So you've brought the bike, you're hitting the trails and streets, you're riding. Now it's time get accessorised.
Having the right accessories means you are able to transform your bike into something a little bit more than how it came in the box. The ability to transport your bike to new terrain, the ability to fix your own simple repairs when needed, the ability to have confidence to get almost anywhere at any time - in comfort and safety.
But where to begin? There are a lot of choices out there, so we have put together a few of the handy, and some of the must haves. Next time you're in the saddle you are going to be prepared for any eventuation mother nature, or life, may throw at you. Like everything else in the bike world, bike accessories have evolved brilliantly over the last years, so let's get accessorised!
If you're not quite so lucky to have trails right on your back doorstep, then there's high chances you'll need a bike rack your bike to your ride locations. There are two main racking methods, the towbar racking system and roof rack mounts.
Towbar mounts are easy to install, they simply fit on your existing towbar, having two bolts to tighten up to hold in place. This is a relatively cheap and an easy method to transport multiple bikes. There is commonly a two bike and four bike option. The only downside is if you have a station wagon you can't open the boot while the bikes are mounted, so make sure you have everything you need from the boot before you mount your bikes for the trip.
Other options are boot mounted rack options for cars with no existing towbar, and tailgate protectors. These handy protectors lay over your tailgate on utes and allow you to rest your bike along the gate with the front wheel hanging off the back - a great option if you have a ute. Being able to travel with your bike opens up a huge amount of options, so get strapped in, locked down, and hit the road.
The if your riding anywhere at night, bike lights are an absolute must. Not only do they let you see; more importantly, they let people see you. There is a huge range of bike lights available in the market catering for every need and price point. Let's take a look at some common light set ups, and what you'll need for various riding conditions.
First off are common commuter lights. These are often sold as pairs - a white light for the front and a red for the rear. They can be picked up reasonably cheaply and are super easy to fit - usually just a clip or flexi strap so they can detach and be taken with you if you're locking your bike. The majority of these lights have various flashing on/off functions and quickly recharge via USB. Lumen output in this range is usually 100-200, providing enough illumination for lighted areas, perfect for urban commuters.
In the mid-range, you'll pay a little more, but the lumens for front lights move up to 400-600. This provides much more visibility, great for semi lit areas when there is less street light available, or just when you want to see more up front and be seen from further away.
If you're thinking of hitting the single trails at night, you'll need a powerful set up in the 1000+ lumen range. These lights have external batteries and usually some form of remote for adjusting brightness. You'll likely want a handle bar mounted light plus a helmet light. Once you get this set up dialled it opens a whole new world of night riding, usually with almost nobody around! The key to trail riding at night is managing your battery life, go in low and increase brightness when needed as your eyes adjust. A good tip is keep one light on low to preserve batteries, and carry a spare light at all times for emergencies.
Another for the must have category. Riding with the right air pressure for the conditions can make a lot of difference, especially on long rides. And let's face it, like it or not, at some point you're going to get a flat. There is more than one way to pump a tire though. Pumps can be broken down into two main categories, the hand the hand held variety and the more effective floor pump.
The floor pump is more powerful, easier to use and takes less time to pump up a tire. These are bulky pumps though and are more suited to the garage or in the back of the car.
Hand held pumps on the other hand come in a variety of shapes, sizes and quality. The good thing with these is you can take them on your ride easily in your pocket or pack. They take a bit more effort and time but are a life saver when a flat hits.
If you want something really quick and easy grab a couple of CO2 canister's and a small valve adaptor and you're good to go in a matter of seconds. A good tip for this method is to practice once on a tire before you need to do it on the track or road. You only get one chance with CO2, so make it count.
Pedals, Pedals, Pedals
Another big must have; you won't get far without them. You're either into flats or click ins and both do the job adequately well. If you're a roadie click ins are the norm, they connect you to the pedal for maximum drive. When you're on the trails and riding MTB, flats can work a lot better as you can easy slip your foot off the pedal when sliding it out or getting low around some corners.
These are one of the handiest pieces of gear you can carry on your bike. They are small, easy to carry, and have the variety of tool sizes you need to fix almost anything. Multi-tools are great for safety checking your bike before a ride by going over and tightening any parts of the bike that need attention or could have worked themselves loose on your last ride.
They generally have all the sizes of Hex keys, flathead and phillips screwdrivers you need, plus some have a built in valve for gas canisters when fixing punctures. Multi- tools can be slipped into your jacket pocket or stashed in your bike kit and are invaluable when you?re off on a ride. Get one and pack it!
These are a bit of a must for people who don't have heavily calloused hands from riding bikes every day. They make a long ride much more comfortable, protecting the hand from wear against your bars and brakes. Gloves also keep your hands warm, maintaining the ability to use your fingers even on the coldest mornings and nights.
They also offer protection for the inevitable times that you will come off your bike, a gloved hand will fear much better on a road or rough surface the meat on your palm will, so make sure you have a pair on hand for your next ride.
Keeping hydrated on your bike, particularly on long rides is really important. Getting dehydrated when you're still miles from home is not going to be a pleasant experience, whichever way you look at.
Keeping hydrated on your bike is easy though, there are two main options to look at; water bottles stored in cages on the bike; or a hydration pack. These are backpacks with a water bladder built in, they have a tube running from the bladder up to the shoulder strap, where you can drink fluid from while riding. Most packs on the market have a bladder that holds 3L of fluid.
Being a backpack, it's also great for carrying other bits and pieces for your ride, puncture repair kits, pump, food and extra layers for when it gets cold or rains. Having a backpack is also super handy if you are taking along a camera or Go-pro to document your ride. A bike bottle in a cage usually stores up to 1L, so with a hydration pack you can carry more water than two bike bottles; great for those longer rides.
Hydration packs are built slim and small; the gear compartments average 10-15L (there are bigger available). This limited capacity helps you pack light and makes sure the bag doesn't move around on your back when riding. There are hip hydration pack options that come in even smaller, usually 1.5L of fluid and 4-6L for gear. These packs place the weight on the rider's hips rather than shoulders and are a great option for shorter rides.
Pop into one of our stores if you need any further advice from our friendly team members.
See You Out There.