12 December 2022

The Top Gear for Cycling: Your Guide to Must-Have Road Bike Accessories

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There’s no better feeling than riding your bike down an open road, with the warm sun on your face. Before heading out on your next ride, there are some cycling essentials every cyclist needs to consider.
Whether you're a seasoned cyclist hopping on your road bike or getting in the saddle for the first time, everyone needs the right gear for cycling. For beginners and experts alike, it’s not just a matter of comfort on the road or trail — it’s also about safety. No matter where you are in your cycling journey, BicycleBlueBook.com will get you rolling in the right direction.
If you want to be a safe and well–prepared cyclist, gear checklists are the best place to start. This guide provides the ultimate checklist of essential cycling gear to ensure you have everything you need for your next ride, no matter the distance.

Must-Have Gear for Cycling

Cycling isn’t just a great form of exercise, it’s also great for your mental health. What’s also good for your mental health? Knowing you’re prepared for anything out on the road. Whether you’re commuting to work, exploring a new nature trail, or joining a friend for a lazy afternoon ride, make sure you have these bike essentials on hand. They’re a no-brainer for a safe and enjoyable ride!

Helmet

We know — this one is obvious. But it’s #1 on any list of essential biking equipment for a reason. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by a whopping 85 percent!
A wide range of sizes and padding densities are available for bicycle helmets, allowing for a snug and comfortable fit for each rider. Internal pads should be positioned in the helmet's front, rear, and sides wherever there is extra room for the cyclist's head. The pads need to be spread out uniformly inside the helmet to ensure comprehensive protection.
This is not like trying on a sweater that’s a little too big or small — your helmet must fit perfectly. If the helmet still doesn't seem snug after you've adjusted the pads and buckled the straps, try a different helmet. A correctly fitted and fastened helmet should be impossible to remove from the head without twisting or pulling.

Water Bottle

Drinking plenty of water is essential to staying hydrated and safe on the road. While dehydration can happen at any time throughout the year, it’s especially important to bring a water bottle during those hot and sweaty summer rides.
A bottle with a capacity of 21-26 ounces is ideal, though it depends on how long your ride will be. You'll find the vast majority of cycling bottles in this size range, making them compatible with most water bottle cages. While a lesser capacity will suffice for commuting or riding about town, cyclists should be aware of their total water capacity for longer journeys and consider bringing additional bottles if they anticipate difficulty obtaining water.
Dehydration on the road is more than feeling a little thirsty or weak — it can put you and those around you in danger. It can result in cramps, dizziness, and in severe cases, fainting. In addition to bringing enough water on your ride, it’s also important to know how to recognize the signs of dehydration.
While choosing a water bottle that matches your bike and personality is fun, all you really need is one that keeps you hydrated and is easy to use and access. Consider doubling up on bottles for your bike adventure and the ride home.

Snacks

While cycling, your body is the engine and like every engine, it needs fuel. One of the most important cycling must-haves is bringing proper nutrition on your ride. Ask yourself: Have you ever worked out without eating first? Not a great experience.
For cycling journeys that will last more than an hour, it’s essential to bring snacks and water to nourish your body and keep your strength up. The number of snacks you bring depends on the duration and intensity of your ride, so make sure to do some mental math before heading out the door. As a general rule of thumb, aim to consume between a minimum of 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour.
Without enough food to keep up your blood glucose levels, you'll feel depleted long before you reach your goal. But it goes much deeper than not hitting your cycling goals or experiencing inferior performance on the roads. Similar to dehydration, you can put your body at risk, experiencing dizziness or feeling faint.
So, next time you’re cycling, be sure to tuck your favorite super snacks into your jersey pockets. Your body will thank you.

Hand Pump

Anything can happen on the road, which is why a hand pump is always on our list of essential road bike accessories. Manual hand pumps, a more portable alternative to the standard T-shaped standing bicycle pump, are available in various sizes and price ranges. Many of them are bracket-mounted on the frame of the bicycle. Some options are small enough to easily store in a seat bag or a pocket. You can also find ones that come with mounts that you can attach next to your bottle cage.
These portable hand pumps are easy to use. Simply clip onto the valve's stem and get the pump going! For a smaller and less laborious option, consider a CO2 inflator instead. No matter which one you choose, it’s important to have a pump on hand so you don’t get stuck on the side of the road.

Chain Lube

Your chain is one of the hardest working components on your bike (other than you, of course). That means a higher risk of damage from wear and tear, as well as a higher demand for maintenance. But again — anything can happen on the road, and you never know when your bike might need a little extra TLC.
But with so many kinds out there, which one should you use? The short answer is: it depends on your bike and how you use it. Wet, dry, ceramic, and wax lubes are just a few of the varieties of lubes for bicycles. Synthetic oils and other friction-reducing additives like PTFE (Teflon) are the main components of most lubes; these are combined with evaporable carrier fluids. Waxed-based lubricants have recently surged in popularity among performance-oriented cyclists, partly due to the greater availability of independent testing data.
When lubing a bike chain, the oil must reach the chain's inner workings (among the rollers and pins). It's essential to thoroughly clean before applying any lubricant to ensure nothing gets stuck in there. Chain lube keeps your bike operating at peak performance, which keeps you at peak performance as well. So don’t skimp on chain maintenance and always bring backup chain lube on your rides.

Lights

Lights might be one of the most important things on this list of gear for cycling safety. Studies have shown that bike lights can reduce the risk of accidents by 30-50 percent during the daytime — so just imagine how much they reduce risk at night. Hopefully, this helps you see the light!
There’s a reason why lights are always on every list of must-have road bike accessories. You should always have at least two lights on your bike, one facing forward to light the way and another facing backward to make you more visible to oncoming traffic. Your headlights should be white, bright, and set to a solid beam so you can see any potential hazards ahead. The output of the most reliable daytime headlights is between 250 and 2,000 lumens.
Your taillight must be red and blinking to be seen by other drivers, but it need not be exceptionally bright. You can get away with a weaker rear light (50-100 lumens) when compared to your headlight. It doesn't have to improve your vision — it just has to be seen.
The bottom line is that no matter what setting your light is at (blinking or static) or how expensive it was, it’s worthless if it’s not visible to traffic. That means not only investing in a bright enough light, but that placement and maintenance are also a crucial part of road safety. Make sure your lights are placed directly in the middle of your handlebars and back of your bike, that they’re not drooping or pointing down towards the ground, and that their batteries don’t need to be replaced. Pro-tip: Anytime you’re about to head out on a ride (especially if riding at night), take 20 steps in front of and behind your bike to ensure the lights are clear and pointed in the right direction.

Gloves

Cycling is a great way to work up a sweat, which means those handlebars can get slippery real quick! That’s why we always recommend cycling gloves to keep your grip firm and strong, as well as offer a layer of protection if you take a little spill.
The benefits extend past being a great safety measure — they can also make your ride more comfortable. For example, padded palms on a pair of gloves help reduce fatigue by isolating your hands from vibrations transmitted from the bike and the handlebar. You can get thicker gloves for winter rides and light, airy gloves for summer cycling.
If you would rather not have any padding at all, there are plenty of gloves available with a plain, unpadded palm. Just keep in mind that these will only serve to absorb moisture from your hands, they won’t provide much defense in case of a fall. Sticking your hands out in front of you to break your fall is frequently an automatic response, and padded gloves can reduce the severity of any cuts or scrapes.

Locks

A reliable, heavy duty lock should be on any list of biking essentials. In fact, bicycle theft is one of the most frequently reported crimes in the U.S., with approximately 190,000 bike thefts reported each year. So don’t make it easy for the bad guys and get a lock for your bike.
But what kind of lock should you get? While it will depend on a variety of factors — like the size of your bike, how often you use it, what weather you typically cycle in, and your price range — there are some locks that are more secure than others. Here are the different types of bike locks available, ranked from least to most secure: cable locks, chain locks, folding locks, and U-locks.
When it comes to methods for unlocking your bike, you’ve typically got two options: combination vs. key locks. Which one you choose is up to you. For example, if you’re prone to losing things, go for the combination lock. But if you’re terrible at remembering combinations, a key lock might be better for you.

Repair Kit

A critical cycling need is to have the tools necessary to change a flat tire, patch a broken chain, or secure a loose bolt in the event that they break while you're out riding. The last thing you want is to end up with a damaged bike that you need to walk back home (and risk worsening the damage along the way).
The tools you require will depend on the terrain you'll be traveling on, the distance you'll be traveling, and your level of mechanical expertise. However, there are some basics that any well-prepared cyclist should have on hand:

Spare Tube

A critical cycling need is to have the tools necessary to change a flat tire, patch a broken chain, or secure a loose bolt in the event that they break while you're out riding. The last thing you want is to end up with a damaged bike that you need to walk back home (and risk worsening the damage along the way).

Tire Lever

A critical cycling need is to have the tools necessary to change a flat tire, patch a broken chain, or secure a loose bolt in the event that they break while you're out riding. The last thing you want is to end up with a damaged bike that you need to walk back home (and risk worsening the damage along the way).

Multi-tool

A critical cycling need is to have the tools necessary to change a flat tire, patch a broken chain, or secure a loose bolt in the event that they break while you're out riding. The last thing you want is to end up with a damaged bike that you need to walk back home (and risk worsening the damage along the way).

Get Your Next Bike at BicycleBlueBook.com

Once you have all your gear for cycling, make sure you have the most important thing — a high-quality bicycle. BicycleBlueBook.com is here to help you get the right bike at the right price.
A constant stream of data and in-depth depreciation algorithms keep our database actively updated. So, whether you're getting your first bike or trading up, you’ll know you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Check out BicycleBlueBook.com today to explore our available used bicycles for sale. Find your perfect bike today!
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The Top Gear for Cycling: Your Guide to Must-Have Road Bike Accessories