For any sport there is a bare minimum of what you need. Of course you can go above and beyond but just starting out you don’t need all the extra’s. Just the basics will do just fine. With road cycling, these basics can be a bit more pricey than a soccer ball but they don’t have to be expensive, and they’ll last you quite a bit longer than you think.
Must Have Bike Gear
Seems pretty obvious, but you are not going to get too far cycling without a bike!
After you have a bike the first thing you need is a helmet. This trumps all other gear as this is what is going to save your life if you have an accident. Choose a helmet based on what is right for you. All helmets are going to meet the required safety standard but will come with different price points and features. A road bike helmet specifically is going to be relatively light with ventilation and without a visor.
After safety comes comfort. Cycling shorts are form fitting, meaning that they are snug to your skin, and have padding for a more comfortable contact point with the seat. Being form fitting, road cycling shorts are more aerodynamic than other clothing and won’t flap in the wind nor hinder your knees as they bend with the pedal stroke.
A jersey, like shorts will also add comfort to your ride as well as functionality. Jerseys are made from thin sweat-wicking material to keep you cool along with a front zipper to allow for more air to pass over your chest. Also, jerseys come with pockets in the back. These are clutch as you can easily carry anything from your phone, to wallet, to food, to extra clothing easily and are very accessible, even while riding.
Cycling shoes and pedals are going to be much more comfortable as well as more efficient. They have a stiff, lightweight sole that doesn’t flex as you pedal putting more of your effort into the pedals themselves instead of being lost in the shoe. Clipless pedals will allow your shoe to clip in and be attached to the pedal keeping your foot from moving on the pedal as well as giving you the ability to pull up through the pedal stroke. This, along with the added comfort, will allow you to pedal longer and faster than wearing any old shoe.
Bikes are great to ride because they come with a place to carry your water bottles. Not many, if any, other sport has the functionality of always having a bottle at arm’s reach. A cycling specific water bottle is made to fit snuggly in the water bottle cage and not fall out going over bumps and any other rough terrain. Also they have a nozzle that can be opened and closed with your mouth so you only need one hand to take a drink.
As a bike rider it’s not a matter of if but when you are going to have a flat tire. Tires are lightweight and thin and although durable, flats will happen. You will need the following items as well as the knowhow to change a tire.
-Saddle Bag: A saddle bag attaches behind your saddle to carry everything you need to change a flat.
-Hand Pump: A small hand pump will inflate your tire after you get a new tube in it.
-Tire Levers: Some tires will be tight to the rim and hard to get off with just your hands. Tire levers can be used to safely remove and install the tire without damaging the rim or tube inside.
-Tube: A spare tube to replace the one with a hole in it. A patch-kit is also a good idea as if you get another flat in your only spare tube you’re in trouble. Carry two tubes during every ride.
–Multi-Tool: Although not needed to change a flat, a multi-tool is a great addition to any saddle bag as you never know when you might need an allen key to tighten a loose bolt.
Although not always needed and largely based on personal preference, sunglasses are a very good thing to have. First, they will protect your eyes on a sunny day from UV rays. Second, they can keep wind and road debris out of your eyes particularly if you’re riding on a dusty or dirty road. Finally, if it rains, they can be worn so you can still actually see something through the rain that otherwise would be pelting your eyes.
With these road cycling gear must have’s, you’ll be ready to ride with comfort, style and speed. Any of these can be purchased on the cheaper side but upgrading them as your riding progresses is pretty much a guarantee. You have to start somewhere and with these you’ll be starting out on the right foot.