Like with any hobby or mode of transport, being a cyclist doesn’t come cheap. The initial cost of buying a decent bike can be pretty high, but when you take into consideration all the peripherals and extra bits of gear you’re talking about extravagant prices. When you strip things down to the bare essentials you can focus on acquiring the things that you need to enjoy your hobby, without seeing the prices skyrocket.
Unlike some other cyclists and blogs out there, when I talk about the essentials, I mean the essentials. So, don’t expect to see any recommendations for Lycra bodysuits or clip-on bike shoes anywhere on this list of the essential pieces of bike gear that all cyclists need.
Water Bottle & Cage
While you might think that you can manage with a bottle in your backpack, a water bottle and cage are certainly an essential inclusion on any bike. It comes down to the simple reality that as you exert yourself, you need to be taking in more water. By having your water bottle right there on the body of your bike, you’re making sure that you can always access it for a quick drink, without having to dig through a bag.
I really shouldn’t have to state here that wearing a helmet when you’re riding a bike is the smart thing to do, but I’m still surprised at how many cyclists that I see out on the road without a helmet. Usually they’ll throw out some justification about how they feel self-conscious about wearing one (safety doesn’t have to be fashion conscious!) or how helmets don’t help to protect cyclists in the event of an accident because they will normally be killed by something other than a blow to the head – this simply isn’t true, and it doesn’t take into account the number of injuries and deaths that are prevented by wearing a helmet.
As I’ve said elsewhere on this website, please, please, please lock up your bike! Bike theft is a fairly common crime, and a decent bike lock doesn’t cost much at all. Unless you never plan to leave your bike unattended, this is most definitely an essential piece of kit.
Lights & Reflectors
Using a light on your bike is a legal requirement at night time, but it is also generally a good idea to have one on whenever conditions are poor. The reality of being a cyclist is that you are more openly exposed to harm if you are unfortunate to be caught in an accident, so increasing your visibility is a simple way to help protect yourself. The same goes for wearing a reflective armband or jacket – sure, they might not look stylish, but they can make the difference between someone seeing you or missing you entirely.