Do you want to try your hand at road biking? Tired of the same old, same old when it comes to getting some exercise in? Even if you’re a long-term cyclist, sometimes it’s just nice to change up your routine a bit. Sometimes, all you need is a new perspective – or in this case, a new set of wheels.
Road biking is an excellent way to see the world around you in a whole new light. Not only is it great exercise, but it’s also a fantastic way to explore new places. But before you hit the open road, there are a few things you’re going to need. While it’s mostly seen as a recreational activity, road biking is still a sport that requires proper gear and equipment.
What Accessories Do You Need for Road Biking?
Since this sport mainly involves riding on pavement and smooth surfaces, it’s not exactly a strenuous activity like, say, mountain biking. But even though it’s not as intense, you can make the whole experience much more enjoyable and relaxing by being properly outfitted.
Road Bike Shoes
As perhaps the crucial point of contact between you and your bike, hardwearing and comfortable road bike shoes can make all the difference. They’re designed to be lightweight and stiff, which maximises power transfer from your legs to the pedals. Their rigid build also helps to keep your feet in the ideal position on the pedals, which can help prevent cramping and fatigue.
But despite their more robust design, they may appear as fragile to the untrained eye. In reality, however, they’re just very specific in their function and need to be treated as such. While they truly are a bit more delicate than your average sneaker in terms of appearance, this specific design is what allows them to be so effective.
With that said, there are several features you should look for in a pair of shoes for road bikes. For starters, the cleats are the small metal plates on the bottom of your shoes that clip into your pedals and keep your feet in place while you ride. It’s far too easy for your feet to move around while you’re pedalling, and cleats help to prevent any unwanted movement.
The other key feature to look for is a fastening mechanism. This refers to the system that’s used to keep your shoes securely fastened to your feet while you’re riding. The most common types are velcro and ratcheting straps. The former is typically found on entry-level shoes and is perfectly adequate for most riders. The latter is usually seen on higher-end models and provides a more secure and comfortable fit.
Just like with any other type of cycling, safety should always be your top priority. Accidents can happen at any time, and it’s important to be prepared. Having the most vital body part exposed and susceptible to injury is simply not worth the risk, no matter how experienced of a rider you may be.
Your helmet should fit snugly and comfortably on your head, without being too tight. It should also sit level, directly above your eyebrows. And while you may be tempted to buy a used helmet to save some money, it’s probably not the best idea. You can’t know for sure how the previous owner took care of it, and a helmet is one piece of gear that you really don’t want to skimp on.
Road biking clothing much like the appropriate road cycling shoes is designed to be form-fitting in order to minimise drag and maximise efficiency. It provides proper ventilation to keep you cool and dry while you ride, and it’s also quite stretchy to allow for a full range of motion.
If you’re riding in colder weather, you may want to invest in some thermal clothing as well. This will help to keep you warm without making you sweat, which can be a difficult balance to strike. Most thermal clothing is made from Merino wool, which is an excellent material for regulating body temperature.
While not strictly necessary, sunglasses can be a great addition to your road biking gear. They protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays and keep bugs and debris out. If you consider the speed at which you’ll be moving, it’s easy to see how helpful this can be.
The size and fit of your sunglasses can have a huge impact on their effectiveness. They shouldn’t be too loose, as this can cause them to fall off while you’re riding. And they shouldn’t be too tight either, since they can easily become a distraction if you’re constantly sliding them down your nose.
Lights and Bells
If you’re planning on doing any road biking at night or in low-light conditions, then lights are an absolute necessity. They help to make you visible to other cyclists and traffic as well as provide some much-needed illumination.
Bells are also a good idea, especially if you’re riding in an urban area where there’s a lot of foot traffic. It’s quite common to run into pedestrians while you’re out on a ride, and a quick ring of your bell will let them know that you’re coming.
Mounts and Holders
In the digital world, there’s no shortage of options when choosing your cycling electronics, but the choice in itself means nothing if you don’t have a way to mount and hold them.
From basic handlebar-mounted options to more sophisticated systems that attach your devices to your frame or stem, you’ll need to decide what type of setup works best for you. You don’t exactly need the fanciest or most expensive option available, but it’s important to make sure that whatever you choose is compatible with your devices and will stay securely in place while you’re riding.
Last but not least, you’ll need a few basic maintenance tools to keep your bike in good working condition. A set of allen wrenches is a must, as they’re used for tightening and loosening almost all of the bolts on your bike.
You’ll also need a few other items, like a chain tool for repairing broken chains, tire levers for changing flats, and a pump for inflating tires. These are just the basics, but they’ll go a long way towards keeping your bike running smoothly.