Bicycle Gear Essentials
Bicycle Gear Essentials 101
Biking is great fun, but it's safer and more enjoyable when you've got the right bicycle gear. When considering what to purchase, it's helpful to break your needs into two separate categories — personal gear and bike gear. Personal gear consists of items such as helmets and protective padding, specialized clothing and water bottles. Bike gear covers a wide range of items, including bike safety accessories, bike tools and bike storage devices. Outfitting your whole family with the right equipment can be a challenge, but in the end everyone will benefit from better performance and peace of mind.
Protecting your head is essential regardless of what type of bicycle you purchase. Pick a helmet that really molds to your head. Make sure it’s not too wobbly, constricting or heavy. Children can be picky, so try to find helmets for your kids that they really like. Otherwise, they may not want to wear them. Once you make your purchase, keep your receipt and take your helmet on a test drive. Though it seemed suitable in the store, make sure it also feels good while you’re actually biking.
Knee and Elbow Pads
There are bound to be tumbles when your kids are first learning to ride, so it’s good to be prepared. Knee and elbow pads come with either hard or soft shells. The difference is in the level of protection and flexibility. The hard shell variety provides better protection, but it’s more constricting. From a style perspective, you may want to ensure the pads will fit underneath your favourite cycling clothes. Whichever you choose, make sure the fit is snug so the pads stay on during use.
Street clothing is fine for casual biking, but you should avoid wearing baggy outfits for safety reasons. Baggy pants are particularly dangerous because they can get caught in your chain and spokes. If you bike for exercise, you should consider getting specialized cycling clothes, including bike shorts, bike jerseys and bike shoes. These items provide padding in the right places and are fitted for comfort. They're also streamlined to reduce air resistance. When biking at night, it’s a good idea to wear bright colours that will make you more visible to car drivers.
A duffel bag offers a convenient and portable place to store your gear. Most have multiple compartments, which allows you to separate soiled, post-ride items from fresh ones — a helpful feature if cycling away from home. Try to pick out a duffel bag with back straps, so you’re not limited to carrying it by hand. You can also get waterproof duffel bags, which will help prevent your gear from getting wet in the rain.
Biking is a great workout, but you need to ensure everyone stays hydrated, especially on hot summer days. Buying water in disposable bottles is one option, but it’s more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly to purchase refillable, portable water bottles. These handy containers are available in a wide range of types and styles, and can clip right on to your frame for easy carriage.
Safe cycling starts with knowing and obeying the rules of the road, but you also need to outfit your bike with the proper safety equipment. This includes mirrors, horns, bells, lights and flashers. It’s best to position mirrors on both ends of your handle bar, so you can see your blind spots. Horns and bells make people aware of your presence. They should be located within easy reach of your handle bar grips. Lights and flashers are essential for night bike riding to help ensure you're visible to drivers.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Tire pressure directly impacts performance. Too little and it slows you down; too much makes for bumpy rides and a risk of blowing a tire. For this reason, it's important to check your tire pressure regularly with bike tire pressure gauge. Tire pressure gauges come in a range of types, from the traditional pencil gauge to the new electronic variety. The recommended air pressure is typically written on the side of the tire. You should avoid using an automobile tire pressure gauge as you won’t get an accurate measure.
Tires tend to lose pressure when your bike isn’t ridden for a period of time. For example, if you store your bike for the winter you’ll likely need a bicycle pump to re-inflate the tires in spring. Stand pumps and foot pumps are best for home maintenance because they pump air quickly. You’ll also want a portable hand pump that attaches to your frame. It’s slower, but if a tire springs a slow leak it can mean the difference between getting stranded or getting home.
An easy way to store a bike is to install a wall- or ceiling-mounted bike rack. A garage is a natural place for a bike rack, but you can easily install one inside your home or apartment. Another home-storage option is a bicycle storage shed, which makes it easier to access your bikes when it’s time for a ride. You can also pick up a car bike rack for transporting your bikes on family trips.
Oils and Cleaners
A well-oiled, clean bike increases safety and performance. You should apply lubricant regularly to the chain to remove debris and keep it oiled with chain lube. It's best to clean your chain with a degreaser first before applying the lubricant. The easiest way to clean sprockets is by scrubbing them with an old toothbrush and warm water. Tire cleaners and wash & wax solutions will make your machine sparkle before every ride.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.