When to replace your Handlebar Grips

When to replace your Handlebar Grips

Handlebar grips do need to be replaced. Know when to replace your grips so you have the confidence that you have great control and contact with your handlebars to keep you safe.

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tow rope

The purpose of Handlebar Grips 

Your handlebar grips provide the connection between your hands and the handlebars of the bike. A good connection is important so you can maintain your grip on the handlebars and steer the bike.

Your handlebar grips provide comfort and cushioning for your hands. Without good comfort and cushioning your can experience discomfort in your hands arms, shoulders and upper body.

Every time you ride your hands will make contact with your grips. Being a contact point on your bike makes them a well used component of your bike. This as well as they are often constructed from materials that are soft and less durable so they can provide cushioning contribute to the fact they often need replacing. However they are frequently a forgotten part of the bike.

,,,so it is vital that you check your handlebar grips regularly and replace them when they become worn.

What to look for in a worn grip. 

Handlebar grips are designed with a  surface that will assist you to maintain a grip.  What that surface is made of as well as the design of the surface varies between different brands and the style and type of grip.

Often the grip will have multiple and small protruding bumps, ridges or waffling to provide a more effective sticky contact surface This style of grip when wearing out will often show as a  smoothing and thinning of the surface,

If your grips were originally smooth then when they become worn out, you are looking for a smoother more shinier surface.

If any of these different types of surfaces are very worn out there could be an appearance of cracks, bare spots and holes

Grip ends – The ends of grips are enclosed to cover and provide protection to the end of your handlebars and provide protection to surfaces that handlebars are leant against. Grips ends are often exposed to wearing especially in kids bikes – as they rest their bike on the ground as they get on and off the bike.

Check to make sure that the ends of the grips are fully intact and replace if the end of the grip is compromised.

Smoothing of the ridges and a thining of the the material shows a worn out grip.

Other reasons to replace. 

The main other reason to replace ,,,will be if you are finding discomfort in your hands, arms or upper body.

Consider whether you may simply need to replace a worn out grip or you may need to consider the level of cushioning you currently have in your grip. Different grips provide different levels of cushioning. You may require an endurance grip or maybe a change in shape to increase the support to your hands and upper body.

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Kids and Youth Bike Pads – Soft versus Hard

Kids and Youth Bike Pads – Soft versus Hard

Give your kids and youth padded protection. Bike pads help prevent injury, minimising the scrapes and bruises when they fall.  This helps them to get back up and give it another go. 

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handlebar bag

There are lots of ways to protect yourself when riding a bike.  Gloves, a helmet and padding at your knees and elbows.  Kids often feel more confident about their riding if you can protect both their knee joints and their elbow joints with Knee Pads and Elbow Pads…

Why use Knee or Elbow Pads?

What do they offer kids who are learning to ride, who are trying to learn new biking skills, or riding on technical trails?

Padding for protection when they fall. Padding will help minimise any injury. Pads prevent scraps and grazes, and help to reduce bruises for recreation riding or kids learning to ride. This type of protection for the skin and boney structures is more important the faster they go and when the tracks get more technical.

Padding to support & give confidence.   Adding protection allows kids to give biking a go, to keep trying, learning or progressing on a bike. They can give your timid child the confidence to give things a go, to be a little more adventurous.  For young riders on technical trails it allows them to relax and not be so concerned about falling.

Padding to know they are safe to try again.  Falls that cause scraps and bruises may holt your child’s progression as they become concerned about their injury.  They don’t want to give it another go or for some kids they can be put off biking completely.  If they have padding when they fall they are much more likely to get up and get back onto their bike without too much fuss.  For more advanced riders, using protection will mean no time off as they allow an injury to heal.

youth mountain bike helmet

Learning new biking skills with some protection.

Type of protection – soft versus hard

One of the key differences in the design of protective padding is the choice of a soft or hard pad over the joint.

Soft Pads

Soft pad protection is made from foam. The foam provides cushioning and a barrier to the structures that lie underneath – knees and elbows. The density and depth of the foam will vary between brands.

Soft pads are more comfortable to wear and support more movement and agility than hard pads or shells. They will offer protection to soft tissues and skin from scratches, grazing and bruising. They will provide some protection to boney structures. A thicker more dense foam will offer greater protection to boney structures than a thin layer of foam.

Best suited to: recreation riding on smooth or graded surfaces – roads, bike paths, cycle trails, pump tracks, groomed beginner to intermediate mountain bike trails, scootering and skateboarding.

Offers best protection from: skin damage, grazing, sliding injury.

Hard Pads

Hard pad protection or inserts will be made from a compressed rubber or hard plastic shell.  They are more rigid than soft pads so it can be difficult to move/pedal for too long in them.  They are generally designed for the more risky part of a ride, the downhill sections, so most riders choose to carry them or wear the knee pads lower on the leg while climbing or cruising and pull them up for the downhill sections.

Hard pads offer a higher level of protection from connection with hard, sharp and protruding objects. They provide a much greater level of protection to boney structures than soft pads do. They have a greater price point due to the more complex design.

Best suited to: adventurous kids, regular mountain bike riding, riding at speed, riding downhill, technical trails.

Offers best protection from: impact injuries, splitting, deep cuts, bruising on or around the joints

Other Things to Consider

Fit: For kids who are growing having adjustable straps is a great idea so you can get longer use out of the pads you have brought.  Adjustability also means you can get a great fit so the pads will be secure and held in place.

Ease of Use and Comfort: Consider how the pads get put on – slip on vs strapped on.  Will this be easy for you and your kid?  If the pad covers a lot of the leg or arm how easy will it be for them to move and how hot will they be?  Most padding is made from some form of neoprene which can be very warm in summer.

 

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

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Bike Helmets for Bike Path Riders – What are the Options?

Bike Helmets for Bike Path Riders – What are the Options?

There are a lot of options for Bike Helmets. To keep you safe, when you ride on Bike Paths, the helmet your wear needs to match you as a rider.  Let’s understand which helmet would best suit you.

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handlebar bag

Type of Riding – Bike Path Riders

Bike helmets are designed and made with a variety of features.  If you are riding on bike paths, cycle trails or easy off road mountain bike trails, it is important to have a helmet with the features that will protect you.  For Bike Path riding your helmet needs to have a good head shape.  It should be durable and strong.  A lightweight helmet will be comfortable on your head and vents will provide good airflow.  The most important feature of all is fit…

Helmet Fit

A Helmet must fit your head. To stay on and over your head in an impact the helmet must be the correct size for you. You must also take time to adjust you helmet to your head and ensure it is adjusted correctly every time you ride. For more information on size and fit see our guide.  What you are looking for here is a great adjustment system – a rear dial or slider and chin straps that can be tightened.

It is a good idea to know your head circumference before reading this story.  If you need help with this see the Adult Bike Helmet Fit guide.

Bike Path Helmet Options:

  • All Round Helmet – most versatile
  • Performance Helmet – best for speed (E-Bikes)
  • Traffic to Trail Helmet – best shape
  • Trial Helmet – best to add visibility

All Round Helmet – Versatile

Suited to Bike Path Riding because –  this helmet is really versatile and has all the features you will need for Bike Path riding at all levels.  It is also good for easy to intermediate mountain bike trails. 

Features:

  • Shape – extended rear head coverage.  A shape that resembles a human head and goes low at the back of the head.
  • Durable – ideal impact protection with its increased shell strength. It has the ability to absorb impacts through the construction & liners.
  • Weight & Ventilation – lightweight with good ventilation and heat management through the angled and well positioned vents.
  • Fit – unisex sizing.  Easy to use fit systems that provide the ability to have a secure & stable helmet every time it is put on a head. Three sizes also helps with getting a helmet to fit your head correctly.

Additional features quick dry padding for sweat and temperature management, easily removed for washing.  Visor removability.  

Size Range – Small 49-54cm Med 54cm- 58cm Lge 58-62cm

Performance Helmet – Speed (E-Bikes)

Suited to Bike Path Riding because – this helmet is a great investment for the best protection.  Ideal for E-Bike riders and anyone who rides at speed on descents.  Great for all types of bike paths, cycle trails and mountain bike trails.

Features:

  • Shape – good rear head coverage.  A shape that resembles a human head and goes low at the back of the head.
  • Durable – the strongest in our list.  Wrap molded connection between the shell and the liner making this helmet durable & strong. Addition of a MIPS system for rotational impacts.
  • Weight & Ventilation – lightweight with good ventilation, multiple vents and great air flow. 
  • Fit – men & women specific sizing.  Adjustable, impressive fit system that guarantees great fit.  Specific sizing/design for men/women. Good size range helps with getting a helmet to fit your head correctly.

Additional features quick dry padding for sweat and temperature management, easily removed for washing.  Visor removability.  

Size Range Women – Women Small 51-55cm, Medium 55-59cm,

Size Range Men –  Small 51-55cm, Medium 55-59cm, Large 59-63cm,

Traffic to Trail Helmet – Shape

Suited to Bike Path Riders –  who spend a lot of time riding in or through traffic.  Whether you are commuting, doing errands or riding across town to reach the bike paths.  This helmet is the one for riders who regularly choose to ride on the road as well.  

Features:

  • Shape – best shape for full head coverage, low at the back as well as extended temple protection
  • Durable – good shell strength (has fewer vents). Great connection between the lining and the shell for impact absorption.
  • Weight & Ventilation – lightweight for a full head covering helmet.  Good wide vents allowing air flow. 
  • Fit – unisex sizing.  Easy to use fit systems that provide the ability to have a secure & stable helmet every time it is put on a head. Two sizes also helps with getting a helmet to fit your head correctly.

 Additional features rear vent light, hi vis colours

Size Range  Small 54 to 58cm, Medium 58 to 61cm

Trail Helmet – Option to increase visibility

Suited to Bike Path Riders –  a great recreation, bike path, trail riding helmet.  Has the option of choosing a rear vent light to increase your visibility in low light, poor weather.  This quickly changes your helmet into a great on road, traffic riding helmet.

Features:

  • Shape – low at the back for good head shape
  • Durable – strength & durability from molded shell & liner. MIPS system for rotational impacts.
  • Weight & Ventilation – lightweight with good vents and air flow.  
  • Fit – unisex one size, suits people with average head size between 56-58cm.  Easy to use fit systems that provide the ability to have a secure & stable helmet every time it is put on a head. 

Additional features optional rear vent light that can be removed, removable visor, quick dry padding

Size Range – One size 54-61cm

Keep safe with Helmet Care and Checks

To get the most out of your helmet please read our story Caring for your Bike Helmet. It is also a good idea to understand when you may need to replace your bike helmet – wear & tear, after ANY impact.

 

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

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NZ Cycle Trail – Am I Safe to goRide?

NZ Cycle Trail – Am I Safe to goRide?

NZ Cycle Trail Riding is an amazing way to see some very special parts of our country.  Exploring on your bike gives you the ability to connect with the outdoors and enjoy NZ in a totally different way.  To be safe, comfortable & confident you need to understand any risks and manage them.

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Tip One – Wear a Good Bike Helmet & Gloves

Wear a helmet that has been designed for the type of riding you are about to do.  There are helmets that match to off road environments whether you ride at speed (on an E-Bike) or are a bit more relaxed.  Your helmet needs to be durable.  It should provide protection against falls onto features such as hard packed gravel surfaces, rocks, tree stumps or down a bank.  We all hope we won’t fall but if we do your helmet needs to work for you so it must fit your head well.  You must take the time before every ride to adjust it correctly so that it will stay in position on your head.  For more info see How to Fit a Bike Helmet

We recommend wearing gloves. Gloves for riding over multiple days on off road tracks should have a good level of padding to help with absorbing the constant vibration that riding on rougher surfaces causes.  Choose fingerless or full finger depending on the season and style you prefer.  See our Bike Glove Options

Check out our Adult Bike Helmet Buying Guide and our Bike Helmet Stories & Support Page

Easy trail/recreation riding

A performance level helmet with the design features that will protect you for off road riding.

Tip Two – Tools & First Aid

What you choose to take or carry will largely depend on whether your ride is supported by a tour group or whether you are riding amongst friends/family and being self sufficient. Carrying tools whenever you choose to go for a ride is a really important commitment to make to keep yourself safe.  This becomes even more important as you get further from help – more isolated trails.  The condition of the trials is also a factor to consider, if you know if is a bit rough through sections you need to prepare for the worst.  You should be able to manage the basics by being able to fix a punctured tyre so that you can get to the next point of help or support.  We recommend carrying within your group;

  • Tyre levers, spare tubes and/or puncture patches, mini pump
  • Multi tool with several features
  • Several cable ties
  • 20ml Chain Lube & Chain links (if someone in the group knows how to fix a snapped chain)

There are multiple ways you can choose to take tools with you.  Seat posts bags are a popular choice.  Tool wraps that can be placed in a backpack and will open up to easily display all your tools are a great idea. For options take a look at Bike Bags. You need to understand how to use what you carry so if you need some help with this please see the following resources we have created;

Tools & Kits to Carry,   Do I Need a Special E-Bike Tool Kit?

Riding NZ cycle trails requires a certain skill level and confidence – there are trails for all ability levels – please be aware of the grade of the trail you are heading into.  Although not common you can have accidents & falls.  We recommend carrying a Compact First Aid Kit designed for bike riders.  this kit is small, lightweight and easy to carry.  It will have everything you need to manage basic first aid. When you choose to do any kind of isolated riding a first aid kit is an essential piece of gear to carry.  See First Aid for Biking Buying Guide.

If you are prone to any kind of discomfort on or around your bike saddle, or you feel you are under prepared for the time you are about to spend on your bike (your training did not go to plan), please consider adding chamois cream to your first aid.  This cream can be used to prevent or soothe if any chaffing becomes evident.  In hot weather over multiple days this can be an essential part of your personnel care.

When Should You Use a Chamois Cream?

Basic First Aid for Bike Injuries.

Tip Three – Carrying Gear

What gear you need to be safe when you ride on a NZ cycle trail depends on how far you are going and how isolated you will be.  It is also about the weather and how this weather will affect your body temperature.  Extra things to carry include food, water, clothing (and tools/first aid which we have talked about in the above section).  It is often the thought of all this stuff, and how to carry/manage it, that makes people choose supported tours.  For more on Carrying Gear see How to Carry Gear: Bike Bath/Trail Riding which covers options for Supported Tour Riding.

Food – For most rides under an hour you won’t need food.  Anything over this time or any ride that involves a sustained challenging climb we would then recommend carrying a snack. Knowledge of the trail is really important so you can plan & prepare well.  Are there food stops on the trail?  Will you be able to buy food along the way?  If the section of the ride is over 2-3 hours your snack should become multiple snacks or a lunch/dinner.  Keeping your energy levels high is really important for your enjoyment and your ability to concentrate during the next phase of your riding.  Food is a great way to break up the day and take a rest off the bike in some amazing spots!

Evening Food – Riding a bike will give you a good appetite and we recommend having a fairly substantial evening meal in preparation of the next days physical requirements.  Again this will depend on the trail you have chosen to do, where you have decided to stop for the night and any support you have.  Often each nights stop can be at a lodge or in a small town where finding food won’t be a problem.

Water – What you need to carry depends on a number of things; how far you are going, the access to drinking water, how much you sweat, how hydrated you where before beginning your ride.  For more detail on staying well hydrated please read our Hydration Buying Guide and the story on Hydration – Carrying Water When You Ride. As a general guide more is better and this is why so many off road riders choose a hydration pack with a bladder – it allows you to carry more water than a drink bottle.

Clothing – Regulating your body temperature and keeping yourself dry is key to keeping safe and enjoying your ride.  Again this becomes more important as you choose to ride further away from populated areas.  Layering is a great tactic.  As you warm up you can take off outer layers.  Or in reverse, as the weather deteriorates you can add protective layers.  Fabrics that have the ability to wick & breath are important so that you and your clothing remain dry.  The worst combination is being cold & wet this is why we recommend quick dry fabric or merino for base and mid layers, with breathable but waterproof outer layers.  Also be aware of the heat and protecting yourself from the sun.

See our Bike Jacket & Top options.

Tip Four – Comfort & Contact Points

Your comfort while riding is a huge part of enjoying your time on the bike.  It will also keep you protected & safe.  There are three key points where you make contact with your bike.  The seat, the handlebars and the pedals…

We have extensively covered bike seat comfort and the problems that can occur at this important contact point… View our COMFORT ON YOUR BIKE SEAT page or go directly to our Stories & Support page to see the overview of all the information on bike seats.

It is really important to try out any new protection choices well in advance of taking them on a multi day ride.  You need to be confident your gear will perform the way you want it to and provide you with the comfort you thought you would get.

Tip Five – will you get caught in the dark?

Most NZ cycle trail riding is best done during the day.  A lot of the enjoyment from doing this riding is about taking in the scenery and enjoying your surroundings. These trails and tracks are not set up with any kind of lighting so you will be completely in the dark if caught out.  There are two things to think about to keep yourself safe if you think you may ride at night; warmth & lights.

Lights – You will need to do a bit of reading & research to understand what is best for the type of riding you do so read our Bike Light Buying Guide.  We recommend an easy to carry, easy to attach front & rear light set that is powerful enough for you to see by – a Night Riding Set.

Warmth – See the section on clothing above for advice on layering and fabrics.  Take special care to keep your extremities warm; fingers, toes & ears.  So think thermal & merino for gloves, socks & headbands or beanies.  Winter Warmth for Riding Combo

alps to Ocean with kids
youth mountain bike helmet

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

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Town Riding – Am I Safe to goRide?

Town Riding – Am I Safe to goRide?

If you choose to ride around town, you are choosing to engage with roads and cars.  This can put you at risk.  To be safe, comfortable & confident you need to understand any risks and manage them well.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
waterproof visibility pants

Tip One – Wear a Good Bike Helmet

Wear a helmet that has been designed for the type of town riding you are about to do.  There are a huge range of helmets out there so you will be able to find one that is a good fit.  We recommend full head coverage, lightweight and bright colours or graphics.  Additional features like rear vent lights are also great. Choose the protection that will give you confidence and the knowledge that you have the correct gear to ride safely on the roads & bike paths you choose.

Check out our Adult Bike Helmet Buying Guide and our Bike Helmet Stories & Support Page

Easy trail/recreation riding

The ideal helmet for Town Riding should be bright & provide you with good head coverage.

Tip Two – Be Visible, Be Heard

In busy traffic environments you need to be seen.  During the day bright colours will catch the attention of drivers.  If using your bike often around town you may find yourself riding in poor light, poor weather conditions or at night.  These are all situations where lights are a must.

There are two things to think about to keep yourself visible on the road; Lights & Clothing.

Lights – You will need to do a bit of reading & research to understand what is best for the type of town riding you do so read our Bike Light Buying Guide.  We recommend an easy to carry, easy to attach front & rear light set that suits the lighting environment you use your bike in.

Outer Layers – Simply put, be bright.  Catch the attention of drivers from a distance so that they know you are there.  Being easy to see keeps you safe.  This includes any outer layers of clothing or add a lightweight bright, reflective jacket or vest over your clothing every time you ride.  Visit our Be Visible Product Page

Bike bells are a great way to let people know you are around.  This is great for shared path ways and will make other riders and pedestrians aware of you.  There is a correct technique for passing and using a Bike Bell.  Find out more by reading Using a Bike Bell or visit the Bike Bell Buying Guide

Tip Three – Tools & Accidents

Carrying tools whenever you choose to go for a ride is a really important commitment to make to keep you safe.  This becomes even more important as you get further from help – more isolated trails/tour riding.  You should be able to manage the basics by being able to fix a punctured tyre, adjust a seat or brake lever.  We recommend carrying;

  • Tyre levers, spare tube, mini pump and/or puncture patches
  • Simple multi tool

There are multiple ways you can choose to take tools with you.  Seat posts bags are a popular choice.  Tool wraps that can be placed in a backpack and will open up to easily display all your tools are a great idea.  Remember if you are leaving your bike locked up any where you can’t leave anything that is attached to your bike without it being locked on. 

You need to understand how to use what you carry so if you need some help with this please see the following resources we have created;

Five Simple Bike Tasks You Should Know, Tools & Kits to Carry, What’s in a Basic Tool Kit?

Although not common you can have accidents & falls.  More concerning is any kind of crash that involves a motor vehicle.  If serious always call the police.  If it is a near miss try to report it to your local council who should have a HotLine for this purpose.  This is really important for road planners and those involved in traffic management so they can build an idea of dangerous spots or issues for cyclists.

Basic First Aid for Bike Injuries

Tip Four – Carrying Gear/Weather Protection

What you need to be safe when you ride in town depends on how far you are going and how committed you are to riding in all weather.

Shopping/Work Equipment – Always try to keep your loads even and balanced… try not to put too much weight on your back as this will become challenging over time for any rider.  Panniers and baskets are great for around town riding allowing you to easily carry extra things.

Jackets –  Having a jacket that packs down well and is easy to carry is great for your town riding protection.  Keeping yourself dry is key to keeping safe and enjoying your ride.  As the weather deteriorates you can add protective layers.  Fabrics that are bright, reflective & waterproof are important so that you and your clothing remains dry.  In poor weather conditions you must be aware that it is harder for drivers to see you.  Being bright with outer layers is a great way to make sure you are visible.

Tip Five – Use a Bike Lock

If leaving your bike unattended in an urban area, you want to know that it will be there when you return.  Choosing the right bike lock depends on a number of things… what the risk level is, what type of structures you have to lock your bike to and how long you are leaving it for.  Get a better understanding of your Bike Lock options by reading the Bike Lock Buying Guide and make sure you know how to use a lock correctly.  The Best Way to Lock a Bike

Tip Six – Comfort & Contact Points

Your comfort while riding is a huge part of enjoying your time on a bike.  It will also keep you protected & safe.  There are three key points where you make contact with your bike.  The seat, the handlebars and the pedals…

We have extensively covered bike seat comfort and the problems that can occur at this important contact point… View our COMFORT ON YOUR BIKE SEAT page.

Choose the correct chamois

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

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E-Bike Riding – Am I Safe to goRide?

E-Bike Riding – Am I Safe to goRide?

We are seeing more and more E-Bikes on our roads and out on the trails.  Riding any kind of bike gives you the ability to connect with the outdoors and E-Bikes help you to ride further and see more.  To be safe, comfortable & confident you need to understand any risks and manage them well.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
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Tip One – Wear a Good Bike Helmet & Have a Good Lock

Wear a helmet that has been designed for the type of riding you are about to do.  E-Bikes give you the ability to travel at high speeds so we recommend a performance level helmet with great head coverage to protect yourself.  Choose the protection that will give you confidence and the knowledge that you have the correct gear to ride safely on the roads or trails you choose.

Check out our Adult Bike Helmet Buying Guide and our story The Best Helmet for an E-Bike

E-Bikes are targets for thieves.  You need a lock that will keep your bike safe when you are not around, including thinking about how it is protected at your home.  E-bikes can have larger frame sizes if this is where the battery is so you may not be able to use certain types of locks (small u-Locks will be a challenge).  We recommend a mid to high level security rating depending on the level of risk your environment has.  Please read more… The Best Locks for E-Bikes

Easy trail/recreation riding

The ideal helmet for E-Bike riding should provide you with performance level protection.

Tip Two – Tools & First Aid

Carrying tools whenever you choose to go for a ride is a really important commitment to make to keep you safe.  This becomes even more important as you get further from help – more isolated trails/tour riding.  You should be able to manage the basics by being able to fix a punctured tyre, adjust a seat or brake lever.   Do E-Bikes need special tools?   Generally no, but you do need to be aware of your battery and the power levels you have/distances you can ride (for more information on E-Bike Tools read this story). We recommend carrying;

  • Tyre levers, spare tube, mini pump and/or puncture patches
  • Simple multi tool
  • tape or security ties to fix, hold up battery cabling

There are multiple ways you can choose to take tools with you.  Seat posts bags are a popular choice.  Tool wraps that can be placed in a backpack and will open up to easily display all your tools are a great idea.  You need to understand how to use what you carry so if you need some help with this please see the following resources we have created;

Five Simple Bike Tasks You Should Know, Tools & Kits to Carry, What’s in a Basic Tool Kit?

Riding an E-bike can at times be a challenge as the bike is much heavier so can be hard to balance.  Although not common you can have accidents & falls.  If you are riding further than 30 minutes from help, a new slightly technical trail that will challenge you or with children, we recommend carrying a Compact First Aid Kit designed for bike riders.  When you choose to do any kind of isolated day riding or isolated multi-day/tour riding a first aid kit is an essential piece of gear to carry.  See First Aid for Biking Buying Guide.

Basic First Aid for Bike Injuries

Tip Three – Carrying Gear

What you need to be safe when you ride on off road trails and cycleways depends on how far you are going and how isolated you will be.  It is also about the weather and how this weather will affect your body temperature.  Extra things to carry include food, water, clothing (and tools/first aid which we have talked about in the above section).  Adding weight to yourself or your bike tends to go unnoticed on an E-Bike as you have the advantage of assistance.  Always try to keep your loads even and balanced… try not to put too much weight on your back as this will become challenging over time for any rider.

Food – For most rides under an hour you won’t need food.  Generally your energy output will be lower on an E-Bike but you are still using your body and are exposed to the riding conditions (heat/wind).  Any rides over an hour or any ride that involves a sustained challenging climb we would then recommend a snack before your downhill.  We always recommend taking food when you ride with children regardless of the time frame.  If your ride is over 2-3 hours this snack should become multiple snacks or a lunch.  Keeping your energy levels high is really important for your enjoyment and your ability to concentrate during the next phase of your riding.

Water – What you need to carry depends on a number of things; how far you are going, the access to drinking water, how much you sweat, how hydrated you where before beginning your ride.  For more detail on staying well hydrated please read our Hydration Buying Guide and the story on Hydration – Carrying Water When You Ride.  As a general guide more is better and this is why so many off road riders choose a hydration pack with a bladder – it allows you to carry more water than a drink bottle.

Clothing – Regulating your body temperature and keeping yourself dry is key to keeping safe and enjoying your ride.  Again this becomes more important as you choose to ride further away from populated areas.  Layering is a great tactic.  As you warm up you can take off outer layers.  Or in reverse, as the weather deteriorates you can add protective layers.  Fabrics that have the ability to wick & breath are important so that you and your clothing remains dry.  Often you will be sweaty & hot at the top of a climb.  After resting, to prevent a chilled feeling from airflow on the way down, adding a lightweight/wind protecting jacket or vest is ideal.  The worst combination is being cold & wet this is why we recommend quick dry fabric or merino base/mid layers with breathable but waterproof outer layers. For more on hypothermia and its dangers please read this story.  First Aid & Emergencies When Bike Touring

Tip Four – will you get caught in the dark?

The answer to this question will come from the places you like to ride your E-Bike and how committed to using your bike for around town transport you are.  Most off road trail riding is best done during the day (exception Mountain Bike night riding – see our MTB Light Guide).  A lot of the enjoyment from doing this riding is about taking in the scenery and enjoying your surroundings. These trails and tracks are not set up with street lighting so you will be completely in the dark if caught out.  If using your E-Bike around town you may find yourself riding in poor light, poor weather conditions or at night.  These are all situations where lights are a must.

There are two things to think about to keep yourself safe if you think you may ride at night; Lights & Warmth.

Lights – You will need to do a bit of reading & research to understand what is best for the type of riding you do so read our Bike Light Buying Guide.  We recommend an easy to carry, easy to attach front & rear light set that suits the lighting environment you use your E-Bike in. 

Warmth – See the section on clothing above for advice on layering and fabrics.  Take special care to keep your extremities warm; fingers, toes & ears.  So think thermal & merino for gloves, socks & headbands or beanies.  Winter Warmth for Riding Combo

Tip Five – Comfort & Contact Points

Your comfort while riding is a huge part of enjoying your time on an E-Bike.  It will also keep you protected & safe.  There are three key points where you make contact with your bike.  The seat, the handlebars and the pedals…

We have extensively covered bike seat comfort and the problems that can occur at this important contact point… View our COMFORT ON YOUR BIKE SEAT page.

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