There are a few basic pieces of gear that are essential to cycling (i.e. helmet and lights) and a few that can be incredibly helpful, whether you are tooling around your neighborhood or biking quite a distance. Here’s a few suggestions of what you can buy to fill that niche, as shown in our cycling guide in the upcoming June issue:
Your bike doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles, but
you do need an actual bell to get the attention of pedestrians and vehicles
in your path. (In some places, it’s even the law.) Dringdring’s Candy bell is
decorated by hand with nontoxic paint. $28, dringdring.bigcartel.com
We love the look of Lazer’s incredibly lightweight Armor helmet, but the style doesn’t matter as much as its approval by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Use the removable pads to ensure the helmet fits snugly and isn’t tipping forward or
back. $70, lazersport.com for retailers
3. Safety Patrol
When parking outside, a high-quality U-lock like Kryptonite’s New York model is your best bet—fit it through the frame, rear wheel, and bike rack. If you have quick-release wheels (removed by flicking a lever), add a heavy-duty cable or chain to secure the front tire, too. $96, kryptonitelock
.com for retailers
4. Night Shift
A must for night riding, lights are also required by law. Mount a white one on your handlebar and a red blinker on the back of the bike. Knog’s Frog strobe lights contain LEDs that can flash for up to 80 hours. $15, knog.com.au
Be prepared for anything with a multi-tool package like Park Tool’s Essential Tool Kit (not shown, $25, parktool.com for retailers). Stow it in an undersaddlebag with some cash and a phone for emergencies. Shifter recycled bike tube saddlebag, $25, greengurugear.com
A front basket like this Brooks Hoxton wire one ($160, adelineadeline.com) is useful if you have a few items; overfilling it can throw off your balance. Panniers that attach to the rear rack are a better option for larger hauls. (Be sure to fill both sides evenly.) Public’s Farmers Market twin panniers are durable and waterproof. $80, publicbikes.com
For long bike rides, like the 40 mile TD Five Boro Bike Tour, a few other pieces of gear become essential:
1. Padded bike shorts
While they can feel uncomfortably like a diaper when you first put them on, they can be incredibly helpful when cycling for hours. You can purchase fitted shorts, or loose sport shorts that include a fitted padded lining to give more coverage.
2. Water bottle
Dehydration can easily happen when exerting yourself biking over long distances. It is important to continue drinking even when you’re not thirsty. A combination of water and sports drinks sipped over time will keep you feeling much better at the end of your ride.
Small amounts of fruit, sports bars, granola bars and nuts snacked in small intervals can help keep blood sugar balanced and your energy feeling high.
4. Sunglasses and sunscreen
To protect your skin and eyes. Of course.