So you’ve bought a bike! Feels good, doesn’t it? The most puzzling part was figuring out what sort of bike to get, what size, and of course and what color. Or so you thought…
There’s nothing quite like the sense of anticipation that accompanies a new bicycle, with many untold adventures ahead. But with all that possibility comes a whole world of questions about routes, maintenance, fitness, skills, and of course, cycling gear. Sometimes, it can all feel like a bit of a minefield.
While the bike purchase itself is only one part of the story, it needn’t be daunting. What’s more, you don’t have to get all of your cycling gear right away— but what should your priorities be?
What every cyclist needs
First up, there’s some basic gear that everyone needs, including a quality lock, some cleaning essentials to keep your mechanicals happy and frame sparkling, a good helmet, a track pump (plus tube-change kit) and a set of front and rear lights. It’s also a really good idea to invest in a bike fit to get the most from your riding position and avert any unnecessary aches and pains. Beyond the essentials though, what sort of cycling gear you’ll want to invest in first will largely be determined by what sort of bike you’ve bought, and what you plan to do with it.
Beyond the basics
Consider the distances you plan to ride. If you’ll mostly be cycling shorter routes in and around the city, your cycling gear list may want to include quality hi-viz to be seen on commutes, along with waterproofs to avert pesky puddles from ruining a good morning. A gear bag is also a great investment for commuting, taking the weight (and heat) away from your back. However, if longer distances are in your sights, then you’ll want to think ‘comfort first’ and probably, aerodynamics too.
For those heading into the sportier side of cycling, from group rides and cycling events to racing, the absolute musts are a good pair of padded bib shorts, along with a fitted, wicking jersey and a pair of clipless pedals and cleated shoes. Consider accessories including gloves, to protect your hands from vibration and provide more grip when you begin to sweat, along with a fun pair of socks to provide motivation and conversation fodder at coffee stops. (There’s a lot of love out there for cycling socks!) On solo rides, a cycling computer, such as Garmin, can be your best friend, helping you to navigate and link-up with new riding buddies on the Strava-Sphere. Finally, on wet rides, consider mudguards to ensure that your new buddies still like you by the end of the ride!
Once you’re armed with the essentials, the fun doesn’t stop there. There’s a whole world of upgrades to consider, from lighter wheels to bar tape to match your mood of the season. But for now, get set with the basics and remember, sometimes the best cycling stuff comes in small packages— don’t forget your chamois cream, folks!