ActiveHealth Community Writer
We mentioned in a previous article that getting into cycling requires more than just a bike, especially if you plan on using it to go places and not for just riding around your neighborhood. From the apparel you wear to the accessories installed on the bike, all of these will contribute to, first and foremost, your safety, and then to your overall enjoyment of the cycling experience.
Here are such items you can buy and the ones you have to prioritize:
1. Gear and Apparel
A complete cycling kit (jersey top and [bib]shorts) would be ideal but if you had to choose, first opt for well padded and snug fitting cycling shorts as this contributes the most to your riding comfort. And it goes without saying that you should also have a helmet. Expensive models aren’t necessary but do stick with genuine products from established brands as these are safety and quality assured under international standards.
Others: Cycling shoes and socks, cycling specific eyewear, gloves, knee and elbow pads
2. Visibility Accessories
The purpose of having bike lights and other visibility gear is not just for you to see, but more so for you to be seen. As such, best have at least a rear bike light even when riding in daylight especially on busy vehicle roadways. Front lights become essential if you plan on doing evening rides or if the ride starts pre-dawn.
Others: bike reflectors, high visibility cycling apparel (vest, jacket, etc), rear view mirror
The brightness of bike lights is measured in lumen units. Best check this before purchasing a set. You’ll want the brightest ones you can get.
3. Roadside Troubleshooting Tools and Spares
These items are emergency necessities any cyclist should never ride without. At the minimum have at least a hand pump, a multi-tool (with a chain breaker), tire levers, and one spare inner tube (ideally two). These will be enough to fix commonly encountered mechanical issues such as tire flats and loose bolts, and for making bike setup adjustments.
Others: patch kit, spare chain link, tube valve converter, zip ties
You never know when you’ll need these so best have it on you whenever you ride
4. Storage solutions
Where now do we put all those emergency items, along with food and other things we’d need to bring on a ride? If your jersey pockets are not enough, saddle and frame bags will do the job. Actually, it is far more comfortable to use the bags instead of stuffing up your jersey pockets. Hydration is also extremely essential in any bike ride so immediately acquire a pair of bottle cages and appropriate water bottles.
Others: hydration backpack, re-sealable (Ziplock) plastic bag, bottle cage tool case
Albeit an extreme example, this illustrates how specially shaped bags can be fitted onto various areas of a bike
These are the things we recommend you start out with but as you gain more riding experience, you’ll be able to decide for yourself which ones you can and cannot do without based on the type of ride you will do or on the distance you will go. As a general rule, you can get away with less on short rides, and best to have more than you need on longer ones.