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Riding within your ability: off-road, in wet weather, and on hilly terrain

To have a safe and fun ride, it's important to take weather and terrain conditions into consideration when riding a bike. 

  • Always travel at speeds appropriate for local terrain and conditions as well as your experience level. When in doubt, slow down!
  • Ride with your headlight on, which will make you more visible in any condition. The headlight will turn on when the ebike is powered on. We recommend you keep it on whenever you ride.
  • Concentrate on the path ahead. Avoid potholes, gravel, ice, wet or oily roads, wet leaves, curbs, train tracks, speed bumps, drain gates, thorns, broken glass, and other obstacles, hazards, and puncture/flat risks.

Click on a heading below to learn more about riding your ebike on different terrains and conditions.

Path Riding

Be a good citizen of shared-use paths and facilities. Keep your speed reasonable and below path speed limits, pass carefully and kindly. Use your voice and/or bell to signal your presence to others, especially when passing. Keep in mind that your ebike is heavy, can go at high speeds, and can hurt others if not operated with care.

Road Riding

When riding on streets, obey the same road laws as all other road vehicles as well as local rules governing bike or ebike usage. Sharing the road with other vehicles presents many hazards. Always take these precautions:

  • Expect the unexpected such as opening car doors or cars backing out of driveways.
  • Be extra careful at intersections and when preparing to pass other vehicles or other cyclists.
  • Ride predictably, in a straight line, and with the flow of traffic. Never ride against traffic.
  • Use correct hand signals to indicate turning, and do so well in advance of turning.
  • Ride defensively. To other road users you may be hard to see.
  • Increase your visibility by following the tips in the Low-visibility conditions section below.

Crossing train tracks or similar grooved or raised surfaces at a diagonal can make the surface “grab” or deflect your wheel, causing your ebike to suddenly get stuck or crash, leading to serious injury or death. Always cross such hazards at a perpendicular angle or, when in doubt, dismount and walk your ebike across. 

Off-Road Riding

Riding off road requires close attention and specific skills, and it presents variable conditions and hazards. Don’t ride off road unless you have the appropriate skills. If you choose to ride off road, wear appropriate safety gear and do not ride alone in remote areas.

Extreme riding puts you at VERY HIGH RISK of serious injury or death. Extreme riding includes but is not limited to jumps, stunts, or any riding that exceeds your capabilities or the strength and integrity limitations of certain ebike components and/or otherwise leads to dangerous situations. Never engage in extreme riding or any type of riding that exceeds your capabilities.

Hilly Terrain

Ebike performance on hills depends on factors including the weight of rider, steepness of the hill, cargo load on the bike, and more.

Riding on Steep Hills

  • Always pedal when climbing hilly terrain to avoid straining the motor. A rider must keep the bike moving at a reasonable and steady pace when using high levels of power assistance. Demanding high power output when the bike is moving at slow speeds may strain the motor.
  • Pedaling in a low level of pedal assist (levels 1, 2, or 3) or riding with the twist throttle only partially applied can help keep the bike moving without high power demand, which will increase the longevity of the bike's motor.
  • Plan your route to avoid very steep hills (over 15% grade) if possible.
Hills with a 15% or Greater Grade
  • Never ride up hills which exceed a 15% grade with the motor fully engaged.
  • If you need to ride up hills steeper than a 15% grade, it is important to set the bike to a lower level of pedal assist (levels 1, 2, or 3) and to maintain a reasonable speed above a walking pace. For hills that exceed your ability to climb as a cyclist, you can engage walk mode (see below).
Riding with Cargo
  • Hills that are normally easy to climb and descend can become challenging and dangerous once cargo is loaded onto the bike.
  • A rider’s hill climbing ability, steering, and braking are all impacted when cargo is loaded on the bike.
  • Get used to controlling the bike with a cargo load in a flat and open area before riding on roads or hills.
  • Click HERE to view payload capacity and cargo options available for your ebike.
Walk Mode
  • Use walk mode to help propel the bike forward at a walking pace. Walk mode allows the motor to move the bike at a relatively slow, constant speed so that a person can walk next to the bike with their hands on the handlebar, without having to push the full weight of the bike. Click HERE to learn how to enable walk mode on your ebike.
  • Walk mode must only be used while dismounted from the bike and with both hands on the handlebar.
  • Always keep at least one hand on a brake lever to allow quick cutoff of the motor assistance if necessary and to maintain control of the bike. 
Low-Visibility Conditions

Riding at night or in other low-visibility conditions (dawn, dusk, fog, rain, mist, snow, etc.) makes it harder to see and avoid hazards and makes it harder for others to see and avoid you, which increases risk of accidents, serious injury, or death. Wet, slippery surfaces will compound your risk of injury or death. Avoid these conditions whenever possible. If you must ride in these conditions, following the guidelines below can reduce risk.

  • Wear reflective and brightly-colored clothing.
  • Slow down.
  • Use familiar routes with street lighting if possible.
  • Ensure tire sidewall, pedal, and other reflectors are installed and unobstructed.
  • Ensure headlight and taillight/brake light are functioning correctly and unobstructed. Use them.
Wet Conditions

Your ebike is not meant for use in puddles, heavy rain, or streams. Never immerse or submerge this product in water or liquid as the electrical system may be damaged.

Riding in wet conditions means slippery hands, feet, and riding surfaces, which greatly increases your risk of accidents, serious injury, or death. Low-visibility conditions (night, dusk, dawn, fog, mist, rain, snow, etc.) will compound your risk of injury or death. Avoid riding in such conditions. If you choose to ride in wet conditions, you do so at your own risk. Follow the recommendations below to reduce that risk.

  • Decrease riding speed to help you control the ebike in slippery conditions.
  • Brake earlier since it will take longer to slow down than in dry conditions.
  • Take care to be more visible to others on the road, following the tips in the Low-visibility conditions section above.
  • Remember that road hazards are more difficult to see when wet, so proceed with extra caution.

Click HERE to read a post on The Scenic Route about riding in winter weather, or click HERE for tips on winter riding.

Rad Power Bikes discourages riding in conditions that exceed your or your bike’s ability. We also recommend consulting a local, reputable, and certified bike mechanic to inspect and tune your bike before engaging in any off-road or wet weather riding.

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