Bicycle Essentials – The Accessories Every Cyclist Needs

Guy on Bike

Numerous studies have shown that cycling is one of the most effective forms of exercise, especially for inner city commuters. Not only does regular cycling improve stamina and joint mobility, it can also reduce stress, increase cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility. Cycling also improves your posture, increases brainpower and reduces the chances for bowel and breast cancer – it basically helps you live longer. While cycling can give you a lot of benefits and fun, you simply can’t get the full experience without the basic accessories.

Must Have Bike Accessories

Bike Repair Kit

Bike Repair Kit

To keep your bicycle in shape, you need to have a set of tools with you both when riding and at home. Repair kits are the type of accessories cycle nerds put their faith in the most as they can get you out of a sticky situation. When it comes to on-bike kits, the list of tools is shorter but for a kit that you’ll use solely at home, the number of tools is greater.

An on-bike kit should consist of a spare tube, tire levers, a bike pump, spare tire, and a multi-tool. This is what you’ll need if you are going for a short ride, but if you are going to be out touring, in addition to that you will need to bring another spare tube, a first aid kit, some lubrication, a puncture repair kit, duct tape and zip ties.

Your home repair kit should include screwdrivers – flat heads and Phillips screwdrivers; sockets and wrenches (if you have an older bike); chain checker (this tools helps you find out when it’s time to swap your chain) and a bike stand. Some of these are accessories cycle pros use to do regular adjustments to their bikes and from which you can benefit too if you are a daily commuter.

Helmet

Bicycle Helmet

Australia has some of the strictest safety standards in the world and it’s no different when it comes to helmets. The Australian standard approval requires each particular model to meet the stringent requirements. But to get the best protection possible, go for a helmet with MIPS technology and one that comes with removable and washable paddings for added protection and comfort.

A helmet with good ventilation and aerodynamics should be smooth and feature a tail to reduce drag and have sufficient vents that will let the air go over your head to prevent you from overheating. The more expensive a helmet is, the lighter it will be – these are usually road specific helmets with thinner straps and a lighter shell. The shape of the shell plays a big role for ensuring a snug fit, but you also need adjustable tension systems which will allow you to adjust the helmet easily.

Pump

Cycle Pump

Pumping up a flat tire on the road has become very easy today and there are only two bicycle accessories you can choose from. The compactness of both solutions is what usually makes cyclists decide to bring both of them.

Hand pumps are the first portable version of the standing T-shaped bicycle pump which offers unlimited air and a simple operation. But they are slower than their gas filled counterparts and require a lot more work to pump a tire which sometimes may not reach full PSI.

CO2 inflators are equipped with a CO2 filled cartridge and an inflator head which dispenses the carbon dioxide. CO2 inflators are even smaller and lighter than a hand pump whilst requiring less effort and time to inflate a tire.

Lights

Cycle Light

There are lights that are meant to illuminate a dark road and others meant to make you visible. For the first type of bicycle accessories, look for a narrow beam angle so you can be able to see further away form you and for the latter, consider a wide beam and features such as side illumination and smaller batteries.

Australian road rules are also something you need to consider. According to the law, you need a bright white light at night (steady or flashing) on the front and a red light (steady of flashing) and reflector on the back. Both the front and the back light need to be visible from 200m with the reflector being visible from 50m whether you have them to see or to be seen. Lumens play a big role in the brightness of a light and the greater the digit the brighter the light. There are bicycle lights with as little as 30lm and as much as 2000lm and even more.

Lock

Bike Lock

Bikelocks come in all shapes and sizes, but the most important thing to look for is the Sold Secure rating. This rating shows how secure a bike lock is, or how much tampering it can withstand. A bronze rated lock can resist a minute with basic tools, a silver rated lock can withstand three minutes with a wider selection of tools being used and the gold rating allows the lock to last for five minutes with the use of sophisticated tools. I think you know which one you should go with.

Bells

Bicycle Bell

The size, mountability and loudness are important for an effective, compact and versatile bell. To put it shortly, go for a bell that won’t occupy too much space on your handlebars, make sure it’s loud enough to be heard in busy traffic and make sure it fits a variety of bar diameters.

Mirrors

Bike Mirror

You may think that mirrors are quite simple in regards to how they work but there are various types, from the basic handlebar mirrors, to helmet mirrors and ones that mount on the lens of your eyeglasses.

The lens are what you should be focusing on the most as this is what provides you with the view out back. Flat mirrors can give you a more distant view, meaning the ability to see further behind while convex mirrors provides a wider field of view but a distorted one too. This can make it tricky to identify the distance between you and a vehicle.

The shape of the mirrors also plays a role in how much you’ll be able to see. Round mirrors, although quite popular nowadays, actually provide the smallest field of view, but they are also the lightest. Rectangular mirrors provide the largest field of view and consequently are the biggest while oval mirrors are a middle ground solution which can provide a wider filed of view than round mirrors but are nor as big as the rectangular ones.

Where to Buy Bike Accessories?

Guy on Bicycle

Bike accessories can be bought both in brick and mortar stores and online. Although in a physical store you can inspect the accessories on your own, nowadays there are reliable e-commerce sites that provide you with enough information about a product’s dimensions and specifications so you can easily get your hands on the right part.

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