A small investment in a few items of specialist bike kit will be extremely useful for you to get the most out of your training. The minimum items are:
- Bike helmet
An absolute must. Modern cycling helmets are lightweight and well ventilated, and can literally save your life in an accident. The likelihood is that a cyclist will sustain an injury in any kind of spill — so protecting your head should be your top priority.
- Cycling shorts
Seamless and chafe-free, proper cycling shorts won’t necessarily add to the enjoyment of your ride, but will prevent soreness from repeated rubbing and should be a key item in your cycling wardrobe.
- Basic bike tools
A set of Allen keys, a puncture repair kit, tyre levers, a spare inner tube and a pump or inflator will keep you on the road. All you need to know is how to change a tyre and mend a puncture and you’re set up.
- Cycling sunglasses
Not for posing! Sunglasses are actually very useful for cyclists; they will keep dirt, dust and flies out of your eyes, and if you choose a pair with interchangeable lenses then they can sharpen your vision in low light conditions, as well as cutting out glare and reflections.
- Bike toe-clips, cleats or spuds
SPDs — or ‘spuds’, as they are affectionately known — is the brand name for cycling shoes which ‘lock in’ to your pedal. They make a big difference to your pedalling efficiency because they enable you to pull up as well as push down. If you’ve not tried them before, start with toe-clips, which are easier to get used to. After a while you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them!