by Chris Weiss
Though a bike is a large, expensive purchase, you should still spend a little extra money on bike parts and accessories. Assess your needs and get all the essential gear you need for road or trail cycling. Here are some of the items that will help you when bicycling.
Purchase a bike helmet. Safety should be your first concern, and the best way to stay safe on a bike is with a helmet. Only a helmet designed for biking and that meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards will properly protect you.
Consider purchasing bike-specific clothing. Cycling clothing wicks moisture away from your body, keeps you cool, and protects you from chafing and saddle sores. Consider either bike shorts with an interior padding insert or cycling bibs, which are like fitted shorts with suspender straps instead of a waistband. Also consider purchasing a bike jersey and socks.
In addition to your main clothing, don't forget functional accessories like sunglasses, gloves, and shoes. If you want to use a clipless system to connect your shoes to the pedals, be sure that the bike is equipped with clipless pedals and match the shoes to the pedals.
Purchase a tool kit. You'll want to take certain tools on the road, such as a tire repair kit, portable bicycle pump, chain tool, spoke wrench, and allen wrenches. Keep yourself prepared for emergency repairs by having the proper bike parts and accessories on hand.
Purchase a saddlebag or bike pack. You'll need a place to store your tools and other items that you take on the road, so be sure that you have a pack of some form. Closely fit the pack to your bike to make sure that it is compatible with the frame design.
Remember a water bottle cage or hydration pack. Hydration packs store more water and are a good option for long rides, but some prefer not to carry anything on their body. Check the bike for cage mounts and purchase several if the bike will accommodate them. It's better to have extra water than not enough.
Purchase electronics. Consider whether you need a bicycle computer, bike GPS, or lighting system. If you intend to ride at night, be sure that your bike is properly visible.
Assess the bike itself and determine if there are any parts that are uncomfortable or in need of upgrading. Common parts to change include the saddle, handle grips, and pedals. You may also want to add bar ends to provide better riding position.
Purchase a car rack. If you intend to ride in areas that you'll need to travel to by vehicle, be sure to fit your vehicle with a bicycle rack. Shop by the make and model of your car and choose from hitch, roof, or trunk racks.
Buy a bike lock. If you'll be riding and leaving your bike for extended periods of time, be sure to purchase a sturdy bike lock. "U" and "O" locks are among the most durable, but check out the area where you'll lock the bike to see what type of lock will work. You may need to use two locks to lock both of the wheels and the frame.