One of the benefits of riding an ebike is that it allows you to venture off the beaten path and ride on roads that are difficult or to far to reach with conventional bikes. You're one of the fortunate and rare riders who don't have to drive your ebike to ride if you live near a trail that's readily available and close to your house. For a lot of people, getting to those distant spots to ride isn't always easy or convenient, and they'll have to drive a little to get "off the grid." Many ebikers bring their ebikes on vacations and weekend getaways to add a little more adventure to their travels!
We know it can be inconvenient to travel with your ebike so we’ve got some tips on making it easier. We hope these suggestions will be useful when you take your ebike with you the next time you travel.
How to Travel With Your Ebike
With the current state of the global pandemic, travel restrictions may be imposed by state, municipal, and territorial governments. It may include testing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and quarantine requirements upon arrival. Check the state or territorial and local health departments where you are, along your route, and where you are going for the most up-to-date information and travel advice. Be prepared to be flexible during your travel, as constraints and policies may change. Follow all travel rules imposed by the state, locality, and territory.
Traveling by Land
Transporting ebikes behind your vehicle is the safest, quickest, and most versatile method available. A hitch-mounted bike rack is highly recommended because it is widely regarded as the best way to transport bicycles on a vehicle. They're tough, dependable, and easy to load, and they won't damage your vehicle. Your vehicle, however, must be equipped with a receiver hitch. This is something that you could do at your local Uhaul. 1-14” and 2” hitches are the most common sizes. With most ebike racks requiring at least a 2” receiver. Make sure the bike rack you buy fits your vehicle's hitch receiver. If you're not sure, hire a professional to install and inspect your bike rack.
Another thing to consider is the weight capacity of the bike rack you're considering.
There is a weight limit on all bike racks. If your budget permits, try to purchase a bike rack with the greatest weight capacity. Because ebikes are typically heavier than conventional bikes, it's critical that the bike rack you buy can handle the added weight. The kind of rack that sits on your bumper and has fabric straps that hook onto the trunk isn't a good match for larger ebikes in general. Using this type of rack should leave a mark on your bumper.
Also, if you have a specialized ebike frame like a cargo bike or step through, make sure the rack you plan on purchasing is compatible with your bike.
Traveling by Plane
Taking your electric bike on a plane has one major drawback: the battery. The size and capacity of batteries brought on board a plane – whether as carry-on or checked luggage – are strictly regulated by airports and airlines. To be permitted on board, battery capacity, or Watt-hour (Wh) rating, must be less than 100Wh.
Batteries with a watt-hour (Wh) capacity of 100-160 Wh may also be permitted on board with prior approval from the air carrier. Most electric bike batteries, however, are much larger, ranging from 300Wh to 600Wh+, and would almost certainly be prohibited from flying. When flying with an ebike and still needing power at your destination, though, you have a few choices.
Getting a Battery On-Site
Renting a battery before you arrive is the safest choice. This is much less costly than renting an entire e-bike, which is a plus since e-bikes are much more costly to rent than regular bikes. You'll also have the convenience of riding your own bike. E-bikes (as well as leasing batteries) are now available for rent in almost all major cities.
Doing a quick Google search will turn up a list of bike rental companies in your destination. Contact them to see if you can rent just the battery back rather than the whole bike.
Ship Your Battery to Your Destination
This is an alternative, but it is far more costly and time-consuming. E-bike lithium batteries are classified as Dangerous Goods, which require special handling and labeling. In addition to the ordinary shipping charges (which are not cheap for foreign services), you must also demonstrate general manufacture and performance testing records for that type of battery.
To avoid a short circuit, each battery must be correctly packed when sending. To properly seal the battery, you'll need an inner liner and extra durable exterior packaging. Finally, include a Dangerous Goods waybill and supporting stickers in the package.
A lot of people will be turned off by this whole process. Especially when you consider the time you'll be without your battery on either side of your trip (unless you have a spare) and the probability that it will get lost or delayed in transit.
Bring Your Tools
We've all been there: you're out on a ride and then you get a flat tire. Don't let this derail your adventure. Before you leave, make sure you have everything you'll need to keep cruising during your journey. When touring, you'll need a bike pump to keep your tires inflated. Furthermore, the tire pump's slim stand-up design helps you to store it in your trunk and forget about it until you need it. Alternatively, hopefully you will never have to be concerned about it. Additionally, the hex key that came with your bike is an excellent tool to keep in your glovebox or bag in case you need to change any component of your bike.
Keep Your Bike Safe
You may pass by some interesting places while riding your bike. A bike lock is a must-have for your adventures, giving you the peace of mind to investigate that farmers market or street fair you came across without worrying about your bike being stolen. The typical U-shaped lock, which can be mounted on your bike frame, is the most common bike lock. This gives you to ride your bike anywhere and really get to know the parts of town that you might have missed from the car window.
The U-Lock should be used to secure the bike frame and should be anchored to something solid, such as a bike rack or a street sign. Make sure your wheels are properly secured! It's simple to secure the wheels by looping a cable lock through them and then through the U-Lock.
When leaving your bikes on the bike rack overnight or when visiting, it's also important to secure them to the bike rack. This ensures that when you wake up, your bikes are still in place, allowing you to relax and enjoy your journey.