Cycling has become increasingly popular in the last few years. It may have something to do with more exposure on TV sports shows, the success of the sport in the Olympics, or just more people realising that it is an excellent way to get fit and healthy and look after the planet.
But one of the common pitfalls for beginners is spending a small fortune on clothes and accessories. If you are serious about getting into cycling you will want to spend good money on a bike. But there is so much on the market that you could easily become confused and dip too far into your rainy day funds. So here’s a quick guide to what you should be looking for when you are getting ready to get on your bike.
This is probably the most obvious one – and we’re not going to spend too much time on it because we are concentrating more on the apparel. But you will need to find a decent bike. You will probably want to get a road bike unless you know that you want to off-road as well.
You could always go crazy and spend thousands on the type of bike you see racing in the Tour de France. But for beginners, bikes at around the £500 mark are just fine. You will also be able to spend much less than that if you can find a good second-hand one.
Clothing & Accessories
Before you spend any money – including on the bike itself – you need to evaluate your own personal needs. What do you want to get out of this? And when will you be cycling? This will sift out a lot of the supposed essentials that you may read about and narrow down your expenses to what you will actually use.
Whatever type of cycling you are planning on, you should invest in some padded shorts. Don’t be too proud about this – you will definitely need to protect your backside. You should also get some cycling-specific tops that are able to keep you cool when you are hot and dry when it is raining.
If you need or want to carry items with you such as for a longer trip or camping trip, don't forget your Goodordering pannier bag - waterproof and spacious for whatever the weather.
You should, of course, wear a helmet when you are out on the bike – and you may want to get some good sunglasses and sunscreen for your longer rides. A water bottle is another must, to keep you hydrated, and you can fit a special bottle cage to your bike for ease of use.
Make sure that you have a pump and some basic tools for any emergency as well. There are some great multi-tools on the market for cyclists that should get you out of any tricky situation. Or at the very least, they will help you get to a suitable stop-off point where you can ask for help.
Figure 2 You don’t have to spend too much on the tech side of things
This is where it is very easy to get carried away. You could get all the electronic gadgets to tell you where you are, how fast you have been going, and how quickly your heart is beating. But we think, to begin with, you should just actually go au naturel (as it were) and just simply enjoy your cycling.
But as you progress and get more confident with your cycling you may find that you want deeper insights into your trips and journeys. A cycle computer can record everything we mentioned as well as provide you with a GPS. But there are plenty of apps that do the same kind of job for much less.
Now that you have a good idea about the stuff that you need to buy before you set off, you just need to hit the open road and enjoy yourself. But you should also remember to always tell others where you are going if you are planning on a solo trip, or – even better – team up to make it a social occasion.
Have respect for other cyclists and for other road users and hopefully you will earn some back. Make sure that you get the essentials but don’t worry too much about spending too much. The main point of it all is to have some fun, after all.
9 Un-useless bike accessories inspired by Un-useless Japanese inventions
100 Cycling Tips including the weird and wonderful
Bike storage for your home not just leaning against the wall