Electric bikes do not have the biggest battery, so, understandably, you feel range anxiety each time you go on tours or long rides. Range anxiety can interfere and take up space in your head when you are on holiday.
However, there are loads of places you can charge your electric bike. All you need to do is plan ahead and be organized so that you can enjoy your day out on your electric bike without worrying about if and when the battery will die.
Where Can I Charge My Electric Bike?
Whether you want to know where to charge your electric bike in the US because you know you will run out of battery or need that peace of mind, the best way to do this is to get your charger with you.
You must also plan your trip in a way so that you know of some safe spots where you can stop and charge your bike. All you have to do is make sure that you get a plug-in opportunity.
The options for charging your bike are endless- restaurants, libraries, coffee shops, or bike shops. However, make sure you ask the owner for permission before you make a move.
Apart from bringing your charger on a trip, there are other options for charging your bike on a journey. These include purpose-built E-bike charging stations, solar panel charging, regenerative braking, and using a car to charge the electric bike battery.
Usually, electric bikes contain enough charge to get you through the day comfortably, but if you exceed the charge limit, you will have to charge the battery on the go. Such instances include:
- When you go on a long tour, the battery range is insufficient for the distance you want to travel.
- Going camping with your electric bike where the usual charging spots are not present.
- Doing too many errands around town.
- Traveling a long distance or towing a heavy load that surpasses your bike’s limit.
Charging On the Go
The best way to charge your electric bike is by bringing a charger with you and finding a wall outlet where you can plug it in.
Of course, having a bigger battery would be great, especially since the capacity would increase and you would not have to charge it as often, but one cannot deny the weight and cost that would increase.
E-bikes are so expensive because of the batteries- if you don’t use a bigger battery daily, then there is no way you can justify the extra cost and weight.
As mentioned, seek permission if you are charging your bike on someone else’s property, like a gas station. However, in places like coffee shops, everyone uses the outlet, so you do not have to ask for permission if it is a hassle for you.
Even though it does not cost much to charge an electric bike, asking for permission goes a long way. After all, think about how you would feel if someone else was charging their vehicle on your properly. Stealing can never be justified, even if it is just a couple of cents.
Here are some places you can charge your electric bike:
1. Work or Office
Your office is the most reliable and safest place to charge your electric bike. You will find an outlet here and bring your bike inside instead of leaving it on the road.
By bringing your bike inside, you lower the chances of anyone stealing your bike. We would also recommend leaving a spare battery in case your battery drains. You can always use the backup one kept at your workplace.
2. Friend’s House
Another great place to charge your electric bike is at your friend’s home. You can bring your bike indoors and keep an eye on it.
However, you should not rely on this as your friend will not always be home. If they have an electric outlet on their porch or deck, you can seek permission from them beforehand or devise an arrangement that would allow you to charge your bike outdoors when necessary.
3. Coffee Shop
Coffee shops are the most convenient place to charge your bike’s battery in California. Several coffee shops encourage customers even to charge their laptops in the available outlets. This increases customers and allows the coffee shop to earn, and people spend money on drinks and food.
If your electric bike runs out of battery, charge it at a coffee shop. Grab a drink or latte and read the newspaper while the bike charges.
4. Public Libraries
Libraries usually have bike racks that allow you to lock your electric bike in the US when you go inside. Moreover, they also have designated areas where people can plug in their appliances and work or read.
Since you can lock your bike, you do not have to worry about someone tampering with it while it is charging. Charging your bike at a library would also allow you to read a quick magazine while your bike charges outside.
Universities are extremely accommodating towards individuals who own electric bikes. Sometimes, they are kind enough to provide bike racks and many outlets. Since everyone on campus usually has laptops, tablets, and phones, many outlets are readily available.
Of course, it would be convenient if you are a university student using the provided facilities. However, even if you are not, you can easily ask for permission and use a charging station.
6. Bike Shops
Of course, charging your bike at a bike shop is the most obvious option. Bike shops support biking and are usually extremely friendly and supportive.
We would recommend charging your bike at a shop you already shop at. This would allow you to touch base with the owner and get their advice on maintaining your bike.
7. Parks and Campgrounds
Finding a campground in the US might be difficult based on where you live, but if you are lucky, you will find one nearby. Campgrounds usually provide RV hookups with power outlets, but you need to be careful because you do not want to be in a sketchy neighborhood.
You can also look for shared outlets around bathrooms and buildings. However, these outlets might be limited, so you will have to wait for your turn, which might take longer.
Some parks also provide outlets for the general public. All you should focus on is looking for outlets around bathrooms and pavilions.
8. Fast Food Joints
Fast food restaurants usually provide charging spots for customers. However, it might be odd if you sit at the restaurant without ordering something for yourself, so we would recommend getting a quick bite to eat while your bike charges.
Charging your bike at Walmart should not be high on your list of places because they do not always allow this. If you choose to charge your bike here, we recommend keeping a low profile and being sneaky.
There have been stories about how bike riders charge their electric bikes with the help of the vending machine electrical outlets because they have no other choice.
10. Gas Stations
If you choose to charge your electric bike at a gas station, you must first ask for permission. After all, you would look suspicious if you sit around with a bike plugged into an outlet for an extended time.
Most gas stations will allow you to charge your bike if you ask. However, you should consider buying something first to ease your way in.
11. Using Your Car
You can always use a car to charge your electric bike. However, even though charging batteries from a car is not a big deal, we recommend charging at your own risk.
You can expect 90 watts of power to be used for a 2-amp, 36-volt electric bike battery. Cars usually have a 12-volt cigarette outlet, which provides around 150 watts of power. If you plan to charge your bike with a car, you can use an inverter such as Bestek.
If you find that the charger is drawing more power, you can hook the inverter directly to your car’s battery. However, remember that small inverters can dry out a car battery. Hence, always ensure you keep the car engine running when you put any other device or vehicle on charge.
12. Quick Charging
With quick charging, you might have to keep your battery on charge for a couple of hours. However, the good news is that charging your battery for even an hour would allow you to go wherever you want.
Quick chargers are definitely a great option to charge your bike quickly. However, keep in mind that they are not always recommended because they will lower the battery’s lifespan. Usually, the quicker the charger can charge your battery, the worse it is in the long run.
Two famous chargers with great results are the Cycle Satiator and Luna Charger. They are programable and work with different amps, voltages, and batteries.
If you are in search of a reasonable option, the Luna Charger is your go-to. You can adjust the current from 1A to 3A, depending on how fast or slow you want to charge your bike. Moreover, it automatically shuts off once the charging is completed to protect the battery and ensure it does not overheat.
The Cycle Satiator is an advanced charger that is a little costlier. However, we believe it is worth the price because of its features. It charges vehicles four times faster than an average 2-amp charger. Moreover, it is vibration and water-resistant, so you do not have to worry about the charger getting spoilt on your journeys.
13. Keep a Spare Battery with You
One of the quickest ways to charge the battery of your electric bike is to carry a spare battery with you. Of course, this increases the weight of what you are carrying, so you might need an extra backpack or bag.
Look for backpacks that are specially designed to carry electric bike batteries. These bags come with a built-in battery protector and can carry batteries of different sizes.
You can also simply carry the battery on your bike- frame-mounted bags, rear seat bags, and rear racks are great options. When searching for a bag, keep the size of the battery in mind. You do not want to end up buying a bag only for the bag battery to not fit in it.
14. Charge Your Bike While Pedaling
You can charge your electric bike’s battery using regenerative braking with the correct motor. This largely depends on the kind of terrain you are riding on. If your terrain requires you to brake more often while riding the bike, more power will be generated when you are traveling downhill.
Usually, if you use a direct drive hub motor with the correct controller, 6 to 10 percent regen is expected for your battery, given that you are following the right conditions for riding.
15, Solar Powered Charging
Another way to charge your bike’s battery is by using a portable solar panel. This can be used when you need to increase range when riding long distances or when taking your bike out in a remote area where you are not sure you will find a power source.
However, there are some downsides to a solar power setup, such as:
- The components are expensive
- The charging time is slower.
- The components are heavy.
To lower charging time, you will need a bigger solar panel.
Whether you need a small charge to make your way home or plan a trip that will require your bike’s battery to be frequently charged, these are some options you can use to lower your range anxiety.
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.