It doesn’t matter if you’re taking your bike out at weekends, riding to work or college or are in training for a road race cycling requires specialist gear. Did you know some countries, such as the Netherlands, are so bike friendly they even possess their own cycle and scooter lanes! Still, how do you work out which items are necessary, what would be awesome to have and which are, to be honest, a waste of your time and money?
#1: Well Fitting, Sturdy Helmet
One of the easiest things to do but something that many riders fail to carry out properly is to choose the correct helmet. Bike helmets, like our heads, come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to find one that fits snugly but not too snug and fastens securely at the chin. Look for a helmet, than when placed atop your head, sits comfortably caressing your head all the way around and coming down at the front. Commercial and private bike dealerships will be happy to advise you on how to pick the right helmet, as well as talk to you about cycle insurance and take custom helmet orders if you wish to create a bespoke design from scratch.
#2: Mini First Aid Kit
You’re happily riding on the road when all of a sudden a squirrel darts out ahead of you and you’re forced to brake sharply. The sudden movement causes the wheel to wobble, and you fall off ouch! We’re not saying that this will happen but bike accidents are common, especially with kids, so it’s good to carry a first aid kit on all trips that has bandages, antiseptic and plasters in it as well as painkillers, a small bottle of water and gauze pads. Look for travel first aid kits as these should be small enough to fit into your pack or bag without taking up too much room.
#3: Bike Pump
When you’re in a rush, it’s all too easy to walk out the house, eager to get out into the fresh air and leave your portable bike pump behind. Save yourself any stress by purchasing an attachable pump that either clip onto the bike frame itself or is small enough to fit inside your saddle bag. You never know when you’re going to get a puncture as even the tiniest piece of glass, or sharp plastic lying on the road could rip a hole in your tires forcing you to abandon a ride.
#4: Bright Lights
Since bikes are smaller than cars if you’re riding on the road, they need to be able to see you in the darkness. Lights also alert other users, such as pedestrians of your presence especially if you’re riding behind them on a cycle or footpath. Even if you think you’ll never use them, it’s best to have lights on both the front and back of the bike just in case you end up staying late after work and need to cycle home. Why not buy yourself a pack of USB lights? These are handy rechargeable lights that can be used with any USB port as well as tending to last longer than battery-powered ones.
#5: Saddle Bag, Or Rucksack
Cycling is very energetic and’s pretty hungry and thirsty work too so you need a hardwearing, durable saddle bag in which to store drinks, snacks, maps and extra bike gear. Look for a leather bag that attaches securely under the seat and is made from waterproof material, as well as having little compartments where you can store your phone, lock, keys and any cash without worry.
#6: Stylish Waterproof Jacket
No matter where you’re cycling the weather can be unpredictable, so you want to keep yourself as cozy as possible. Choose a lightweight fleecy jacket with a waterproof mac over the top of buying a two-in-one hiking coat that mountaineers use. Brands such as The North Face, Peter Storm and Berghaus all stock excellent outdoor gear in a wide range of sizes, styles, and colors as well as those with plenty of concealed pockets. Look for those that have a high industry approval rating, are worn by professional cyclists and have space for a slim torch, or pen light, water bottle, and even spare socks just in case it rains and your footwear gets soaked.
#7: Wireless GPS Or Apple Watch
Forget to pore over a map using a calculator to work out your times, or getting lost because you don’t know the area. Thanks to technology our exercise regimes have changed forever, so you may want to think about buying a Fitbit, perfect for tracking your heart rate, sleep cycle and even times if you’re in training. Cyclists will also love the fact that as you’re wearing an Apple Watch, if you receive a message or phone call while cycling all you need to do is, stop and look down at your wrist instead of rummaging around for your cell phone.
#8: Protective Eyewear
To cycle, you need to be able to see and a specialist pair of biking or road glasses will allow you to view what’s ahead without squinting due to bright sunlight, snow or even light gray cloud. Protective eyewear also reduces the chances of any dust, grit or insects flying into your eyes and face as you’re cycling which could cause you to swerve, fall or lose concentration.
#9: Bike Lock
You can have the best test, brightest and utterly brilliant bike in the world and it still won’t stop it being stolen, in fact, it’ll make it more of a target for thieves. Ensure that your bike is safe and secure when not in use and purchase a heavy duty bike lock. These aren’t your average key operated locks or simple schoolyard bike chains. U-Locks, Chain Locks, Cable Locks and O Locks are made out of thick metal, heavy duty bars and when closed are almost impossible to break.
#10: Reflective Strips
These are invaluable when it comes to letting other motorists and cyclists know that you’re in the vicinity. Reflective strips are cheap, have velcro on the back and are easy to attach to jackets and clothing. You can even buy high visibility reflective strips or stickers that fasten around trousers or on your arms to give others a better chance of seeing you.