If you’ve recently purchased a new bicycle, welcome to the two-wheeler club! It’s almost time to clip on your helmet, strap on your riding shoes and get your gears going. But just because you’ve got your bike it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re completely prepared to hit the open road.
There are a number of biking basics new riders should consider investing in to make every journey as pain-free and enjoyable as possible. From protecting your noggin to quenching your thirst on the go, here are 10 essential items every cyclist should own.
Wearing a helmet while you ride is basically the first thing you learn as a child – and the rule still applies to you no matter your age. In Australia, almost everyone knows you’ll cop a fine for not wearing a helmet while riding a bike. And even though the penalties are slightly different in each state, you can expect to pay anywhere between $25 to $300 for not doing the right thing. So, buckle up and protect your noggin the next time you decide to cycle.
Padded bike shorts
Cycling can help keep you fit, clear your mind and may even become your new-found obsession. But a sore and tender bottom can quickly turn your fond feelings about cycling upside down. Padded bike shorts are a must for every cyclist. This essential item helps protect and cushion your backside from the heavy pressure of your body on the bike saddle. When you wear padded bike shorts not only does it create a cushioning barrier between your bum and seat, but it also absorbs sweat away from your body which reduces the friction between your skin and the saddle.
Sure, it’s fine to wear a breathable cotton t-shirt, but it’s no cycling jersey. The thing is cycling-specific jerseys aren’t made just to make you look like a professional Tour de France competitor. They’re actually made from a specialty fabric designed to keep you cool on hot days, and keep you dry when you break a sweat. The long front zip provides ample ventilation, and the back pockets are made for carrying food and snack supplies on longer trips.
Quality eyewear is an essential part of every kit for new road cyclists. It’s something every rider quickly learns after they come face to face with a fly – literally! Not only is getting whacked in the eye by a flying critter irritable, it’s also inconvenient and could cause an unexpected accident. So, as always, safety first. And what better way to keep your eyes safe than wearing photochromic sunglasses? What makes them so special is that photochromic lenses have the ability to protect your eyes by adapting to UV light exposure. This means if the weather changes from overcast and gloomy to bright and sunny, you don’t have to stop and change your lenses mid-ride.
Water bottle and bottle cage
You’re bound to get thirsty when you’re cycling, so why wouldn’t you want easy access to H2O while you’re on the go? A water bottle and bottle cage fixed to your bicycle is a must-have. It’ll keep you hydrated and it’s one of your main sources of fuel while riding.
Tube, pump and patch kit
Leaving home without a tube, pump and patch kit is like living in a house without a first aid kit. Let’s face it, accidents happen, and depending on how prepared you are for them will make or break your ride. If you’ve got a tube, pump and patch kit handy, no puncture big or small can ruin your ride.
Multitools are the cyclist’s equivalent of a Swiss Army knife. Its range of tool bits make it the most useful gadget to have on hand. It can be used to make handy adjustments to the bike, like raising or lowering the saddle height or fine-tuning the gears.
Most beginner cyclists cringe at the thought of being attached to their bike by their feet. After all, it can be pretty daunting to think what could happen if you were to take a fall without being able to stop it. To help break your possible falls, you could start off with mountain biking clipless pedals so that it’s easier for you to quickly take your foot on and off.
The whole point of wearing cycling shoes is to help keep your feet comfortable, improve power transfer and let in air to cool your feet on hot, sunny days. They may be an undervalued part of the whole cycling attire but they certainly bring value to your feet doing all the hard work.
Protection for your bike
Whether you’ve just bought a new set of wheels or sport your veteran Pinarello, it’s always a good idea to take care of your bicycle the best you can, and one way to do this is with insurance. NRMA Insurance will protect your pushbike against things like theft, vandalism and accidental damage.
You have the option to either insure your bicycle with Single Item Insurance or add it to your Home Contents Insurance as an optional extra under your policy – just keep in mind that we don’t cover bicycles while they’re being used in a competitive race or time trial.
Most importantly, if you plan on pedalling out and about help keep the roads safe by following cycling road rules and Covid regulations. These regulations differ from each local area, so be sure to check laws that apply in your local area outlined by your state government.