Buying a new bicycle is just the first step to getting outfitted for riding. There are several accessories available, from clothing and bags to lighting, locks and even cycling computers. These items can help to make for a more enjoyable, efficient and safer riding experience. Select accessories that accommodate the style of riding you are involved in, whether racing, touring, off-road or simply riding for pleasure.
If you plan on riding at night, lights on your bicycle are essential. Both battery-powered and generator versions are available. Many battery-powered lights are rechargeable. Generator units are battery-less and use either a dynamo turned by the wheel of the bike or magnetic induction to generate electricity. Front, rear and pedal lights are available.
Securing your bicycle from theft is a good idea, particularly if you are cycling in urban areas. A variety of lock types are available including chain, wire cable and U-shaped locks made of hardened steel. All are reasonably priced and simple to use and carry, and can give you the peace of mind that your bicycle is better protected from being stolen.
Fenders and Mud Flaps
Riding in inclement weather can be messy. Fenders or mud flaps for both front and rear wheels can help to reduce the spray from tires and make for a cleaner, more comfortable ride. Fenders and mud flaps are lightweight, easy to install and relatively inexpensive.
A far cry from the cable-driven speedometers of yesteryear, today’s cycling computers provide a wealth of information, all on a waterproof LCD panel. Current speed, ride time, distance, average and maximum speed, clock and even temperature are all available at a glance. Cycling computers attach easily to the steering stem or handlebars.
Pumps and Repair Kits
When a tire goes flat, a repair kit and portable pump will do the trick. Small repair kits that are very portable can be stowed in a seat pack. Both hand-operated and CO2 pumps come in sizes that are easy to carry, while still being sturdy. Many pumps today have convenient, built-in tire gauges.
Racks, Bags and Seat Packs
For short outings to the park or long-distance touring across the country, bicycle racks and bags or a seat pack can make the trip easier. You can carry a picnic lunch, stow a change of clothes or keep your cell phone and car keys safe while riding. Repair kits, pumps and other essential gear can all fit in a rack-mounted bag or seat pack, making your ride safer and more enjoyable.
Water Bottles and Cages
Staying hydrated on your ride is a lot easier with a quality water bottle and cage. Bottle cages hold your drink in an easy-to-reach position, whether on the go or on a break. Most bottle cages today are very lightweight and mount quickly on your bicycle frame.
Helmet, Gloves, Eyewear and Other Apparel
A top-quality helmet is important to provide proper protection. Get the best you can afford. Proper eyewear is also a good idea to reduce glare and protect against dust and debris. Riding gloves can help reduce hand fatigue and irritation. Riding apparel such as jerseys, shorts and riding shoes all make for a more comfortable ride, and you’ll look the part as well. Select fabrics that wick moisture away from the body to promote cooling.