Walk into any bike shop and chances are you’ll have one of two reactions: either you want to buy EVERYTHING, or you want to get the hell out of there as fast as you possibly can.
Both are normal responses, but neither will do you any favours!
There’s an incredible amount of gear available out there. When you’re just getting started, you don’t need to go for top of the line for everything, and you definitely don’t need to get one of every piece of equipment.
Let’s start with the basics.
You need a lock.
If you’re planning on leaving your bike anywhere that’s not locked up in your home, you need a lock. This is a piece of equipment that you really get what you pay for, too. Cheap ones are easily dealt with by anyone who really wants your bike or wheels. Invest in a good, high quality lock. The best ones will stand up to even the most violent assaults, short of someone wielding a power tool, so it’s worth spending extra here.
You can expect to spend $150 or $200 for a great lock. It might seem pretty steep, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than having to get a taxi home and replace your bike.
You’ll want some baggage.
The kind of luggage you will want really depends on the riding you’re doing. If you’re commuting or just getting around town, you’ll probably do just fine with a satchel or backpack. However, it can get unwieldy and uncomfortable on the days when you have heaps of gear.
If you’re doing longer rides, or regularly have heavy stuff, it’s better to get a rack and panniers so you can just strap everything to the bike and let it take all the weight.
If you’re off-roading, you definitely want a rucksack. It needs to be small and compact. It should fit a CamelBak, some sunscreen and maybe a replacement t-shirt, but that’s it.
In order to prevent getting absolutely soaked if it rains, you’ll need to get some mudguards. Most bikes don’t come with them, as they don’t look very slick, but if you’re planning on all-weather riding, you will instantly regret not having them.
This is particularly true if you live in wet climates and get rain year-round. Believe me – it’s not worth the constant dampness.
Lights & Pumps
If you’re riding at night, you need a light. And let’s face it – you never know when you’re going to end up out and about after dark. Having a light both illuminates the road ahead of you and makes you visible. Bright LEDs are always a good option.
And when it comes to pumps, you never know when you’ll get a flat. Just best to be prepared.