Don’t know what is useful or not?
Check out what accessories you need for cycling
The bicycle accessories is the talk of the town among cyclists. Second to talking about bicycle frames, accessories come up in all conversations. Why? Because there are so types and variety.
What is amazing is that sometimes, if you add up the cost of all the accessories purchased, you will find it will cost even more than the bike itself!
The cycling accessory industry, is therefore, massive. There are thousands of companies all over the world producing either cheap and nasty to unique high quality accessories.
There is no doubt about it, bicycle riding can be expensive, but many riders of today spend too much on useless and unnecessary riding gear that could make the cycling experience a whole lot cheaper. It’s understandable when purchasing for the fun and trend aspect, but many believe falsely of the practicality.
I’m going to run through some useful accessories and some which are useless.
Bicycle Bells – Useful
How times have changed! Up until a few years ago, bells were an after thought. Particularly for the cyclists who owned the Ferrari equivalent of bicycles. Would you even consider installing a nice little horn in a Ferrari? The same thoughts run through a high maintenance cyclist. Bells destroy the look and the aerodynamics. They are simply useless for racing.
In today’s world bells are everywhere, and it’s extremely important because they’re the best way to alert people. People hear the “ping!” and they move out of the way.
This is far better than screaming out “On your left!”, which most of the time people don’t understand anyways.
Nowadays, you can buy all sorts of bells: brass, copper, aluminum, titanium, plastic, or even wood. There are many styles and sounds. I recommend bells that fit well on your bike, and make an efficient, clear ringing sound. Splurge if you like on other aspects, but the ringing is the most important.
Cycling Whistles – Useless
Don’t try using a whistle instead of a bell. These are the dumbest accessories to use to alert other by standers or riders. For starters, you can’t quickly blow into the whistle, unless you have it permanently in you mouth. And secondly, if you’re gasping for air there is no way you’ll be able to blow out of the whistle to alert others.
Cycling Bags – Useful
Fundamentally bicycles are more than just racing or going on long rides on weekends. They should be used as modes of transport not just for our bodies but in carrying other items.
Bags are not only trendy but they are also practical. They come in various sizes and can fit at the front, back, under the saddle, along the top bar and slung cooly around the shoulders.
A bike doesn’t need a big bag, but it needs something to carry at least the necessities, so that you can avoid riding one handed. In deciding which bag to purchase, get a bag that is more than sufficient. That extra bit of space will come in handy for the days that you have that extra bit to carry. Also make sure that the bag you intend to buy fits on the bike. Not all bicycles are bag friendly. Some will be be able to cater for bags more easily than others. Most road bikes will be able to hold saddle bags, which loop through the handles of the saddle. Saddle bags won’t be able to hold that much. The largest should be able to fit tubes, levers, gels, keys, wallet and many other smallish items. It usually won’t be able to hold a compact pump, bananas, bottles and other larger items.
Bike bags that sling over the shoulder are the easiest and the trendiest. A really cool slung bike bag can turn shoulders. And they can be made from all sorts of material. They will be large enough to hold a wide variety of your largish items, even laptops, spare clothing, books etc. Some sling bags maybe be slightly heavier though, usually for extra padding to protect your belongings.
You will need to compromise between a light weight bag with less protection vs a heavy bag with padding. I usually go light weight, and if I need padding I throw in a few clothes.
Smartphone holders – Useful but dangerous
The latest in accessories, now available in all sorts of sizes and colours is the smartphone holder. These are great for riders who are doing the side gig, checking stats and measuring their performance.
Smartphone holders can be a safety hazard because, just like when driving, they can be a distraction! Make sure you are not compromising your safety when riding with a smartphone holder. Try to be at a stand still when using your smartphone.
Fenders – Useful for rainy days
If you are planning to ride in all types of weather rain, hail, or shine, you will need to consider a bike with a fender for the rainy days. Road bikes usually won’t have them, but for the the bikes for the commute, using a fender will prevent water from sprayıng against your backside and up your back. Fenders can be made of fibre, aluminium, steel, brass, plastic or wood. The plastic ones are the most popular because they are cheap plus easy to attach. Often they have a quick release mechanism where they can attach to the back seat post or front fork.
Bicycle Pumps and CO2 cannisters
CO2 Cannisters – Useful for hard core riders
Pumps are better than CO2 cannisters. CO2 cannisters are all the rage at the moment. These cannisters are smallish, compact, and are very quick in pumping up a tire. They cost approximately $10 per cannister, and $30 for an outlet that connects the cannister to the tube. Take note: That you can only use a cannister once. After it has been opened, similar to a bottle of wine, once the cork has been removed it cannot be put back in again. Unless are a hard core racer, you. don’t waste money on CO2 cannisters. Not only are they expensive, but they are bad for the environment.
Frame Pumps – Useful
Frame pumps are longish is length allowing for greater pressure to be pushed into the tube. In the past, frame pumps have been favoured because they have more pressure than the compact pumps. Frame pumps, attach along the top bar or side bar of a bike, and generally weigh a little bit more than a compact pump. They are far better than compact pumps if you see yourself riding on long distances. You will need that extra tire pressure, if you need to replace a tube and intend to keep riding for hours and hours.
Compact pumps – Useful
These are really popular for the road cyclists, or those just want to slip the pump into the back of their jerseys. Handy and lightweight, great for those emergencies, when you need some air in those tires. Compact pumps still won’t give you the same amount of pressure as a frame pump (although that is quickly changing with technology). But will be good enough for you to ride further to get back for proper repair and maintenance.
Clip on’s and Cleats – Useful for hard core riders
If you are getting into road cycling and mountain biking, you probably are considering buying cleats and clip on shoes to click onto the pedals. Do you have to buy and wear these? You don’t have to, but they do help with riding efficiency and keeping your feet “glued” to the pedals. (Don’t worry, you can unglue them, and everyone will fall off at least once when training on them!)
What should you do if you don’t have cleats for riding road bikes with clip ons? Just wear your runners. You can still ride the road bike. It may not have flat pedals for flat shoes, but hey, so what? I have been riding my bike to and from work on my runners on a road bike with clip on pedals. It doesn’t hurt my feet, and I can walk around freely in my runners during and after the ride. A far more comfortable experience, in my opinion, in stead of wearing my clip on shoes, of even changing the pedals all the time.
So if you are starting out, and you don’t know whether you will commit to the sport. Just wear your runners and don’t worry about changing the pedals on the bike.