Riding on the road should be lightweight, but if you are aiming at experiencing a great bike ride, there are a few things to consider regarding the cycling equipment you bring along. Here’s a quick snap-shot of the stuff I usually carry with me.
My Cycling Equipment
(1) Jersey (Castelli Aero Race 4.1) – you don’t expect to ride naked, but choosing the right jersey could have a significant impact on the comfort of your ride, and therefore, the whole riding experience and enjoyment. Things to consider: quality and type of fabric, stitch placement, but also how it fits you while on a bike. The last one is crucial, because, of course, you won’t be wearing your jersey standing up.
(2) Shorts (Specialized RBX Sport Shorts) – even more than the jersey, the first thing to consider here is the comfort. Trust me, you don’t want “your boys” to have anything less than the best when sitting on a saddle for hours. The padding should be nice and soft, and you should definitely look for fold-over leg cuff with silicone print to prevent pinching and discomfort when pedaling.
(3) Helmet (Abus Game Changer) – Helmet is the crucial part of cycling equipment. I don’t even sit on my bike without the helmet on, and I strongly advise you do the same. I didn’t check the general statistics, but most of my accidents on the bike happened while starting, stopping, or just standing in place (not riding). When choosing your helmet, you should also look for comfort first. Try it out in the store, and if it doesn’t feel like you’ve put a soft pillow on your head – don’t buy it.
(4) Glasses (Bliz Active Motion) – eyewear is also mandatory for two reasons. First one is safety (for your eyes), and the other one is also safety, but for others, because it will affect the way you drive – your concentration and the ability to see things. There’s no worst feeling than riding 50 km/h while wind and bugs hitting your eyes and no better feeling than just enjoying the ride and focusing on the road in front of you.
(5) Shoes (Shimano RP300) – since I assume you ride clip-less, you’ll need special shoes. A right shoe should be fixed on your foot, not wobbling around. If for some reason you use flats, look for something that places your ankles in a fixed position.
(6) GPS (Garmin Edge 820) – you’ll survive without it, but a suitable GPS device will give you a chance to get the most of your rides. Apart from telemetry and orientation, good GPS devices on the market have some neat safety features like automatic emergency calls when crashing, tracking features, ability to pair them with an external sensor for incoming cars and so on.
(7, 8, 9) Sensors (speed, heart rate, cadence) – a GPS device will track your position the same as your mobile phone, only more precise. Once you paid a couple of hundred Euros for the device, it just makes sense to make the most of it. That’s where additional sensors come in. A dedicated speed sensor on your wheel will keep track of your precise speed, an HR sensor around your chest will measure your heart rate, while the cadence sensor on the pedal, will know the exact number of times you turned the pedal.
(10) Bone conduction headphones (AfterShokz Trekz Titanium wireless) – If you’re using in-ear headphones while riding – don’t. Not being able to hear the traffic and other riders around you could be extremely dangerous. Luckily, there’s a new technology emerging, that can transfer the sound trough you cheekbones, leaving your ears wide open and alert for the sounds around you. Once you try them, you’ll never go back to ordinary headphones again.
(11) Camera (GoPro Hero 6) – if you want to make memories while riding, or record your rides onboard, you should definitely check out something like Garmin Vibe or GoPro series. If you don’t have the budget for a high end camera, there are always alternatives.
(12) Phone (iPhone X) – last but not least – a cell phone. Used only for music streaming, but also for photos and emergency calls (not GPS which can significantly drain the battery), a phone can just add extra oomph, or be a life saver. Just make sure it’s water resistant, or bring an extra nylon zipper bag (IKEA has them).
So there you go – if there were one word to describe all the cycling equipment to bring on your ride, it would be the comfort. Road bike rides tend to be long, and you want to get as comfortable as you can to enjoy your trip the most.
One More Thing!
Always bring water! I didn’t put it on the list, because a bottle of fresh water should be a part of your bike – just like wheels, saddle, and pedals. The same thing goes for a small multitool.
Enjoy your ride!