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On the Road

How to Rent an E-bike to Explore Your World

Electric bikes, also called e-bikes, are a fun and eco-friendly way to explore an area when you’re on vacation or need to get around town quickly. Luckily, many cities offer lots of options to rent an e-bike for a few hours or an entire day.

Renting an e-bike is fast and easy. But if you haven’t done it before, it may feel a little intimidating. Here’s everything you need to know about renting an e-bike.

The E-bike Rental Process

There are two main places you can rent an electric bike: local bike shops and bike-share stations, which are popping up in major cities throughout the world. Many bike and scooter companies offer city-wide mobile services for e-bike rentals, which means you can often rent an e-bike from a variety of locations in many cities.

How to Rent an E-bike to Explore Your World

Here’s how renting an electric bike works.

  1. Find an e-bike rental location. Choose a reputable bike shop or find a self-service bike rack, an option that’s becoming more common in metropolitan areas.
  2. Download the app. Most e-bikes from a self-service bike rack are linked to smartphone apps that let you easily rent and pay for the bike. These apps can also give you key details on your bike, such as battery charge status and where you last parked it. They’re also helpful when you need to find a bike-share station to either rent or return your e-bike.
  3. Ride safely. Make sure you have a helmet and any other safety gear, such as lights, to make your ride both fun and safe.
  4. Go for a ride.This is the fun part! Zip around town or head out to a local bike trail where you can enjoy nature on the go.
  5. Return the bike. When you’re finished riding, return the bike to the shop or rack. If you’re using a self-service station, make sure the bike is properly locked so it’s ready for the next rider.

How Much Does It Cost to Rent an E-bike?

Renting an e-bike typically costs slightly more than renting a traditional bike, so make sure you understand the rental costs before you pedal away.

When figuring rental costs into your budget, plan to spend between $15 - $25 per hour or $60 - $70 per day for a basic model, depending on your location and the company you’re renting from. An e-bike’s higher rental costs are due to the higher purchase price — the average cost of an e-bike is between $1,000 and $3,000, although some models can be as affordable as $600 or as expensive as $8,000. The rental rates also reflect maintenance costs for e-bikes, which tend to be higher because it costs more to care for the motor, battery pack, computer equipment and any other technology on the bike.

If you decide to add extras such as helmets, locks, extra battery packs and chargers to enhance your e-bike experience, be prepared to pay even more.

Tips for Renting Electric Bikes

Beyond the cost, there are a few other factors to consider when renting an e-bike that can make your ride more enjoyable.

  • Consider the weight of the bike. Road bikes and mountain bikes tend to weigh about 20 - 30 pounds, while e-bikes usually weigh between 50 - 70 pounds. E-bikes are heavier than standard bikes because the motor and battery pack add some weight to the frame. This extra weight usually isn’t noticeable during your ride, but it can factor into your ability to lift the bike over a curb or pick it up from the ground.
  • Know where you can go. Most states allow e-bikes on streets, bike lanes and bike trails. But it’s important to know where they’re not allowed. This can include sidewalks, some parks and certain trails. Always look for signage that indicates if your e-bike is allowed in that area.
  • Pay attention to battery life. An e-bike’s battery pack won’t last forever, and it might need to be recharged if you’re taking a longer ride. Most e-bike batteries last 10 - 60 miles, depending on how and where you ride. Remember that the more you use the electric assist feature, the quicker your battery will drain. That’s why it’s important to monitor the screen on your e-bike, which will tell you when your battery is running low so can stop to recharge it.

The e-bike’s app is another great place to check to determine how long your battery can go before it needs to be recharged. The good news? If your battery dies, you won’t be stranded — you can ride it like a traditional bike.

Person checking e-bike battery on smartphone app

  • Follow the rules of the road. If you’re primarily riding in a busy metropolitan area, make sure you follow all street signs for bike traffic. It’s also a good idea to brush up on your hand and arm signals that tell pedestrians and cars which way you’re going. To signal a left turn, hold your left arm out straight from your body. To signal a right turn, hold your left arm at a 90angle upwards or hold your right arm straight from your body.
  • Safety first. Just like riding a traditional bike, you’ll want to be sure you follow bike safety basics. Check to make sure you have all the right safety gear before you hit the road or trail. This includes wearing closed-toe shoes and a bicycle helmet at all times.

Here’s one more important tip: Rented e-bikes may not be covered by your personal insurance, or you may only have very limited potential coverage (ask your agent or check your policy for exact details). Be sure to be extra safe when riding rented e-bikes, such as wearing a helmet and reflective clothing while riding.

Ready to Own Your Own E-bike?

Rented an e-bike and discovered you love it so much you’re ready to buy an e-bike of your own? Great news — if you buy your own e-bike, American Family Insurance offers the e-bike insurance you need to hit the road confidently and with peace-of-mind protection!

This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.

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