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AIBU to ask about your cycling essentials?

(72 Posts)
Alicewasinwonderland Mon 04-Jan-16 12:34:18

One of our new year resolutions is to start cycling this year, which sounds a bit more focused than just "getting fit". (Road cycling, no mountain biking just yet).

I thought that we just needed a bike, and an helmet, but I am sure I am missing something. My husband's birthday is in a couple of weeks, so his gift will be cycle-related, as apparently we are doing the London to Brighton even this year. confused

Any recommendation from the experts here please?

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Mon 04-Jan-16 12:40:53

Gloves, your hands get sore after being out for a bit. Cold at this time of the year as well.

Spd pedals and shoes. Padded cycling trousers/shorts.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Mon 04-Jan-16 12:42:02

Oh and puncture repair kit, spare inner tubes, oil, muck off stuff, bike tool.

Betrayedbutsurvived Mon 04-Jan-16 12:44:09

If you just get one thing, make it padded shorts. You can wear them under normal clothes if you're not ready to go down the full Lycra route yet.

ThePocPocHunt Mon 04-Jan-16 12:47:29

Decent lock(s)
Waterproofs (jacket and trousers)
Reflectives (eg. armbands, hi viz vest)
Rubber/latex gloves in case you need to put your chain back on - avoids getting oily hands!

Flockofsheep Mon 04-Jan-16 12:49:55

Not all essentials straight away but I use the following:

Neck warmer / buff
Waterproof jacket (high viz)
Padded shorts (padded leggings for winter)
Cycling shoes (if/when you progress to clip in pedals)
Gloves (fingerless for summer)
Water bottles and bottle cage for bike
Pump, tyre levers, inner tubes
Puncture repair kit
Lights (if cycling in dark or for rainy / foggy days)
Garmin (more of a luxury item than an essential)
Chain / bike locks
Saddle bag (small one that fits under saddle)
Waterproof case to keep phone in

Flockofsheep Mon 04-Jan-16 12:51:46

Basic tool kit
Bike cleaning stuff

OneofTHOSEWomen Mon 04-Jan-16 12:51:54

Don't forget locks, lights, high viz gear.

CMOTDibbler Mon 04-Jan-16 12:52:37

Gloves, bib shorts (I like the dhb halter neck ones), chamois cream, decent pump, under saddle bag are all things you'll want smile

If you feel generous to dh, the Garmin 25 is a great little bike computer and you can load routes to it to get instructions.

Bike shoes make a big difference to the power you put into each stroke, but they come up small - buy at least a size bigger than normal

Figmentofmyimagination Mon 04-Jan-16 12:54:57

For Christmas this year, I was given a lovely yellow reflective back pack for my commute. So useful.

MetalMidget Mon 04-Jan-16 12:56:33

I'm a mountain biker, but a saddle and shorts combo that suits you is essential! Also:

* Puncture repair kit and/or spare inner tube (unless you're going tubeless) and pump

* Weather-suitable clothing. Layers are better than thick jackets, as you can strip/add as needs be. Some waterproof stuff is indeed waterproof, but makes you feel like boil in the bag rice!

* Shoe/pedal combo - will you be wearing flats, or spds? If you wear flats on road bike, expect funny looks from the veloilluminati.

* Lights

* Locks

* Bottle cage/bottle for drinks (as a mtber, I tend to use a Camelbak instead - I literally can't fit a bottle in my frame as I need a small bike!)

InsufficientlyCaffeinated Mon 04-Jan-16 12:59:29

- A really good saddle. Lots of bike shops have a thing (definitely the technical term) you sit on that measures your bones and they can help you find a good saddle off that.
- Good padded cycling shorts
- Chamois cream if you're doing long distances like the London to Brighton. Really makes a difference for me
- Good lights

YBR Mon 04-Jan-16 13:20:09

Start with locks, waterproofs then lights, HiVis (if cycling in dark or at dusk/dawn). Essentials are (for me) to do with being safe, legal and secure.

It's not essential to have special cloting, but after a while, when you know what will suit, you might get specific warm or padded clothing e.g. gloves, hats, shorts. (I use those tubular buff things as scarf/hat under cycle helmet because it isn't bulky). It might also take a little experience to know what you want by way of bottles, special shoes/pedals, panniers, saddle bags and maybe a bike computer (smartphone and GPS-based app may well be better).

givemushypeasachance Mon 04-Jan-16 13:25:18

If you're a beginner to road cycling it would be worth finding a local independent bike shop and consulting with them; they can show you the kit 'in the flesh' as otherwise it can all get a bit mind-boggling on the websites.

Alicewasinwonderland Mon 04-Jan-16 13:52:36

thank you so much, I am frantically making notes of everything.

I don't want to go crazy and buy everything to start, but it looks that I need quite a lot!

whois Mon 04-Jan-16 13:58:29

Decent lock
Good lights

Padded shorts
Lightweight waterproof layer

Small under saddle bag for puncture repair kit etc
Pump that clips onto bike

whois Mon 04-Jan-16 13:59:00

Oh yeah and a buff over the ears is a godsend in winter

CMOTDibbler Mon 04-Jan-16 14:02:24

You don't need a lot, but theres lots of things that make life easier/better!

If, for now, you are going to ride short distances, in the light, and together then you don't need more than helmet and bike. As you go further, the next priority is shorts and chamois cream (because nothing puts people off more than a sore posterior). Then tyre repair/inner tubes etc.

JoffreyBaratheon Mon 04-Jan-16 14:04:28

Decent saddle makes all the difference. Maybe a voucher for the bike shop though so he can choose one himself. Stock saddles that come with bikes are rarely great. I swapped mine out for an old fashioned Brooks saddle (leather with copper rails) as weight of bike isn't an issue I care about but some people favour more contemporary saddles. If he searches bike forums he can finds threads where folk recommend.

Nothing stops the novice or returning cyclist sooner than a sore arse. Truly.

Leather ones takes a few hundred miles to break in but then I find them the most comfortable of all. I could ride my bike without padded shorts, etc, no problem. Newer style ones break in faster but won't last a lifetime.

Also bike bags. I have a small Carradice (canvas, again old fashioned) bag which again is so well made it should outlive you. Also some more modern panniers. Only need them for shopping but the small Carradice or similar you can attach to your saddle and we find them great for days out on the bikes together or with the kids, or even me alone - can fit in some snacks, spare drinks, and I also put in another bag if going to town so I can carry it round and use like a handbag. Some people have tiny bags behind the saddle or on handlebars for repair kit/essentials.

Lights are essential. Not crap ones, either.

Check out Wiggle. They are cheap and have decent stuff.

JoffreyBaratheon Mon 04-Jan-16 14:05:45

Oh and drinks holder. Essential. Get shop to fit it as some frames not compatible with some holders.

JoffreyBaratheon Mon 04-Jan-16 14:08:36

Oh also bike lock - check the Solid Secure rating and that it is at least the minimum insurance requires. Otherwise if bike is nicked even with lock on, they won't pay out.

I favour Kryptonite locks.

babybat Mon 04-Jan-16 14:11:14

Get a little saddle bag (Decathlon do them for about a fiver) and pop in a spare inner tube, set of tyre levers, multitool, £20 and a CO2 inflator thingy with a cartridge. Then you can forget all about it until you have a puncture in the middle of nowhere when you'll be very glad you had the foresight to put it together.

Gloves, a jersey and some DHB bib shorts would be my clothing basics. Don't worry if you don't want to start riding with SPD (clipless) pedals just yet, but in the long run they can make a big difference if you're road cycling.

Assuming you're just cycling for leisure rather than commuting you won't need the full kit and caboodle straight away, but some compact fit and forget lights (like Lezyne Femto ones) would be a good idea as it's still getting dark quite early in the winter.

Long run it'd be worth investing in a Garmin - we use an Edge 800 mostly for the navigation side of things, but DH actually pays attention to the performance data. They're not cheap, though, so you might want to wait and see/drop hints.

Learn how to do the following basic maintenance - fix a flat tyre, fit a chain link if your chain breaks, oil the chain and replace your brake pads. Videos on YouTube will help. That way you'll never be stranded by the road side!

Happy cycling!

chrome100 Mon 04-Jan-16 14:13:41

You don't need spd pedals at all. I have cycled my whole life and do not use them, in fact - your feet are so much warmer in winter if you don't. I wear snow boots with neoprene overshoes. I am always warm.

Gloves are essential for the winter though and summer sometimes too as I get awful callouses.

catfordbetty Mon 04-Jan-16 16:56:19

I don't want to go crazy and buy everything to start, but it looks that I need quite a lot!

Actually no, you don't. A lot of utter guff has been spouted on this thread. Go to a cycle- friendly country - Holland or Denmark for example - and you will thousands of people cycling without any special equipment or clothing. You really don't need bloody bib shorts and clipless pedals to start cycling!

redstrawberry10 Mon 04-Jan-16 17:38:59

I commute cycle in London, but will take transport if it's raining or unpleasant.

So, for me it's helmet, lights, and hi vis coat. I think it's essential to stay visible.

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