Bicycle riding is both a sport and a hobby. In fact, it’s a fitness hobby that can be enjoyable for general family outings or be competitive for mountain or road biking competitions. No matter which level of cycling you enjoy, there will always be special accessories to help you with each style.
In this article, I present several essential accessories you would want to have and use when cycling, irrespective of the type of cycling you undertake.
Helmets are a key safety feature and are, in my opinion, mandatory whether the law states so or not. Falling off a bike is not fun, falling on your head can be deadly. Helmets come in many designs including the following types:
Road helmet, these are the original helmets that are made from a thin plastic shell covering an EPS foam interior, they have vents and are usually slim with an elongated design.
Metro 661 helmet or commuter helmet is a round-shaped helmet for road cycling, usually to work and back, they are also made of a plastic shell with an EPS foam interior.
Trail helmet has a blockier appearance that offers slightly more head coverage and is designed for use in woodland areas, providing just that more coverage against twigs and leaves.
Women’s Road helmets provide an exit point in the back of the helmet to account for long hair.
Aero Road helmets have a rounded, aerodynamic design that includes adjustable vent plugs to improve the aerodynamics for racing and downhill speeding.
Downhill mountain bike racing is a special kind of helmet design that includes a chin bar and vents. These helmets are specifically designed for the extra windage you get when traveling at speeds downhill.
Mountain helmets come with a visor, which is used to block out the sun, as for the overall design they resemble trail helmets with a visor.
BMX helmet is a closed motorcycle-style helmet design for BMX bikes, these models can also be made of fiberglass as well as carbon fiber and are used in BMX races.
A Chrono helmet is an aerodynamic helmet designed for track and speed events, they are the ones you see in the indoor Olympic events and resemble a teardrop.
2. Bike Locks
There are some different bike locks to consider, and you really do need a good bike lock to secure your bike from theft even when parked in your garage at home. There are four different types of locks, and these include:
U-locks are the strong holders of the locks, solid bars of metal that made from high tensile and super hard steel alloys. Even a power tool will find it hard to break. They come in different sizes for different applications and are usually locked with a key or a code.
Chain locks are the next level in security under a U Lock. They offer more versatility in locking up your bike in different locations and to different objects. If you buy a good one, it will deter thieves that recognize extra thick hardened steel chains. Some chains are designed to be worn by the rider while biking, just like a fashion accessory.
Folding locks are a relative newcomer to the locked scene. These locks gave a low profile and can fold up, making them a popular choice among metro bikers that want a smaller lock profile. They are similar to chain locks in that they require a chain or cable to secure the bike. They are in fact the least secure of all the bike locks and can be overcome with basic chain cutting equipment.
3. Bike Pump
Never leave home without a tire pump, if possible. You might have a patch kit in your pocket, but without a tire pump. If your tire gets a leak, you will not be able 5to fix it without a pump to fill it up. There are three models, the traditional pump with hose extension, standing pump with valve extension and the quick, solid fill throwing away pumps. Make sure you have at least one of these with you at all times.
There are 4 types of bike pumps that will come in handy in your garage or home to supplement the pump you take with you, these include the Hand Pump which is the portable pump you take with you.
The Stand Pump that sits in a garage and is used for low-pressure tires. CO2 Inflators that are used for racing performance where speed inflation is key to success, and finally Electric Pumps that is set in a garage or at home due to its size and is perfect for more than bicycle applications.
4. Bike Light
This is a night time security feature and as important as a helmet. In fact, at night it’s even more important than a helmet and you should have two: one for the front and one for the back. Do not rely on your red reflector at the back, have a red rear light and have a bright front light. Even if you don’t cycle at night, there are those low visibility days, rainy days, foggy days, where that extra safety feature will save your life.
5. Tool Kit
While many might think that a tire repair kit is enough, a real toolkit is actually a lifesaver. A small foldable toolkit will help you out of many sticky situations and will be proven to be invaluable when you most need it.
There are different tools for different applications, but there is one general toolkit that you need for most on the fly applications and here is the list of tools you might want to have ready in your garage at all times.
- Allen wrench set 2-12mm
- Open-end wrenches 6-17mm
- Chain brush
- Chain lube and cleaner
- Tire levers
- Tubes, at least 2
- Tube patch kit
- Floor pump with gauge
There are many other accessories to consider, such as reflective strips, bells and horns, and baskets, but the above list covers the essentials, where everything else is a great addition to have and in some cases a must-have dependent on your cycling needs.