You just bought a new bike. Do you immediately hop on and start riding? Maybe…but before you do that, it wouldn’t hurt to do some prep work. Things like bad weather, saddle discomfort, or a flat tire can derail your journey before you can say, Jack Robinson. Familiarizing yourself with bike accessories will make your ride more comfortable and prevent pesky little annoyances from ever rearing their heads.
Here are a few bike accessories you might want to consider adding to your routine:
First and foremost, invest in a good helmet. Even if your local laws permit you to ride without a helmet, you should wear one for your own safety. All bike helmets manufactured within the U.S. must adhere to the safety and impact protection guidelines. Make sure you get a helmet that is consistent with the type of biking you expect to do – mountain and road bikes have completely different helmet styles and features.
If budget permits, try to invest in a helmet with MIPS – Multi directional impact protection system. The MIPS is a “brain protection system found inside the helmet between the comfort padding and the high-quality foam”. It goes beyond regular helmets in trying to prevent injury to your brain. Bell, Giro, Scott, and Smith are some brands that provide MIPS enabled helmets.
For running a marathon, you require strong lungs; for a comfortable riding experience, you require fully inflated bike tires. Riding on low-pressure tires makes it harder to propel the bike and can cause tube failure. Own an efficient bike pump and know the ideal tire pressure for your bike (either from the manual or a sticker on your bike). If you bike for long hours then a portable cartridge such as the 16g threaded CO2 cartridge by Plant Bike would be a good addition, else a good quality floor pump such as the JoeBlow Sport III by Topeak will suffice. Always check your tire pressure before you start riding.
Like any physical activity, biking amps up your heart rate which in turn produces sweat. The last thing you need while cruising on your bike is constantly tugging at your top to prevent it from sticking to your body. A polyester jersey is your best bet. Most workout clothing apparel is designed using polyester which has moisture-wicking properties. Short sleeves, long sleeves, sleeveless, base layer, front zip, back pockets, you name it – there are tons of colors, designs, and price points out there to suit your biking needs.
If you have not tried padded biking shorts, you are missing out!! Padded shorts provide cushioning to the butt against the saddle and allow you to ride longer with significantly less discomfort. They are usually made using spandex with a foam chamois sewn into the saddle area. The form-fitting design is aerodynamically superior to loose shorts or pants. While they may look a bit awkward around the butt, the reduction in pressure especially over a long distance far outweighs any fashion faux pas.
Just like your body needs to be dry while biking, so do your hands. Gloves allow your hands to remain dry by soaking up sweat and maintaining a good grip against the handlebars. Like bike shorts, gloves also come with additional cushioning along with the major pressure points, such as the palm, to absorb the vibrations passed by the bike. Another advantage of gloves is to prevent scraping your palms in case of an accident.
This season thinks about adding a pair of biking sunglasses to your gear. While the primary function of the sunglasses is to keep the sun out of your eyes, they also act as a barrier against bugs, dirt, rain, and wind. It is worthwhile to invest in sunglasses with interchangeable lenses for different light conditions.
Saddle, saddle covers, bottle, bottle holders, bike lights, mirrors, bells – the list of accessories is never-ending. Mix and match these accessories to have a safe riding experience and develop your own style quotient.