All the gear no idea?! We offer advice on the real cycling essentials for beginners!
Cycling is booming! The Department of Transport reported that bike traffic in 2020 increased by almost 45% when compared to 2019 with the majority of people cycling for leisure. As a hobby; cycling is a fantastic way to stay fit, spend time with friends and family, and explore the world around you. It’s also hugely popular with people of all ages and is easy to do. To help you on your way, we’re here to show what essential cycling kit you really need to get yourself on the road.
Safety is Key
Whenever you set out for a ride you should always be thinking about safety. Whether items save you a few scratches or make you stand out in the dark, you should always pack or check your safety kit first.
First, and foremost, check on your bike and make sure your tyres, brakes, gears, and handlebars are in good working order. Once you have that ticked off you’ll need to invest in bright reflective clothing. You should also add lights like drive lights to the front and back of your bike so even if you’re out and it gets dark, other people on the road will notice you. Make sure you have a bright white light on the front and a red rear light on the back of your bike so drivers in the dark can tell which way you’re facing.
Along with lights, you should never ride without a helmet. Your helmet is the most important part of your kit. Invest in a good comfortable helmet that fits snugly and has good head coverage. We recommend splurging on a good quality helmet for peace of mind as this little bit of kit can absorb considerable impact and potentially save your life. You can also attach a headlamp to improve your visibility on the road.
Dress for All Seasons
Once you have the required safety equipment you’ll need to plan for the weather, which in the UK, can be four seasons in a day. Getting caught in the rain 20 miles from your car isn’t just an inconvenience but a danger to your health. Wind and rain can drop your temperature dramatically and lead to colds and cases of flu which is why for rides during autumn or winter; it’s worth investing in some good thermals and waterproof layers. Aim for snug cycling jerseys and leggings that prevent cold winds from reaching your skin and pair them with cycling waterproofs that provide a layer of protection against the elements.
You’ll also want to keep your feet and hands dry. Slippery hands can lead to accidents so come rain or shine you should always cycle with gloves. The extra grip and lightweight build of cycling gloves are perfect for this task, protecting your hands from scrapes while also keeping your hands dry.
Specialised cycling socks are also advisable as they are designed to wick away sweat to keep your feet dry and comfortable. These socks, much like other cycling gear, fit snug to prevent wind or dirt from getting in.
Summer and sunny days are a different beast entirely. While your cycling gear can be used all year round you may want to plan for the glare and heat of the sun with sunglasses, a high SPF sun cream, and plenty of water. It can be very tempting to wear looser garments while riding in summer but it can be irritating and dangerous. Instead invest in gear that wicks away sweat to keep you comfortable and dry.
A Handy Toolkit
Last, but not least you should always keep tools with you just in case your bike needs any ‘on the fly’ repairs. On-road or off-road your bike is built to take a beating but might occasionally need some minor repairs to prevent you from being stranded. We recommend at least having Allen keys, spanners, and screwdrivers in your car and a convenient multi-tool for on the road mends. You should also always have a puncture repair kit to get you out of sticky situations. These tools by no means cover every eventuality and you’ll probably find yourself building up your tool kit as you go along, but starting with these bits and pieces are a good base.
As you can see, taking on the open road requires little more than some planning and some trusted gear. Pack these items for your first ride and you’ll be ready to take on anything. If you are looking to take on your first adventure and are interested in finding out more about our amazing bike racks or bike trailers then please feel free to look at our store or contact us directly. We can’t cycle for you but we can certainly help you, your family, and your bikes get to where you’re going safely.