Electric commuter bike: ones to choose for the new school year

Are you tired of taking the car or public transportation and want to get around in a different way? Have you thought about buying an electric commuter bike for this year? But what does commuting by bike mean? It’s simply choosing to travel between your home and work on a bike. Getting some fresh air, avoiding traffic jams, getting some exercise in before work while doing something good for the environment…. A big yes for cycling!

Moreover, you are not the only one to ask this question or to have already taken the leap: for several years now, cycling has been making a great comeback in Europe. Thanks to this boom in cycling, there are a lot of choices available and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish all of these choices.

We’re here to give you all of the information you need to get yourself ready to take on a new habit for this year!

First you need to do two things that are very important when buying a bike:

  • Determine your needs (going to work, doing sports, carrying errands, carrying your kids…)
  • Definine your daily itinerary (steep paths, climbs, cycle tracks…)

Choosing a type of electric commuter bike to suit your needs

Do you want to change your habits and travel by bike? Our personnal favorite is having electric assistance on your bike to help you move along easily no faster than 15.5mph.

You can go for the electric classic city bike: a comfortable ride with wide handlebars. The electric folding bicycle is also very useful if you take the train regularly.

Do you want to try an electric commuter bike without breaking the bank? Trying it out first at an affordable price is possible! There are second-hand bikes at repair shops that restore discarded bikes. For example, AddBike works alongside the Ateliers de l’Audace, a bicycle repair shop that promotes professional reintegration through cycling.

By the way, did you know that it is possible to transport your child and even your pet in complete safety? Cargo bikes are the solution!

If for you, buying a full cargo bike is too expensive, there are solutions that AddBike offers. This system turns your normal or electric bike (depending what bike you have originally) into a handy, urban three-wheeled bike. It’s has a two-wheel tilting system that attaches to the front of a traditional or electric bike, on the fork instead of the original wheel. Of course, if the motor on your electric bike is on the front wheel it can’t work. It is possible to add our different modules: the Carry’Box Kid (for children), the Carry’Box (for different types of loads) and the Carry’Dog (for dogs… or even cats!).

But if you feel ready to buy a full cargo bike, you have several possibilities:

  • The longtail or midtail bike cargo bike: with a strong frame and an extended rear luggage rack, it allows the transport of heavy loads. AddBike’s U-Cargo bike is a good exemple, it’s a midtail electric bike with a 20 inch rear extension that comes in a lite version that allows you to carry heavy loads or a family version that allows you also to carry heavy loads but was designed to carry children as well!
  • The long john cargo bike: also called cycle trucks, front loaders, and more traditionally as “box bikes”it has 2 wheels and is elongated at the front. A loading box, long platform or basket is put in front of the bike and can carry up to 2 or even 3 children. Its special feature: it has an offset wheel at the front, but it is still easy to drive once you get the hang of it!
  • and…the famous tricycle: it can be classic with two rear wheels or pendular with two front wheels, and has a loading box between them both (or not!). It is the largest cargo bike and can carry up to 4 or even 6 children!

But transporting loads makes it quite an effort to pedal. To help you in this effort, there is a miracle solution: the electric bicycle or tricycle. They have enough power to carry up to 4 children or large loads very easily so you can get to work without being too sweaty. All of the options listed above can be electric… there you have it, a perfect electric commuter bike!

Important things you need to know about an electric commuter bike

Finding an electric commuter bike in the right size is a must: And yes, although you can adjust the saddle, bike frames come in sizes: S, M, L, XL… Why? If a bike is too small, the seat becomes uncomfortable very quickly and pedalling becomes much less efficient. If a bike is too big, it is very difficult to start or stop while keeping your balance.

A quick tip: while sitting on the saddle, check if the soles of your feet touch the ground. Then, put your foot on the pedall at its lowest point. If you feet touch the ground and your leg isn’t fully extended while on the pedall: it’s the right size! The handlebar adjustment can also be changed to help you find the optimal position.

Choosing the right wheels: it’s not the most obvious aspect, but it’s very important! So small or big wheels? This will depend on your size (for smaller sizes, 600 or 650mm wheels are better, but hard to find on a city bike) but the real factor to know is that the bigger the wheel is, the less likely it is to skid. On the other hand, small wheels will be easier to handle and stronger.

And the frame: aluminium or steel? Aluminium frames have the advantage of being lighter and less prone to rust, but less rigid and more difficult to repair (so, more suitable for leisure or city bikes). Steel frames, on the other hand, absorb shock better, age well and can be more comfortable. However, they are less flexible.

Weight: Having a bike in the city also means being able to carry it up stairs, lift it through doors, hang it high up in the train etc… The weight of your bike is therefore a significant argument to check during its tests.

Electric commuter bike: choosing the right accessories for safety

Many accessories are available for the safety or comfort of your electric commuter bike and your passengers, whether they are more or less indispensable, here are our tips and some UK regulations.

  • The helmet isn’t a must in the UK even though it is still highly recommended. In some countries like in Australia, New Zealand and some parts of Canada, wearing a helmet is mandatory.
  • Being seen: reflectors on your bike are mandatory. You should have at a minimum four amber pedall reflectors and one red rear reflector.
    If you ever find yourself riding in the dark, at night time or in tunnels, you must have position lights and they must be turned on. You should have a white one a the front and a red one at the back.
  • Being heard: bike bells are not mandatory in the UK but they are strongly recommended.
  • Remember to choose a comfortable seat (wide and padded saddle for example) and a raised handlebar that allows you to ride upright so as not to make your daily journeys unpleasant.
  • Secure your bike: find a regular parking spot. You can choose a chain, U-lock or folding lock, in classic size (23 cm for a U, 75 cm for a folding) or large size (30 cm for a U, up to 120 cm for a folding) depending on your needs.
    Make sure to not leave anything important in the bike if you have a cargo bike!
To conclude, 

Cycling is good for your health and the planet, and there are options that will avoid you breaking the bank. It also means avoiding the stress of crowded transport, social distancing and traffic jams while arriving at work stimulated, because yes, cycling is a big boost to morale and concentration! 

We only have one thing to say: go for green mobility and choose an electric communter bike!