A Bike’s Not Just for Summer: Choosing to Cycle, Whatever the Weather

A Bike’s Not Just for Summer: Choosing to Cycle, Whatever the Weather

23/06/2020

With the arrival of the British summer and this week set to be a real scorcher, we’re expecting to see an increasing number of cyclists taking to the roads to make the most of this glorious weather. Following 2019s record-breaking high temperatures, peaking at a staggering 38.7°C at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens on 25 July, you may want to consider an electric bike as your vehicle of choice, after all, as one of our customers put it: “it’s like riding around with free air conditioning”. With that said, whether it’s summer or one of our cooler months, there are many reasons why an e-bike will serve you well throughout the whole year. 

As summer temperatures increase, riding an e-bike becomes an increasingly appealing option. With DASH’s e-bikes, far less effort is needed (especially up hills). This means that whether you’re in a suit or shorts and a t-shirt, getting from A to B won’t leave you hot, sweaty and needing a shower when you arrive at your destination.

Even with the pedal assistance provided by the electric motor, electric bikes are a great form of low impact cardiovascular exercise, and cycling on one has perhaps become more of an appealing transport option this summer in particular. With the COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront of people’s minds, now is a great time to choose an e-bike over public transport. Public transport in Summer is bad enough at the best of times, but with the new requirement of wearing a mask, it’s set to be especially unenjoyable this summer. The recent government guidance on 1st June for exercising during lockdown states that there are no longer limitations on the travelling distance, frequency or duration of outdoor exercise. This points to cycling as an ideal travel option to avoid cramped trains and buses, while helping to prevent the spread of the virus and there’s also no limitation on recreational usage either now.

Rain, Rain, Go Away… 

Living in England, it is no secret that we experience our fair share of unpredictable weather – or so we think! With only 29% of our year consisting of ‘rain days’ on average, as recorded by The Met Office, London might actually be much drier than you think. Firstly the Met defines a ‘rain day’ as any day where greater than 1mm of rain falls, which could be as brief as a 15min shower – not what most of us would call a rainy day. 

It might also surprise you to learn that some cities which are even notoriously thought of as being reliably hot and dry all year round, are in fact subjected to more rainfall days per year than London. Capital of the Sunshine State, Miami, averages out at 135 rain days, 27% more than London’s meagre 106. It is maybe time therefore that we free ourselves from the shackles of using the weather as an excuse not to cycle, much like our Dutch neighbours.

A staggering 60% of people in Amsterdam stated that they cycle daily, whilst only 11% of people living in London cycle once per week or more, and yet Amsterdam sits up alongside Miami’s annual rain days at 133. Surely, then, it is evident that weather should not be a determining factor in the decision to hop on your bike rather than choosing alternative methods of transport, particularly in these summer months.

The trick to maximising your e-bike usage, therefore, is being prepared with weather-dependent clothing, while also understanding how to stay safe cycling in the range of weather conditions we face each year.

In rainy or cold weather, you will be able to ride an e-bike without any problems, as long as you take these few simple guidelines into consideration to ensure your own safety and comfort: 

Keep your electric bike protected from the rain. Firstly, it is essential to abolish the myth that electric bikes aren’t water-resistant and therefore aren’t able to be ridden in the rain. This is entirely incorrect! The bike’s motor, connection points and battery pack are all safely sealed, making riding the bikes perfectly appropriate during the approximately 106 rain days we experience each year. When storing your e-bike, ensuring it’s kept in a cool, dry area will effectively protect it from the outdoor elements, keeping it safe and in quality condition. 

Don’t forget to waterproof yourself too. It’s important to make sure that you are able to be similarly weather-resistant to the rain as your bike is, so make sure to invest in a set of waterproof layers in order to stay dry on your journeys. Wearing a suitable waterproof jacket, cycling cap under your helmet to keep you warm and dry, and also clear or yellow lens glasses will protect your eyes from water and mud in order to ensure you are able to maintain great visibility on the roads and enjoy cycling even in adverse weather conditions. 

Take extra care when cycling in wet weather. Unlike car tyres, there’s no danger of aquaplaning on wet roads, however extra care is still required when cycling to ensure you are kept safe on your bike. Aiming to keep clear of surfaces on the roads which could be slippy, such as road-markings and manhole covers, will keep you riding safely and confidently. As a rider, one potential area of concern with cycling on wet roads is that you are likely to be unable to tell if the puddles you encounter are covering potholes or concealing puncture-causing rocks. As part of all bikes available on a Dash subscription, the latest technology is put into the bikes’ tyres to ensure the risk of punctures is dramatically reduced; therefore by being smart with your choice of e-bike and making the conscious effort to avoid puddles wherever possible, the wet weather need not prevent you from cycling. 

Keep your bike and clothing clean. Preventing your e-bike chain from rusting and ensuring clothing is kept clean whilst cycling in the rain is another challenge that can be easily overcome. Fenders on all Dash subscription bikes will effectively protect you and your clothing from mud and water when cycling, whilst using a chain guard provides an effective solution for any concerns around the bottom of clothing becoming either dirty or damaged if caught in the bike’s oily chain. The use of a chain guard in wet weather also serves another purpose, as it has the ability to ensure your bike’s chain is protected from the elements and avoids the components from degrading. Simply installing a chain guard to your e-bike will provide extra protection to the chain, preventing it from being exposed to the elements and potentially rusting as a result, and therefore ensuring you are kept mobile all year round.

The Benefits Of Cycling In Winter

As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop during the winter months, there is no excuse for you to miss out on the enjoyment of riding your electric bike. It is important to appreciate the positive mental and physical impact of cycling, and perhaps even use it as a way to boost your mood during those long, dark winter months. Becoming more aware of how to best protect yourself and your e-bike for the challenges associated with winter riding, these handy cycling tips should help to prevent the change in seasons from getting in the way of you choosing to use your electric bike.

See and be seen. The clothing you choose to wear has the ability to hugely impact your safety whilst cycling on the roads. Our key piece of advice for cycling in winter is to ensure you are wearing reflective items of clothing. Reflective garments are able to make a huge impact on your visibility to other cyclists and drivers and will help you remain safe on your electric bike during the winter’s shorter days. Each electric bike that DASH provides is fitted with high-quality LED lights, providing even further visibility assistance for your winter rides, and successfully tackling those concerns around opting to cycle in the darker winter months. Our final piece of winter clothing advice is to invest in clothing that will keep you warm in the cold weather. Due to electric bikes’ motorised assistance, and therefore the reduced amount of pedalling effort required, it is possible to wear warmer, thicker layers, which may not be considered cyclist-specific clothing, when cycling in winter. Choosing to wear a pair of quality, water-resistant gloves will allow your hands to remain warm and dry, while also helping you to maintain a comfortable grip on the bike’s handlebar throughout your cycle. As long as you are prepared with appropriate clothing for the weather, cycling on an electric bike in winter can certainly be just as safe and enjoyable as in the warmer, dryer months

Protect your bike. Remembering to take care of your electric bike after you finish your ride is one simple way to ensure that you are kept mobile during the winter months. Luckily, most London offices are able to offer indoor bike storage facilities, whilst folding e-bikes can be kept neatly under your office desk, making it safe and simple to cycle to work all year round. Having a safe place to store your electric bike either at work or at home in a cool, dry area will prevent any unnecessary bike deterioration or rusting, and will protect the e-bike’s battery from the cold outdoor temperatures. Following these simple guidelines to caring for your e-bike will help you to keep your bike’s range up and in great working condition, allowing your bike to run smoothly even when temperatures drop. 

Cycle with care. When faced with icy, snowy or simply wet road surfaces, we recommend that you take extra care when cycling in order to stay safe on the roads. With the increased risk of slippery road surfaces during the winter months, it is important that you know how to effectively maintain complete control of your bike to ensure your safety. If conditions are particularly icy or snowy, making alterations to your route could help to keep you more stable and safe on your bike. Avoiding the kerbs of roads, as well as ungritted, quieter roads in these extreme weather conditions is likely to make your journey far safer and allow you to cycle with more confidence and control over your electric bike. When cycling on any slippery road surfaces, you should aim to use the e-bike’s brakes in equal measure to avoid any loss of bike control, applying 50% on the front and 50% on the back, which will allow you to reduce your bike’s speed more gradually than is necessary when cycling on dry ground. The quality of your electric bike’s brakes will also impact your ability to feel confident when cycling in winter. The high-quality brakes on all DASH subscription bikes ensure that the e-bike remains a reliable, safe transport option all year round. 

It’s extremely important that you feel safe on your e-bike all year round, whatever the weather. As part of our subscription package, DASH provides servicing to keep your bike in top condition, therefore continuing to provide you with a safe, enjoyable and accessible transport option all year round. Putting this practical guidance into action, and taking advantage of the products and services provided by DASH, you will be able to enjoy the prospect of cycling during each and every season. It is able to become an extremely appealing prospect during each of the year’s seasons. It’s time to embrace the fact that British weather is truly not as bad as we often think, and to make the most of the opportunities to continually gain more cycling experience. 

ABOUT DASH

DASH provides flexible e-bike subscriptions that deliver the benefits of usage while removing the headaches and financial commitment of ownership. Subscriptions can be tailored in innovative and tax-efficient ways to suit your needs helping employers and employees lower their transport costs, increase productivity and improve sustainability.

If you are researching ways to promote cycling within your organisation, please get in touch with us via our website or email us at [email protected] – we’ll be happy to start a conversation with you.