Everyone knows the old saying – fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Nothing rings more true than being out on your bike and realizing you’re not equipped for safety, weather, bike issues or even the UV index.
There are lots of factors that can really improve – or worsen – your cycling experience. For us, there are six main things we never ride without…
Safety First – Helmet
It sounds super obvious, but investing in a good helmet is always worth it. Statistics by the Cleveland Clinic show that about 800 bicyclists are killed each year in the US, with 2/3 of the deaths involving the head and face.
We largely stay out of these helmet debates, as it is up to every rider, but in contrast to some of the public scrutiny we receive, we are pro head gear.
When choosing a helmet, always look for the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) sticker inside. This ensures you’ll be offered a high level of protection if you do end up in a crash. It’s thought that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury to cyclists by as much as 85 percent.
Beam Yourself Up
Again, carrying lights on your bike sounds like a no-brainer. However, you’d be surprised by how many riders get caught out on the roads later than they had anticipated and forget to bring their lights with them, or even switch them on.
Riders should kit themselves out with a headlight, as well as bike lights, in case the sun sets while you’re riding. One of our favourites is the NiteRider Lumina, which has a great battery life to keep you visible long after dusk.
The SmartHalo2 is also a great techtastic all-rounder, which not only lights your way in the dark, but tracks your cycling metrics and keeps you connected with call and text notifications. It also navigates you and protects your bike with an anti-theft alarm.
You should also consider fitting your bike with reflectors on the pedals, spokes or handlebars, and invest in hi-vis or reflective cycling gear so you can’t be missed.
Fix any Bike Issues with Tools or a Repair Kit
There’s no feeling more sinking than discovering a puncture or a flat tire miles from home and realizing you have nothing to fix it with. We recommend always packing:
- Spare tubes, and/or patch kit
- Tire levers
- Cycling multi-tool. We love the lightweight I-beam multi-tool. It has 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm hex wrenches as well as a flat blade screwdriver to solve any minor issues and keep your bike in safe, working order.
We usually store our bike tools in the Commute Seat Pack or the Commute Top Tube. This way they’re organized, in the same place and easy to reach should you encounter any urgent bike issues!
Stash your Stuff in a Bike bag
Unless you’re on a really short bike ride, you’ll need somewhere to stash your stuff that won’t strain your back in the process.
Two Wheel Gear bags are designed to fit on your rack, on your handlebars and on the frame of your bike itself. From your phone, keys and wallet to work clothes and camping gear, our range of bike bags focus on maximum storage for their size, and are designed with different riders and commutes in mind.
Check out our blog, ‘What kind of Rider are you? Match your Style with the Perfect Two Wheel Gear Bike Bag’ to find your perfect cycling buddy – or take our quiz at the bottom of the page.
Dressing Appropriately for your Ride (and the Weather!)
We’ve said plenty of times on this blog that head-to-toe lycra isn’t an entry requirement for getting on a bike. However, poor clothing choices are also a sure-fire way to have an unpleasant cycling experience!
Dress appropriately for the weather (waterproofs and lots of thin layers are your best friends) and avoid baggy or flowing pieces of clothing, which can get stuck in the wheels or chain. If it’s dark outside, throw on some hi-vis, too.
…Not Forgetting the Right Shoes
Top-of-the-range clip-in cycling shoes aren’t necessary for casual rides, but wearing shoes with a good grip can really save your shins from taking a battering.
The Five Ten Sleuth DLX unisex shoes – available at MEC – are our go-to, with a dotty rubber sole to effectively grip pedals. They also offer great toe protection. They look like a standard pair of sneakers, so they can also take you from bike to night out.
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