An article that suggests pieces of kit that a beginner cyclist should own.
You might think the only piece of kit you need for cycling is a bike, which is certainly true up to a point. However, if you want to keep your bike in good working order and to ensure that you stay safe and comfortable whilst riding your bike, there are a few other pieces of kit which are likely to come in handy. If you've just decided to take up cycling and you don't yet own a bike, your first priority obviously has to be to purchase one. Once you have a bike, you can then set about purchasing other pieces of equipment, of which there are plenty to choose from.
One of your main concerns when taking up cycling has to be safety. Thus, when considering what kit you need when riding your bike, it is worth looking at equipment and clothing that will help to make you visible to other road users and that will protect you in the event of an accident. In terms of equipment you can fit to your bike, lights are a necessity, so that you can see where you are going and so that you can also be seen. It is definitely worth purchasing a decent set of lights, rather than the cheapest available, so that you know they aren't suddenly going to die on you.
As well as fitting lights to your bike, it is also a good idea to wear clothes that make you stand out, and so you might want to consider purchasing a reflective cycling jacket and perhaps wearing reflective leg bands, so that you can be seen by others. However careful you are though, there is always the chance that you could ride over a pothole and come off your bike or get into an accident, and so it is vital that you wear a helmet. There are those who maintain that wearing a helmet simply increases the likelihood of getting into an accident in the first place, but surely it is better that if you do come off your bike the helmet takes the full force of the impact, rather than your head.
Not only is safety of importance when riding your bike; you also want to be able to feel comfortable. You should therefore buy a pair of cycling shorts or tights that are close-fitting to ensure you have padding where you need it and so the material doesn't flap in the breeze and get caught in the chain. You may also decide to purchase short- and long-sleeved cycling jerseys, base layers, a jacket, overshoes and anything which will help you to stay warm or cool, depending on the temperature outside.
If your bike is not already fitted with one, a bottle cage is worth having, as you don't want to find yourself miles away from home, dehydrated and with no energy. By fitting a bottle cage to your bike, you will be able to take some water with you or a specially formulated sports drink that will give you some energy and help you to keep cycling for longer.
Besides safety and comfort, you want to know that your bike isn't going to fall to pieces within a year and become impossible to ride. You therefore have to look after your bike. The most basic kit you will need is a puncture repair kit and a pump. It is important to keep your tyres inflated, as otherwise you could suffer a pinch puncture when you least want one. It may seem like a hassle to have to take a pump and puncture repair kit with you on every ride, but you will be grateful that you have got them with you when you find yourself with a puncture!
You might also find it useful to purchase a basic bike maintenance kit that will provide you with tyre levers and a range of other tools that will help you tighten up bolts, adjust your spokes and remove links from your chain. If you're not very confident when it comes to bike maintenance, you could always take your bike to be serviced regularly at your local bike store.
When taking up cycling, it is possible to be overwhelmed by the amount of choice there is when it comes to bike kit. However, when you're just starting out, you don't really need that much kit, as long as you have a bike and a few other pieces that will help to keep you safe and comfortable whilst riding, so that you will want to keep on cycling.