Things to know before your first electric bike ride

At the start of the pandemic last spring, I signed up for a Gotcha monthly subscription. The $10 pass covers an hour of biking per day, and it seemed like a great way to escape and get some fresh air. It was my first time climbing onto an electric bike, and throughout 2020, I learned a few things about them. If you’re a newbie like I was, here are my tips. ridegotcha.com

Check rental availability on the app first.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked to the opposite side of downtown only to discover all the bikes at the station I’d walked to were already rented out. Womp womp! Check the app’s map. It will tell you how many bikes are currently available at each station, plus how much battery power each bike has left.

Watch the battery power.

I like to ride for about an hour, so to be safe, I’d always look for bikes with at least a 70% charge. If bikes are scarce, grab one with a low battery, ride to another station and exchange for a different bike.

Get ready for a fast ride.

All it takes is a few pumps of the pedals for the bike’s electric assist to kick in. Suddenly, you’ll feel like you’re flying. Watch your speed on the bike’s digital screen, and remember that you’ll need to hit the brakes quicker and earlier than you might on a regular bike.

Know that electric bikes are much heavier.

Because of the batteries, computer parts and a generally thicker frame, e-bikes weigh significantly more than traditional bikes. Be mindful if your route takes you to a place where you’ll need to walk the bike over unpaved terrain or carry it up a hill. Avoid dropping the bike so you don’t injure yourself.

Don’t forget to end your rental on the app.

It might feel like locking your bike back up should simply end the rental, but there’s one more step. Make it official on the app, too, so you can avoid being charged for the minutes when the bike is not in use.

This article was originally published in the February 2021 issue of 225 magazine.