During the summer months, when the weather is finally nice and comfortable, there’s nothing better than taking a bike ride. In the spring of 2017, 66.21 million people in the United States had gone cycling in the last 12 months.
Not only is it fun and relaxing, but biking offers many health and environmental benefits.
- A 2017 study found that biking to work burns as much fat as spending 40 minutes at the gym five nights a week.
- According to research conducted by Glenn Stewart at Brunel University in London, cycling lowers the risk of premature death up to 30 percent, while the risk of developing cardiorespiratory diseases is reduced by about 40 percent.
- Bicycles save more than 238 million gallons of gas every year.
There are roughly one billion bicycles in the world-about twice as many as motor vehicles-and more than 100 million bicycles are manufactured each year. That means there’s a lot of bicyclists no matter where you go.
As popular as cycling is, it’s important to have the right tools. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced rider, having the right tools can keep you safe, hydrated, warm and overall ensure that your bicycle is doing exactly what it’s intended for. With that in mind, here are five tools/items that every cyclist should have.
- Helmet: Cycling is safe sport if you’re careful and your chances of getting involved in a serious crash during an after-dinner ride around town are probably minimal. All that being said, a helmet is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a cyclist’s arsenal. Helmets are designed for low-speed crashes, but they offer an extra layer of protection just in case something unexpected happens.
- Locks: Helmets are designed to keep riders safe and locks are designed to keep bikes safe. By not locking your bike up, you’re taking a big risk, especially if you live in a bigger city. Some cities have biking programs that encourage bike sharing, but if you’ve just dropped a bunch of money on a brand new bike, you want to make sure it’s good and secure when you’re not riding it.
- Saddle: It can be a challenge finding comfortable bike seats, but putting in the effort is worth it because if you’re comfortable, you’ll want to ride more. Saddle comfort is subjective, but you want to try them out and see what works best. The last thing you want is to continuously run through anatomic saddles, leather bike saddles or carbon saddles without finding something that works.
If you’re interested in leather bike saddles for example, check the price range, the feel of the material and the weight of the saddle. Whether you’re looking at leather bike saddles, carbon saddles or some other type, make sure that the seams on the saddle or any panels for reinforcement don’t cause chafing when you ride.
Ultimately, it depends on what you’re looking for and what’s comfortable. Leather bike saddles can give your bike a retro look and can take the shape of the rider’s back once they’re broken in.
- Luggage: If you’re biking long distances, you’re probably going to need some sort of bike bag to hold your belongings. Whether you’re using saddlebags, handlebar packs or frame bags, it’s a lot easier to carry your phone, food, water and other essentials if you’ve got somewhere to put them.
- Spare Tools: As fun as bike riding is, it always helps to be prepared. Putting a few spare tubes in your luggage along with a multi-tool and a pump can save you a lot of frustration when you’re trying to enjoy a leisurely bike ride.
- Lights: Biking is fun, but you always want to make sure you’re staying safe. If you’re taking nighttime bike rides, it’s essential that you have front and rear lights on your bike. This way you can see where you’re going and other people (namely drivers in cars) can see where you’re at. Don’t forget to use reflectors either. The more you’re seen, the better off you are.
Armed with the right tools you’ll not only enjoy your bike rides, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ve got all the essentials to stay safe, deal with equipment issues and carry your belongings while you ride.