Riding a bicycle without accessories is like using a smartphone without apps, you can use it, but it isn’t nearly as functional. Accessories enhance a rider’s experience by offering tools that the bike alone cannot provide.
There are a wide array of accessories available on the market comprising of almost everything you can think of, and to be honest, it can be quite overwhelming.
Got yourself a new bike? Congratulations – here’s a simple guide on the Top 5 accessories that every new cyclist must-have.
A helmet is the most fundamental accessory in a rider’s inventory. It is absolutely required to protect your head in the event of an accident. A lot of events / group-rides don’t allow you to participate without owning a helmet – commonsense stuff.
Helmets come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes depending on the kind of cycling that you do.
If you are a road cyclist, you will be looking for a bicycle helmet that offers the required amount of protection but is also lightweight and well ventilated.
However, if you plan on mountain biking or riding down trails require a slightly more rugged helmet that offers wider coverage of the head as the threat of impact is higher while riding trails. These helmets also sometimes feature a jaw guard which is good from protecting your chin and teeth in the event of a classic faceplant.
Check out our detailed Buyer’s Guide to Helmets to ensure you know which is the best cycling helmet for your style of riding!
2. BICYCLE LIGHTS
In crowded Indian cities, we’ve often seen bike commutes being a lot faster than driving to work. What a great way to save time, save money, have a fantastic commute, squeeze in some fitness & you-time, and also save the environment while doing all this.
We consider a good set of bicycle lights an essential accessory to ensure you stay visible and safe on your daily commutes. These let motorists know about cyclists on the road ahead and they also throw light on the road and highlight potholes and bad patches and keep the rider safe.
Bicycle lights are classified into two main categories;
- ‘Lights to See With‘ – Light which provides illumination to the road ahead
- ‘Lights to Be Seen With‘ – Lights which allow others to see you better
Depending on your type of riding, you may need either or a combination of both.
‘Lights to Be Seen With’ are typically smaller lights, which lay in the 50 to 200 lumen range, both for headlights and taillights. These are also referred to as Safety Lights, as they are bright and feature a range of flash modes to make you stand out from the crowd. They also feature a wide beam angle, so that you are visible from a wide field of view.
Check out our detailed Buyer’s Guide to Lights to ensure you have the best pair of lights on your ride!
Safety Lights are good for well-lit urban environments where there is adequate street lighting to see the road ahead, and where the only primary concern is for others to see you.
If you live in areas with inadequate street lighting, then you need ‘Lights to See With’ which are more potent in terms of brightness, primarily in the headlight only. For good visibility of the road ahead, it is recommended to use a headlight with a luminosity of 200 to 800 lumens. This will allow you to see the road ahead even in pitch darkness.
3. BOTTLE + BOTTLE CAGE
Make sure you’re well-hydrated during your ride, as lack of water could result in headaches, migraines, and muscle cramps – all bad things to happen while you’re enjoying your ride.
Carrying a bottle of water with you on your rides is a simple way to fix this and enjoy your ride.
Carrying a water bottle in a backpack isn’t the most convenient method of carrying water, and adds to the load you as a rider have to carry on your back. That is why we recommend that you install a bottle cage on your bike – simple, inexpensive accessories you can install on your bicycle to hold your water bottles and ensure they are accessible without having to stop riding to sip some water.
Check out our Buyer’s Guide to Bottle Cages!
Almost all bikes feature at least 1 if not 2 pre-designated mounting screws which are one of the most universal and easy to install accessories for bikes.
Whether you commute to work or are making a quick stop at the shops, there will come a time when you will have to leave your bike unattended in public.
It does not matter if its a quick 1 minute stop or a 12 hours one, it is good practice to lock your bicycle to a secure object whenever it is unattended, because bicycle theft is one of the most prevalent forms of theft the world over.
There are three main types of bike lock – Cable, Chain and D-lock.
Cable locks are simple steel reinforced rubber locks which are skinny, easy to carry and inexpensive. They either feature a key lock, or a number lock and are good for stopping unorganised thieves from making a quick run for your bike, but will do little to stop heavier equipment such as bolt-cutters and pliers. So if you have an expensive bike, it might be worth investing in a good quality lock which will protect your bike from petty thieves.
Chain locks are more traditional and simpler, and boast hardened steel chains which are bound to make it difficult to cut as compared to cable locks. Higher quality chain locks come covered in heavy-duty cloth exterior for added protection.
The only downside to chain locks is that they are often heavy and cumbersome to carry.
D-Locks are as the name suggests, shaped like a ‘D’. These locks are simple two-piece locks which can clamp the frame of your bike to another stationary object such as a bike rack or a street pole. These locks are increasingly popular as they are convenient to carry, as you can mount most of them directly on their bikes. They are also stronger as they are made from thick steel tubes which are more difficult to cut and require power tools to get through.
Check Out Our Buyer’s Guide to Locks!
This convenience and strength have made D-Lockson of the most popular type of bike lock on the market.
Unless you live in the future, or own a set of solid rubber tyres, chances are you’ll need to refill the air in your tyres every so often. Having a cycle pump at home is convenient and will allow you to always ride with a well inflated set of tyres.
We recommend that you purchase a bicycle pump with a pressure guage, so you can fill the right pressure in your tyres as stipulated on the rim of the tyre.
A portable pump which you can carry with you on your rides is an incredibly handy tool to have should you ever find your tire pressure low while on a ride. THis could be due to rough riding, or a small puncture.
Check Out our Buyer’s Guide to Pumps!
Having the pump with you will allow you to keep on going until you can reach a Bike Shop or Home.
There you go, 5 essential accessories that we highly recommend picking up along with your new bike. Guaranteed to ensure you will enjoy your riding that much more.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING:
I love the freedom which comes with riding a bike. On my Hardtail MTB , nothing is an obstacle, I seamlessly flow down trails and through traffic like water in a river. And that flow gives me immense satisfaction and the continued drive to get back on my bike the next day.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain Biking & Commuting
CURRENT BIKE: Marin Bolinas Ridge Disc
DREAM BIKE: Cannondale TOPSTONE Carbon Lefty 3