It’s easy to get a bit put off by all of the gear that you can buy to go cycling with, especially if the last time you rode a bike you were still in short trousers! Read our quick guide to the basics you’ll need to start cycling, and all will become clear!
This is a list of the 5 things you should be starting with if you just want to get out cycling. Once you’ve got these, and you’ve gotten out and gotten a few miles in your legs, you can decide what sort of riding you like to do and what kind of kit you might need!
- You’re going to need a bike!
Hopefully you didn’t need our help to get this far… but which bike? Look out for something that can take you on light park trails as well as on the road, and up and down hills easily! You’ll want something comfortable and capable, as well as reliable and strong!
Our pick: The Apollo Paradox Road Bike is affordable, lightweight and a great introductory bike to use for beginners.
- What if I get a puncture?
Unfortunately, they’re a part of life. But once you’ve fixed your first couple, it’s no big deal! If you know that you can fix a puncture, as well as sorting out any minor maintenance problems along the way, it’s much easier to go further from home without worrying!
Our pick: The BikeHut Dual Action Bike Pump is compact enough to take with you if you need to fix punctures and on the go – just add some repair patches and tyre levers and you’re good to go! If you need a spanner to remove your wheels, don’t forget to carry one of those too! Lastly, if you want to save some time fixing punctures, carry a spare inner tube and repair the punctured one when you get home!
- What should I wear?
We always recommend putting on a helmet. It can protect your head if you do come a cropper – remember, it’s the only one you’ve got! As you start getting more adventurous, you might find that a pair of padded cycling shorts can help with your… shorts area. Cycling-specific clothing is also great for giving you freedom of movement and helping to wick sweat away from your body, keeping you from getting too hot or cold. Of course, it can also make you more visible, which is always a bonus! Cycling jerseys have pockets on the back, which let you carry your essentials comfortably and securely too.
Of course, in the winter months, you’ll need to keep warm, too! Take a look at our guide to get some advice on how to stay warm on your bike.
Our pick: We recommend you get a helmet that fits comfortably and that you like the look of – that way, you’re more likely to want to put it on! We’ve got a huge range for all kinds of riding and all shapes and sizes of head, so take a look. While you’re there, check out our range of Ridge cycling clothing!
If you’re out on your bike, you should remember to drink regularly – anything up to a litre an hour! Putting a bottle cage on your bike and using a cycling water bottle means that you’ve always got a drink within reach. After all, if it’s easy to do, you’re more likely not to ‘forget’ to do it! Proper water bottles will be held securely, and are also made of plastics that won’t leach anything into your drink or taste funny.
Our pick: The Halfords Alloy Bottle Cage is easy to fit and secure, and comes in a choice of colours! Then choose a bottle that’s big enough to keep the thirst at bay while you’re riding and you’re good to go! As you start riding further, you might also want to think about cycling nutrition.
- Anything else?
Another thing to think about is how well other people can see you, whether that’s road users or just other people on the path. Putting on some lights helps make sure people know where you are and can make you much safer – not just when it’s dark! Using reflectors and bright clothing can help you out even more. Want to learn more about lights? Check out our buyer’s guide!
Our pick: To get started, our 3 LED Bike Light Set is great for catching the eye. As you get more ambitious (or as the days get shorter), you can use them as well as some bigger lights to help you be seen. Check out our buyers guide for some different light setups for different situations.
So there you have it! Those are the essentials for getting into cycling. As you carry on, you’ll find yourself picking up bits and bobs as you need them, and choosing kit to suit the kind of riding you do. Want to learn more? Take a look at our Advice Centre for guides and (you guessed it) advice, or just head over to our cycling section for a browse!