet and make adjustments as necessary.
3. E-Bikes: Check your Battery and Display
Turn on your display with the power button. Check the display, or on the battery itself to see how charged your e-bike battery is. As a reminder, you do not need the battery to ride your electric bike, but you can’t use pedal assist without it. It’s also a good idea to check back in with your battery after you finish riding and charge it as necessary.
Next, you can make sure your display is working. If you see SERVICE pop up, that means there is a maintenance issue. Consult your owner’s manual about any display issues and troubleshoot before riding.
What should I do if I encounter a problem during my pre-ride safety check?
Whenever you can, you’ll want to deal with the problem as soon as possible. There are certain things that must be taken care of before riding, such as if your brakes aren’t working or your chain popped off.
In other instances, fixing might be able to wait. If you’re just biking to a nearby store in the middle of a sunny day and you won’t encounter much traffic, you probably can get by without your lights. Planning your ride will help you prioritize what fixes, if any, are top priority.
Do I need to check my e-bike battery and display if I don’t plan on using it?
It’s still a good idea to check your e-bike battery and display. If you don’t check it this time because you know you’re not going to use it, make sure to check it next time as part of regular bike maintenance.
How can I do a pre-ride e-bike safety check as quickly as possible?
You never want to skimp on safety precautions, but there are two things you can do to make your pre-ride safety check more efficient:
- Do a post-ride check. Make it a habit to check all your electric bike components when you’re finished riding so that you know what to expect for next time.
- Schedule your pre-ride check. If you know it takes you 20 minutes to bike to work, don’t start your pre-ride check 20 minutes before you’re supposed to clock in, as you’ll probably feel the need to rush. Get in the habit of giving yourself an extra 5-10 minutes before setting off.