Cycling is great exercise, and once you get into cycling, you’re likely to become a major enthusiast! Other than your bike, there’s a lot of great kit that can make life easier for cyclists, and ensure you stay healthy and safe on the road. Also, they can help you maintain your bike and keep it looking good. Check out some of the best tech for cyclists below.
The right bike
It sounds obvious to say it, but so many cyclists choose a bike that’s simply not suitable for them. It’s easy to rush out and get a bike based on the fact it looks cool, it’s top of the line, or you just love the look of it, but you may then find that the bike doesn’t work for you.
Some things you’ll need to think about before you buy your bike include:
· What you’ll use it for – will you be doing mostly road cycling or heading off track?
· Size – it’s important that you have a bike that’s comfortable to ride
· Weight – a bike that’s too heavy will make life difficult, but you also don’t want something that feels flimsy
If you’re a first time cyclist, you may want to avoid buying a bike online and go to a specialist store instead, as you will be able to get expert advice and help.
An air compressor
Pumping up your bike tyres with a pump is likely to be an arduous task, especially when you get into the more serious leagues and need your tyres pumped to a very specific amount. You may want to look for air compressors from Domnick Hunter, which are much faster and more accurate, making them ideal for cyclists and anyone who uses a vehicle on wheels.
A fitness watch
There are a lot of different stats that you need to keep track of when you cycle, from your heart rate to calories burned. The best way to do this is by using a smart watch, as you don’t need to mess with anything or press buttons, it simply keeps track of your stats. The Garmin Vivoactive fitness watch is popular with cyclists, and if you like other sports such as running, you can use it for that too! Simply strap it on your wrist and away you go.
A water bottle
Hydration is essential when you travel. The last thing you want is to feel a thirst coming on when you are en-route, so make sure you have a decent sized water bottle with you. Snacks are useful too. It can sometimes feel a long way to the end of your route, and without the right protein and fats, your body may be running on empty. Consider having some snack packs or simple, healthy snacks to help you on your way.
Storage and transport
It’s important to think about where you’ll store your bike. You will need somewhere dry, so that you don’t end up with rust, and somewhere that’s easy to access for your daily ride. Most people fit a bike rack in their garage, as it keeps your bike safely stored out of the way.
Also, if you’re planning to take your bike on rides away from home, you may want to look at bike racks for your car. There are racks that fit on your roof or car bumper, depending on the size and weight of your bike, so think about what will work best for you. If your family will also be riding, you’ll need enough space for all their bikes.
Most countries don’t have laws that compel cyclists to wear helmets, but going out without one, even in town, is extremely dangerous. It can turn a small bump into a major head injury, so it’s always worth wearing your helmet. When it comes to buying one, quality is key. Never buy helmets from dodgy overseas sellers. You want them to be safety tested to a high standard, so if you suffer a knock, it’s the helmet that takes the damage and not your brain.
Cycling clothes are also essential once you move away from casual bike rides to more serious undertakings. This is because cycling clothes are especially designed to keep you as comfortable as possible, from stretchy fabrics to breathable panels, and also, they can prevent issues such as chafing.
Some cycling clothes you’re likely to need include:
· A base layer to remove sweat
· A middle layer for insulation such as a turtleneck
· An extra outer layer if you are cold
· Tights for protecting your legs
· A lined skullcap if your helmet is uncomfortable
If you have a particular issue or part of your body that feels uncomfortable or gets rashes or chafes, then you should look for specialist clothing. Cyclists have lots of choices when it comes to clothes, so all you need to do is look up the problem and someone will no doubt think of a solution.
When you start out as a cyclist, you’ll probably stick to local roads which you’ve already explored by car, which are fairly easy to navigate. But what happens when you go further afield? If you’re planning an epic cycling journey, for example, across Australia’s best bike paths, and don’t know your way around, you’ll need to consider getting a GPS. GPS systems made for bikes have a number of advantages over just using your phone:
· They’re much less likely to lose reception in isolated areas, as they rely on satellites rather than phone reception
· They show stats such as how far you’ve cycled and how far is left to go
· You don’t get distracted by notifications and apps
· You can see how you’ve improved over time
· You don’t waste precious phone battery, which you will need to preserve in case there’s an emergency
If you’re just a casual cyclist, you won’t want to spend a lot, but when you get into more serious rides it’s something to consider.
A tool kit
Every cyclist should know how to do some basic repairs. There’s certainly nothing worse than being stranded and having to push your bike home. And a small tool kit will ensure you can carry out some repairs by the side of your road and get on your way. It doesn’t have to be anything too exciting, just a few tools that are small and lightweight, so they don’t weigh you down. Look out for kits designed by cyclists, for cyclists, as they’re likely to have what you need.
Somewhere to keep your valuables
Unless you’re only heading off for a short ride, you are likely to need to carry some valuables such as car keys, a debit card or cash, or a mobile phone. Bum bags can get in your way, and a rucksack can give you poor posture, so it’s worth looking at some of the solutions on the market such as a cyclist’s wallet, which holds all your essentials safely and is easy to carry.
Cycling gives you a great feeling of freedom, and you don’t need a lot of kit other than your bike to get started. But you should consider some of the gadgets above for emergencies and to guide your way.