What CAN’T you use a Voile strap for?


When I first started seeing these straps everywhere I was skeptical. They didn’t look very secure with their tiny prong barely poking through the plastic strap and no retainer to hold the tail end in place and keep it from popping off the pin. Also, I thought Voile was a ski brand, and French, so was it Voilé? And how do you pronounce it?

Brian, our Chief Product Officer was already a convert. “I love them. I use them for everything. They are the best.” So I got some and tried them out. He was right, of course.

First, let’s make sure you are pronouncing it correctly as you read this piece: It’s VOH-lay. Yes it’s a French word (means “veil”). No it doesn’t have the accent on the ‘e’ despite how it’s pronounced. And no, the brand isn’t French. It is a backcountry ski brand, from Utah. Apparently the straps’ original use, over 30 years ago, was attaching skis together when you were hiking them up a mountain before riding them back down.

A bike carrying bikes with Voile straps.

I first used the straps to attach some oversize gear to my cargo bike when I took my son bike packing a couple of months ago. The cargo bike can haul a lot of stuff, but not everything I wanted to bring would fit in the bike’s basket or a bag. The straps were great for lashing stuff to the rack on the back of the bike. Since then I have used them to lash my kids' bikes to the cargo bike so they could ride on the cargo bike until we got to the park where they could then ride their own bikes. And a colleague who was using my cargo bike attached his adult-size bicycle’s front wheel to the cargo bike so it could be towed by the cargo bike (rolling on its rear wheel) from his house to mine, and he could then ride his own bike home. Brian has used his straps for the same purposes and more, having been a cargo bike owner for many years. And the straps aren’t just for cargo bikes or even ebikes. You see them on all kinds of bikes as a way to strap a bag or spare tube to the frame or rack. And they are used outside of skiing and biking too, in much the same way bungee cords are used. But a big difference between a Voile strap and a bungee is the Voile straps have only enough stretch to be secure, not enough to come flying back at your face with a hook on the end.

The key to using the straps is to put the logo side out (away from what you are wrapping or strapping) and then to put some tension on the strap so that when you put the prong in the right hole, the tension on the strap helps keep it there. The strap should stretch just a little to get the prong in, and then rebound to be secure. I have never had one come undone on me, but like anything else with your moving bike, be careful so that something doesn’t come lose at the wrong time.

As we were getting ready to open Tempo up for members, Brian said “Do you think we could get Tempo-branded Voile straps?” It turns out we could. Brian owns more Voile straps than he would admit to, but said he almost always uses the 20” or 25” straps, so that is what we ordered, with the premium aluminum buckles, in Tempo’s colors, yellow and blue.

Enjoy your straps. Send us pictures of how you use them.

When our family bought an electric cargo bike earlier this year, one of my biggest fears was that this lovely and expensive new machine was going to get stolen. So I got the best lock money could buy, and I started to investigate: did I need ebike insurance?

First, I called my homeowners insurance provider to see if they would cover the bike if it were stolen. To my surprise, because it’s an electric bike, not only did my policy not cover it, they wouldn’t even add it for an additional fee or sell me a separate policy for it, the way they did for our family car.

Instead they referred me to an insurance company that specializes in bikes and ebikes. I bought a policy from them and sleep a little better for it.

I’ve heard similar stories from other ebike owners. And I’ve heard worse.

What can happen without ebike insurance

The saddest stories are the ones where someone assumed their homeowners or renters or car insurance covered their ebike, and after it was stolen or seriously damaged, it turned out it wasn’t covered.

And then there are the stories about people whose ebikes were covered by their homeowners policy, but their premium went way up when they made a claim for a stolen ebike.

Why it’s hard to insure an ebike

When it comes to insurance, ebikes land in a gray area outside standard homeowners insurance and auto insurance. Here’s why:

  • Ebikes are new in terms of the insurance industry. Most of the several million ebikes in the U.S. were purchased in the last two years. Insurers aren’t familiar with them, and insurers don’t like to be surprised by unfamiliar products.
  • Ebikes are more expensive than regular bikes. Policies that cover bikes, like most homeowners or renters policies, might have also covered ebikes until the insurer had to pay much larger claims than they expected to replace a damaged or stolen ebike. See above about insurers and surprise. So some policy terms got changed.
  • Finally, ebikes get stolen a lot, and not only from people’s homes. They are ridden and locked up outside all over the place, which makes them more vulnerable than other valuable household items.

Steps to take to properly insure your ebike

The odds that your ebike is covered by your existing insurance is lower than you may think. Here’s what to do to find out if you need ebike insurance:

  1. Call your insurance company and find out what they cover. Things to bring up: coverage of accidental damage, theft, and travel (like what would happen if you flew somewhere with your bike and the airline did a number on it). Does the insurance company consider your ebike a “luxury item”? If you’re happy with the coverage, great! You’re good to go.
  2. Consider bike-specific coverage. If you aren’t covered, or feel like the coverage you do have isn’t enough, here are some things to think about.

Bike insurance covers all kinds of bike specific things, not just theft. Think damage to the bike from a collision, medical payments if you are injured in a collision, insurance for the bike if you are traveling with it or racing it, or a bike rental while your bike is being repaired. Some policies even cover things like accessories (like bike lights and panniers) and riding clothes.

Bike claims won’t affect your other insurance premium. Should you need to make a claim on your ebike, your home insurance premium won’t change or get canceled.

We can help

Want to learn more about ebike insurance? Join Tempo and get easy access to insurance quotes, and other ways to protect your ebike right inside the app.

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Michael Keating
Founder & CEO
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