Cycling 101: Gear You Need
By Victor Jiminez
Think of going to a fine restaurant. You order your meal and the waiter brings you a bottle of wine and your dinner. But something is different. There are no utensils, no glasses. Just your dinner on plates and a bottle of wine. While you could trade slugs from the bottle with your date it would probably be more enjoyable out of glasses. Your food might be a little easier to eat if you had a fork and a knife to cut your food instead of picking it up and tearing it with your teeth. Utensils are a bit like accessories for cycling, you are able to ride without them but your overall experience with the right accessories will be much more enjoyable.
Accessories make cycling pleasurable. Besides a bike their are several accessories that every cyclist must have. Some are safety related while others make you more comfortable. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, rather a general overview of the most needed and necessary accessories.
Accessories make riding more enjoyable and safer. You don’t have to spend a fortune buying every cycling gadget on the market, but a word of advice. Buy the best possible accessories in each category that you can afford. Quality cycling gear is a pleasure to use and will out last the bargain accessories by a large margin.
A helmet is the most important safety gear you can have. There is an old saying in cycling there are riders that have crashed and riders that will crash. Its just a matter of time until you fall off you bike and your head slams into the pavement. A helmet is cheap insurance against severe head injuries. Look for a helmet that fits your head well and is very well ventilated.
Most people don’t think of gloves as safety gear at all, yet in fact they are. Our natural reaction when we fall is to try and catch ourselves by putting our hands out. Gloves will help you avoid getting road rash on the palms of your hands when you crash. They also have padding in the palm that will help dampen road vibrations and give you better grip on the bars.
Just like crashing. Sooner or later you will get a flat. Though they are not that common, eventually you’re going to get a flat in the middle of nowhere and you better be prepared.
Here are the items you need in your repair kit:
Small behind-the-seat saddle bag
Tire levers (for removing the tire)
A high quality pair of cycling shorts will be your favorite accessory. They have padding in the areas where you want padding and the material are designed to wick away moisture. Buy the absolute best you can afford.
This may seem basic but for road riding you should never go for a ride without your water bottles. You will want to have at least one bottle for each hour that you ride.
High pressure road tires loose air fairly rapidly and need to be pumped up before every ride. To do this accurately you will need a high quality pump with a built in gauge. If you buy a top end pump you will never have to buy another as they can last decades.
How much would a new cyclist spend on these accessories?
This is a bare minimum of accessories, there are many more that you may want to think about. Expect to spend between $200 and $500 just for what is listed here. Look for top quality gear and your will be much happier in the long run.
Selecting the right accessories will help you enjoy cycling, make you comfortable, and help keep you safe. Look for high quality gear and buy the best you can afford.
While you could cycle without any of this gear it will sure make for an easier time. Just like eating at the restaurant with no utensils. That meal would be more enjoyable if you could cut your food with a knife and sip your wine from an appropriate glass.
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Victor Jimenez is the owner and professional bicycle fitter at bicyclelab.com. Bicycle Lab is a small boutique studio that specializes in bicycle fitting, custom bicycles, and education. Victor teaches clinics and classes to individuals, coaches, and teams on bicycle fit, and the technical aspects of cycling. http://Bicyclelab.com,