Essential Equipment for New Cyclists
If you’ve recently made the decision to invest in a bicycle, then congratulations are in order – you’re now the proud owner of a machine that’ll get you from A to B, that’ll keep you in great shape, and that’ll provide you with hours of fun. To get the best from your new toy, however, you’ll need to put in some hours of practice. Moreover, you’ll need to be patient during the early stages – particularly if you haven’t ever ridden a bicycle before.
As well as this, however, you’ll also want to invest in a few extra contraptions that’ll make your life a little easier when you’re out on the road. Let’s take a brief look at a few of the most notable.
If you’re going out on Britain’s roads, or you’re going to be cycling through the many dirt tracks which run through her forests, then you’ll want to protect your head. Of the accidents that befall cyclists, the majority of fatal injuries are caused by blows to the head. This figure rises still further in incidents where a motorised vehicle is involved. While it isn’t the law that you protect your head, it’s strongly advisable.
If helmets are so crucial to ensuring safety, why aren’t they mandatory? Well, there’s an argument for personal freedom – but it’s one we don’t apply in the case of seat-belts in cars. If you’ve ever visited Amsterdam, or some similar European city, you might have noticed an abundance of bicycles, none of whose riders wear even the slightest bit of headgear. The health and environmental benefits of having a population that’s active and able to get around on their own steam, as it were, far outweigh the risks of having a few cyclists check into accident and emergency every so often.
It’s worth considering also that the pedestrianised landscape of central Amsterdam is quite far removed from the average road in Britain – and thus cyclists here are at greater risk of collisions with vehicles.
If you’re going to be out on the roads at night-time, then the visibility of your bicycle will play a crucial role in reducing the likelihood of a collision. To ensure that other road users can see you, a few reflective arm and leg bands will go a long way. You’ll also want to ensure that you’re able to see the road in front of you – and so an adjustable headlamp is a worthwhile purchase. If you’re often finishing (or starting) work under cover of darkness, then such items will go a long way toward preserving your safety.
Similarly, you’ll want a means of alerting other cyclists, road-users and pedestrians of your presence – and there are few more well-established means of doing that than with the help of a miniature bell. Clamp it onto your handlebars and forget about it.
If you’re going to be taking cycling seriously as a hobby, then you’ll want appropriate clothing. While it’s perfectly acceptable to get from place to place in your jeans, a skirt, or the trousers you wear to work, if you’re going to be cycling over longer distances you’ll want more comfortable attire. Proper cycling clothing is worthwhile for several reasons.
Firstly, it’ll ensure that you’re more comfortable in the saddle. Having your thighs repeatedly rub together for hours on end is a recipe for serious irritation and eventually an infection. Which is unpleasant.
Secondly, it’ll ensure aerodynamism. If you’re struggling in the saddle, then having a heavy pair of legwear flapping in the breeze is likely to make that struggle even more severe. Swap them out for something more streamlined.
Finally, a bright-yellow pair of cycling shorts will ensure that you’re as visible as possible. There’s a reason that attire of this sort is so garishly-coloured, and that’s to attract attention. This will help ensure that other road users are able to see you.
If you’re going to be cycling out in the countryside, then you’ll need a means of transporting your transport to where you’d like to ride it. There other types of bike carriers available too – you might attach your bike to a roof rack, or bundle it inside your boot for example.
If you’d like to avoid muddy tyre marks on your nice clean interior, or having to hold your breath every time you pass beneath a low bridge however, then a cheap towbar is a worthwhile purchase that’ll get your cycling career off to a promising start!