Now that more of us are getting immersed in the world of cycling for fun or to compete online (more on that later) here is a handy guide of items for the rookie roadie. After you’ve picked out your bike and set out on the road, you may not have realized there are a few more essential items out there to help your ride. Whether it’s just a fun ride or an intense workout, there are many things from nutrition to saddle comfort that can ease the long journey ahead.
If you’re already a cyclist, there still may be a few interesting items on this list for you to pursue. And about that online racing: if you have a trainer that connects to the internet, you may want to check out the cycling app Zwift and join a virtual race. It’ll get your blood pumping for sure and who doesn’t need a little competition right now to spice up the long days of summer?
Pro or amateur, these are the best road bike accessories you need right now.
1. CHAMOIS BUTT’R
This is a special item for those in the know. And for those who don’t: saddle sores are your biggest enemy, so take action against them before you head out on your bike. Chamois Cream or Butter is a non-greasy lubricant to prevent chafing. If you’re a runner, you understand those painful days. So don’t delay on this one, pick it up for under $10 and apply it before your ride. You’ll be happy you did.
2. TOPEAK AERO WEDGE VELCRO PACK
As saddle bags go, they are aerodynamic in design and fit neatly beneath your seat for the least amount of wind disturbance while you’re riding. They usually contain a Co2 cartridge, a tub, and a multitool, but you can stuff anything in there that doesn’t fit in the pocket of your jersey like extra gels or snacks. It will come in handy when you get a flat in the middle of nowhere and need to change your tire.
3. LED TURN-SIGNAL SAFETY VEST
Since technology is catching up, this cool vest lights you up at night and shows your direction as well as keeps you illuminated to other cyclists, runners and especially cars from up to 500 yards. This is a great item to have on hand and can be used in many ways. Running, camping or night fishing could call for this essential vest. It can be worn comfortably over your jersey but may block the pockets for easy access to snacks or extra water. This lightweight addition to your cycling kit will help keep you safe and visible at all times with a wireless remote that can be easily attached to your handlebars.
4. LUMOS SMART BIKE HELMET
Similar to the vest, this smart helmet indicates your direction with LED lights as well as your braking lights. There are ten white lights at the front of the helmet, thirty-eight on the rear, and three customizable flashing modes with an eight-hour battery life. If that isn’t too good to be true, it’s also half the price of regular cycling helmets. Crazy, right? The remote is also connected to your Apple Watch so when you gesture your direction, the lights will follow.
5. TIMBUK 2 PARKER COMMUTER BACKPACK
The essential backpack for cyclists out for a day trip or going into work, Timbuk 2 has created a sleek, stylish pack for everything you need. With three layers of constructed material on the outside, it is waterproof for those rainy day trips. With a secure pocket on the outside for easy access to your phone and a magnetic pocket for your keys, this backpack will keep you streamlined and ready to ride. There’s also a reflective mesh panel on the bottom so you’ll stay visible in traffic.
6. CAMELBAK PODIUM BIG CHILL WATER BOTTLE
Camelbak has made an intriguing item that you’ll want on long rides once the days warm up and you can’t seem to escape the heat. With its Podium Big Chill double-insulated bottle, you can top off with ice and have cold water all day long. A necessary item for all cyclists who are about to hit the road this summer. The bottle features a double-wall construction to keep drinks cooler longer, and a self-sealing top to prevent spills while sipping mid-ride.
7. Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS Bike Computer
As GPS computers go, Wahoo has the essentials and the flashy style covered. This bike computer will tell you your speed, total distance, cadence, heart rate, and upload it all to your favorite cycling database afterward. With a big screen and easy to use controls, with the Wahoo companion app you’ll be checking out new routes and logging miles faster than ever. Another great feature is being able to navigate Strava Live segments: the routes that you need to conquer will automatically show up right before the segment begins so you can push to your limit to get that KOM or QOM trophy.
8. WAHOO KICKR INDOOR BIKE TRAINER
As far as sophisticated bike trainers go, Wahoo can’t be beaten. With ANT technology that pairs your riding app to the trainer, you’ll be riding hundreds of miles indoors easily. The trainer is a great tool for harder, more specific workouts or if you’re too tired to get outside and deal with all the traffic. If you’re looking for a simpler, cheaper option, try the Wahoo Snap.
9. ZWIFT INDOOR CYCLING
A little unconventional for a list of road bike accessories but appropriate given the current pandemic. If you aren’t able to exercise outside, Zwift will be your connection to the cycling community. With the ability to organize group rides and even races where anyone can join, this is the ultimate place to ride indoors. You’ll need the type of bike trainer that is compatible with the tech, not just a basic spin trainer. After you’ve done that, take off your back wheel and hit the new type of pavement. You’ll be glad you did.
It’s a great way to learn cadence and to foster spirits while climbing to the top of that pesky volcano. You can log in from your smartphone or from your computer and if you have a back porch you can even take it outside as long as you stay near an outlet. You can create a profile, a personal avatar and chat with friends mid-ride for only $15 a month. Happy riding.
10. BIKE PARKA COVER
If you keep your bike outside or in a bike room, keeping it secure and clean is a top priority. The Bike Parka comes in a smooth material that will keep your bike dry and hidden from view. It stretches from tire to tire, covering your entire bike so the next time you need to leave it somewhere you can easily cover it up for added protection.