Our Girl on a Bike Blog continues with Part 2, Bike Equipment. The Girl on a Bike Blog aims to encouraging more women to cycle
As part of Navan Bike Fest, we are delighted to bring you ‘Girl on a Bike’, a new series of blog posts from Navan Cycling Initiative member Asia Gurtman which will run throughout Bike Week, which runs from 12-18 September (see the introduction here)
When it comes to bike equipment, the first big step is to always ensure your bike is secure with a proper lock. The rest is just like an easy downhill. So, let’s decide on the equipment now.
Whether you still have a budget within your Cycle to Work scheme or not (which was discussed in the previous post), some equipment is essential to keep you safe on the road, and some is just handy to have. Thankfully, the wide variety of available equipment is amazing, and everyone should be able to find something suitable.
I suppose, the best way is to get what is essential first, and over time you will find out what you additionally need.
Since I got my bike, I rarely use my car. It’s much easier and more enjoyable to hop on the bike, even when I need to get something from the shops. Most places would have a bike stands installed, in some you can use the steel fence that is in front or beside the shop, but please check with the store staff if it is ok to use it. Always ensure that you lock your bike to a solid object that is in a well-lit and high foot traffic area with a secure lock. Additionally, please take few pictures of your bike. Take a picture of your bike serial number that is located under the bottom bracket where the two pedal cranks come together and register your bike at Bikeregister.com/ie.
That means safety. I can’t emphasise strongly enough how important is get a good helmet. I remember when I got on my bike for the first time, and as I was passing the windows display, I saw my reflection, and I was so delighted to see myself. I thought, ‘wow, I look like a real cyclist!’ Safety standards in helmets have increased over the last few years and manufacturers now must provide a safety certificate. Please check that before deciding which helmet to buy.
Lights would be the second thing I would consider an essential. Bikes will have reflectors included, but regardless of that, a good set of bike lights is a must, and a legal requirement when it is dark, especially with the weather being so unpredictable here in Ireland. It is another thing can do to make yourself safer. It is worth checking the number of lumens (descriptor for the brightness level) and battery life before making decision.
Another essential accessory (and legal requirement) of the bike is a bell and it should be used as a warning signal. Try to ring in advance, so that you don’t scare the pedestrians or other cyclists. This way you will have enough time to create a safe space and avoid any potential collision.
Water Bottle and Bottle Holder
It is important to stay hydrated during your trip. A water bottle and bottle holder can be purchased as a set. Please ensure that they are mounted to bike within easy reach when you are cycling. Sip on the water or the electrolyte drink throughout your cycling session and stay hydrated.
Maintenance / Tools Kit
It’s good to have a small set of tools in the house that can help with little things like adjusting the bike seat, or if you need to loosen or tighten something. Some of the bike kits include a puncture repair set, which is important to have with you when going for a trip outside of town. Looking after your bike will guarantee you a safer cycling experience, and please keep an eye out for the any signs that your bike might need attention! I strongly recommend a full service every 12 months with a minor check-up at the start of each season.
Its always good to have little things with you when you are going for a cycle. Things like your phone, some pocket change, energy bars or in my case Haribo, tissues, face mask, etc. You can purchase the bag that can be fitted to your bike in a bike store or use the one that you have already. I found using my old waist bag for a short trip is a great option, I can wear it around my waist or tie around my rear rack for a better comfort. Bungee cords are an excellent solution if you want to attach your backpack or yoga mat.
I wasn’t sure whether I should include the glasses under bike equipment or here, under cycling gear. Opinion on whether cycling glasses are essential is divided. I am in a group that believes that it is safer to cycle wearing them. They will not only protect your eyes from the sun, but also keep road debris, wind and bugs out of your eyes.
Reflective / High visibility clothing
It is important to stay safe and have fun while riding your bike. When you are deciding on what to wear during the day for cycling, it’s best to go for a neon colour and reflective materials. Many shops including shops with school supplies would have reflective strips, that can be placed on your helmet, or on a frame of your bike. This will increase your visibility on a road.
There’s no doubt that proper cycling shoes will give you a different experience and better comfort, but you can start your cycling adventure with the regular sneakers that you own already. What is important that they are closed toes type as it is very easy for a foot to slip off the pedal. Choose a pair with good traction and ensure that laces are tucked away.
To increase your own safety, consider getting a pair of gloves. When it is raining handlebars get very slippery, and it is much safer to cycle wearing gloves. Also, when it is very warm, and your hands might be getting sweaty. I use my gym gloves; they have additional padding, and they are perfect for spring, summer and autumn weather. I will need to get a pair for winter season, and I don’t see my running gloves giving me enough support.
Tip: If you are buying a new bike, the shop might give you some equipment free, as a part of a deal. It’s always worth to check that 😉
View the other posts from the Girl on a Bike Blog Series below:
- How to Get a Bike
- Bike Equipment – what is essential and what is good to have
- Cycling Etiquette – Safety on Cycling Lanes and on the Road
- Cycling routes around Navan area with coffee places that are cycling friendly 😉
Keep an eye out for each of the above blog posts coming over each day of Bike Week, which runs from the 12-18 of September, and see more on our main Navan Bike Fest page.