This post is about tips on buying cycling essentials.
As you may have read, I bought three bicycles this year, and I have picked up cycling as my main way to exercise.
I cycle alone, and I don’t join any cycling groups. I do it to sweat, but I have to admit, I am enjoying it and have since updated my cycling journey on twitter using my #Bike4Ril hashtag.
Anyway, this post is not about updates on my cycling adventure, but rather what I’ve learned along the way. I am not an expert in this field, and I am still learning.
I will update this post from time to time as I learn new things and I hope what i am sharing here will help those of you who are keen to take up cycling.
I placed this post under shopping because most of the things here are based on my experience buying something for my cycling.
I’d like to break the shopping list here into two, namely things you must have when cycling, and accessories you can not have.
The items you must have are either required for a comfortable ride, or is required by law.
ITEMS YOU MUST HAVE WHEN CYCLING
In this tips on buying cycling essentials, I list down items you must have when cycling because it is either needed when cycling, or is required by the law.
There is nothing more important in tips on cycling essentials than a bicycle.
You can read this post on how I ended buying the bicycle below and why I actually had to buy three different bicycles before I eventually settled.
That said, my biggest tips would be that you buy a bicycle you are comfortable with because buying and selling bicycles is a waste. The best would be to buy a bicycle you like physically, and then you can upgrade as you cycle.
Be sure you the bicycle frame you buy is either made by carbon fibre or alloy as these two materials are light. It may cost a bit more (especially carbon fibre), but it a light bicycle gives you better cycling experience.
There’s plenty of bicycles on Shopee, but if you have trust issues like me, buying a bicycle in a local store will be highly recommended.
Another tips on cycling essentials I’ve learned is that you must own a helmet.
While is helmet is mandatory if you cycle on Malaysian roads, it is also important to save your life.
Therefore, I bought a cycling helmet I thought looked rather cool.
No harm in that.
Just that, after I’ve surveyed around, I realized that there are bicycle helmets with visors, which look so much cooler! A visor also means insects or dusct won’t easily get in the eye when I cycle.
I want to buy such helmet, but since I’ve already bought mine, I’d have to wait for a bit.
Also, I would advice you to properly measure your head circumference to get the correct size for your bicycle helmet because unlike motorcycling helmets, bicycle helmets that are oversized or undersized, can be uncomfortable and dangerous.
On top of that, pay attention to the weight of the helmets and how air will flow when you cycle so that your head doesn’t feel too heavy when cycling, and your head gets enough breeze as well.
Padded cycling shorts / cycling underwear
Padded shorts, pants or underwear are essential when cycling because they reduce pressure points, prevent chafing and disperse road vibration when cycling.
I prefer padded shorts to padded underwear because padded shorts can be worn immediately without any external shorts or clothing. Padded underwear on the other hand will require you to wear another layer of short on the outside. When buying such shorts or underwear, it is important to look into what kind of pad is used and also the sizes of the shorts. I’d recommend the ones with gel pads as they are more comfortable.
Cycling LED warning lights
Warning lights are important when cycling especially at night because it indicates you are on the road. The best LED lights are the ones that are light and able to function regardless of weather. These lights are mandatory if you are cycling on Malaysian roads.
Warning lights are usually placed at the back of the bike and usually emit red lights.
If you aren’t one of those people who like to add additional things on your bike’s body, you can consider this saddle I found which integrates the warning light into the saddle.
I find it quite neat and ordered one for myself.
ITEMS YOU CAN HAVE WHEN CYCLING
In this section of tips on buying cycling essentials, I list items that aren’t essential/important, but it will make your cycling experience better and more refined.
Ergonomic bicycle seat / saddle
An ergonomic bicycle seat or saddle will help in reducing discomfort when cycling. There’s a lot of sizes and shapes of a bicycle saddle, so finding one that will be able to comfort you will be important.
I can’t comment much on how to choose a saddle since it will be down to preference and how you ride your bicycle.
Cycling jerseys aren’t really important to be honest. I have a few, but I rarely wear them since I have quick dry singlets which are more comfortable.
However if you want to look extra stylish, and you don’t have any quick dry shirts lying around, you can consider cycling jerseys. For those looking to travel far from home, perhaps a pair would be good since they do offer extra pockets at the back to store light items. No major tips for looking for a cycling jersey except ensuring it’s quick dry and fits nicely on your body.
I personally think a saddle bag is important if you plan to go cycling, particularly if you are looking to cycle far from home. A bag on itself allows you to carry basic items like your wallet, basic repair tools and store your handphone.
As the name suggest, a saddle bag is a bag attached to the saddle of the bicycle. While there’s many places to attach a bag on the bicycle, having one at the back of the saddle is not only less intrusive when cycling. When choosing, be sure to make sure it has enough compartments and can fit your handphone.
If you have a good grip, then you can ignore buying a bicycle glove. However, I would still recommend them because it would be something worthwhile when you happen to get into an accident apart from adding extra comfort when riding.
This is particularly important for those who sweat a lot like myself.
When buying, make sure you buy gloves that have proper padding to ensure comfort when using. Also, do take into consideration the glove size as an overgrown or extremely tight glove will not be comfortable.
Mini bicycle pump
I never really thought a mini bicycle pump would be important, but I realized of its importance after my tire popped during one of my rides.
My advice is to get a light small one which will help you do simple repairs just good enough to return home.
Like the Mini bicycle pump, I also didn’t realize the importance of having a spare tire/tube during my cycling. I figured that I only cycle nearby and do not need to carry extra weight.
However, I recently ‘popped’ my tire on one of my rides, and had to call for a pick up since it was late in the evening and I was about 10KM away from home. If I had a space tire, with a bicycle pump, I could repair it there and then without asking for help.