6 Essential Pieces Of Equipment For Beginning Cyclists
By: Chris Martinez |
Almost everyone has ridden a bicycle in their lifetime but there are multiple types of bicycles to ride. There are may different types of bikes and riding styles, such as road bikes, touring bikes, fixed gear bikes, and mountain bikes (see Easy Mountain Bike Tricks for Beginners). Every bike and style requires it’s own equipment and set of skills, and road bikes are one of the more specialized types.
Road bikes by definition are bicycles that are used on paved roads or racing tracks. Typically these bikes are seen on back roads, bicycling lanes, paved trails, and in professional races like the Tour De France which is an event that takes place in France and lasts 23- days spanning about 2,200 miles. Road bikes are made to be ridden for many miles and require a specific set of skills and equipment to be safe. With that, here are 6 essential cycling items needed to ensure your ride is enjoyable and safe while on the road.
A certified cycling helmet is of utmost importance and it’s number one on this list for good reason. In cycling you share the road with cars and other vehicles. Sharp turns, steep downhills and slippery surfaces are variables that make road biking rather dangerous. No matter what the conditions, always wear a helmet to avoid serious injury in case of a crash.
A cycling kit is an outfit such as seen during the Tour De France, these kits are not specifically for displaying sponsors, but are to keep the body cool during a ride as well as added zippers that either unzip completely on the top or a quarter zipper to allow more airflow to allow more cooling. As for the shorts they are made of a very thin spandex like material that serves two purposes. One is to keep from overheating as the legs turn the pedals to the bike the thin material keeps cool. Second is in the shorts are added pads to keep the riders butt from chaffing or being uncomfortable since road bikes do not have padded seats.
3. Pedals & Shoes
There are two different ways someone can ride a road bike, with clipped pedals or unclipped pedals. It all depends on the preference of the rider, but the main difference between the two are the amount of power and “sweat spot” that can be achieved using clipped pedals. Riding clipped is when the rider wears special shoes that locks their foot into the pedal and cannot detach their foot unless it is turned and lifted to disengage the locking mechanism. Riding unclipped can mean having regular pedals that are on every bike or caged which adds a cage like pedal for the front of the riders foot making it impossible for the foot to come off of the pedal when pedaling forward.
4. Water Bottles
Water bottles are one of the most important things to have with you on a ride because cycling in hot sun can severely dehydrate the body and cause the rider to become fatigued. Depending the the length or intensity of the ride, having more than one water bottle on hand is recommended. Adding bottles to a rides means needing somewhere to store them, that is when adding water bottle cages (holders) to the bike frame makes holding up to three to four bottle simple and safe.
Sunglasses are important for a number of reasons. They protect the eyes from wind and debris that might otherwise cause discomfort or a crash. Sunglasses also help protect from the sun’s UV rays. This is very important as to when riding in the direction of the sun it can blind the rider, where wearing sunglasses can help protect the riders visions and ensure a safe ride.
6. Saddle Bag
A saddle bag is a cyclists lifeline, the bag attaches to bottom of the cyclists seat and can hold anything from spare inner tubes to tire levers to hand pumps. The saddle bag is a must because if the rider were to come across a flat tire on a long ride miles from the nearest rest stop, they have the tools on hand to make the fix and continue on their way.
Regardless of your level of expertise, these pieces of cycling equipment will help keep you safe and out of danger while on the road.