Category Archives: Buyers Guide

Cycling accessories

accessoriesIn taking up cycling seriously you must put safety above every other consideration. It is easy to assume that cycling is not a dangerous activity because, unlike mountain biking, cycling takes place on smooth paved roads which are relatively safe and comfortable. “Relatively!”

Truth be told, cycling is just about as dangerous as off-road biking, if not more dangerous. Cyclists encounter all kinds of dangers all the time in the form of pedestrians, unforeseen and unseen obstacles, and other vehicles.

It is for these reasons that the cyclist must get important accessories which are essential for his safety and well-being. As a matter of fact, some of these accessories are required by law; meaning, without them, you can land yourself in trouble with the police.

But, the question is: which accessories should you buy? This is a very timely question in the sense that the market is teeming with biking and cycling accessories. Which of these accessories is critical and which are not has become quite a dilemma for some cyclists.

Here are some pointers.

Helmet

The first important item that you need to get is the helmet. As we have established earlier, traffic rules in all states in the country require that cyclists and motorists wear federally checked helmets whenever they are on the main roads. But, why are helmets important? Well, in an accident, the most prone area of your body is your head. You need to protect your head at all times because a forceful blow to it can immobilize you or even kill you. A government-approved helmet can offer this sort of protection.

It must also be understood that there are different kinds of helmets for different kinds of needs. For instance, if you are a downhill biker, then you need a full mask. On the other hand, cyclists only need helmets which are aerodynamic and effective (at protecting your head).

Clothing

The attire that you wear is definitely as important as the helmet. Clothing in cycling is not just a fashion statement. It is not worn to ride with the fad. Indeed, of utmost importance is the effectiveness of the said attire in protecting your body from injury.

What are the different factors that need to be considered in choosing the right clothing for cycling?

First, it should have bright colors. This would make you easily visible to traffic. Dark colors are fine provided that you are sure that you will not be on the road when it becomes dark. Of course, common sense would tell you that dark attire at night is dangerous because it makes you less visible to traffic, and this makes you prone to all kinds of road accidents.

Basically, the best clothing colors are those which are reflective or luminous. Reflective coloring includes those light green, yellow, or orange lights that reflect incoming light. This does not make you only visible, but it also makes you stand out from the road.

Some cyclists make use of leather for their clothing. Leather is excellent at protecting your body from scratches and nasty wounds in an event of an accident. However, this might be a little far-fetched. More often than not, cyclists prefer clothes which are both safe and comfortable. Leather is heavy; thus, it is very unsuited for cycling.

Repair kits

For long range cycling, repair kits are a must. Repair kits can mean life and death, especially if you constantly do long range rides. The most common repair kits include screw drivers of assorted sizes, and tire rupture repair kit including a tire pump and an extra interior.

The chances of accidents involving cycling are pretty low, especially if you have top-of-the-line bikes. However, this does not mean that you will not be in one. It is still best to prepare for the worst.

Water bottle

Of course, one must constantly hydrate if cycling. After all, cycling is an excellent form of exercise because you can lose a few pounds in just a single day!  However, this also means that you are at risk of being dehydrated, especially if you are mostly out under the heat of the sun.

Having one bottle may not be enough. In fact, having two will not always do the trick. It is best to always have a backup water bottle.

Lights

Lights are considered by many to be mere luxury accessories. This is very far from the truth. Lights are critical accessories that a cycling bike must have. The lights are not really for your comfort, or for you to be able to see properly. In fact, the head light of a hybrid or road bike does not really give off much light. The purpose of the light is to make sure that you are visible on the road. It can mean a matter of life and death.

Bike locks

Of course, having security locks is just as important as the others. Bikes are very light these days and they can be carried around easily. Unlike your car bikes do not need keys; they can be used by just about anybody anytime. Therefore, you need to have a decent lock which would make your bike almost theft-proof.

Hope this list makes you think again about what you need for your next ride!

 

mountain road bike

Buying your First Bike

If you think most all bikes are the same, you couldn’t be more wrong.  Buying the right bike is tremendously important, especially if you are considering biking or cycling as a way of life. It is a commitment because the bike that you buy will determine your level of satisfaction in your chosen lifestyle.

Bicycles have always been famous but their popularity has never been as high as it is today, precisely because of our growing awareness of the many benefits that cycling will be able to give to the biker and the environment as well.

However, buying the right bike is something you need to think through carefully and review your options. A lot of people are wondering which brands are good to buy, but this is not really the problem.

In this article, we are going to discuss some helpful pointers in getting the right type of bike.

What type?

The first question that you need to ask yourself is this: where would I like to bike? Would I do it on the road? Off road? There are those who like to bike along paved highways, while there are others who enjoy a good commune with the rugged terrain that nature provides. So, which would you prefer? Basically, if you are the smooth and asphalt lover, then you should be looking at a road bike.

As we know, road bikes are primarily designed for speed. They are lightly constructed, and the tires are also thin. It is also designed in such a way that you body would bend in order to make everything more aerodynamic. Again, road bikes are designed for speed. If you love to go fast along smooth highways, then this is the bike for you.

road bikeCan you use this bike for off-road biking? Of course you can, in as much as you can use high heels to traverse the woods. Well, sarcasm aside, you may use the road bike for rugged-terrain biking, but only to a limited extent. The inherent design of the road bikes means that they cannot handle that much pressure as the other type of bike: the mountain bike.

This brings us to the mountain bikes. Truth be told, mountain bikes have grown in popularity in the last ten years or so. There are several reasons for this. First, mountain bikes are very versatile. Modern mountain bikes can be used on the road or off-road. They handle well in both. As a matter of fact, young bikers prefer the mountain bike because they can alter their routes as they please.

Mountain bikes are constructed with wide tires and thick body. This is to ensure that they will be able to endure the most punishing landscapes with relative ease. Mountain bikes are also constructed with springs in order to add comfort to really extreme biking. The best thing about them is versatility – they can be used on the asphalt and they are even better in the rough roads.

So, which is better? Well, it is a rather unfair question. In the first place, the answer would depend on your preference. Mountain bikes may be versatile and they may handle well in rugged landscapes, but they are kind of cumbersome. They are not built for speed, unlike the road bike. So, in conclusion, if you are after speed, buy a road bike; if you are after versatility, get a mountain bike.

If you are still at a loss, do not give up just yet. There are also the hybrid bikes nowadays. Basically, hybrid bikes are bikes which are constructed to possess the best features of both the road bike and the mountain bike. Therefore, hybrid bikes are both fast and versatile.

Carbon fiber or aluminum?

Most modern bikes have carbon fiber frames these days. Carbon fiber is a tough and light material that is truly ideal for light-weight vehicles like the bike. Pond-for-pound, carbon fiber bikes are better than aluminum bikes mainly because the former are tougher and lighter.

However, if you are on budget, then there are hybrids out there in the market. There are bikes constructed with both aluminum and carbon fiber. If your budget still does not allow for this, then you can actually go for the aluminum and alloy bikes. These types of materials produce sturdy yet heavy bikes. But, for new bikers who are still orienting themselves with the feel of biking, then this might be the right bike material for you – especially if you are a little low on budget.

Besides, once you get more experience, you can upgrade your bike or you can get a more specialized one. At the beginning, one must not rush to buy the most expensive bike there is.

cycle clothing

Cycling Clothing Guide

Cycling is a fun way to move around. It is even a better way to actually keep fit. However, it can only be fun if you have the right equipment, the right knowledge, the right attitude, and the right attire.

Let us discuss about attire. Basically, fashion in cycling is only a secondary priority. Your attire is of utmost important not because of fashion or fad, but purely because of the fact that the entire activity depends largely on it.  There’s also a lot to think about: top, bottoms, socks, skinsuits, vests, jackets, undershirts, sunglasses, helmet, gloves and a whole bunch more accessories.

Cyclists must understand that there are different kinds of attire that they can wear and this attire or clothing is uniquely created for specific purposes.  Of course, modern cycling clothing is fashionable. They are made to be pleasing both the body of the wearer and the eyes of the seer.

However, choosing the right clothing for cycling is very crucial. If you pick the wrong attire, you might end up being devoured by exhaustion and dehydration earlier than normal.

At this juncture, we are going to discuss some helpful pointers on the selection of the appropriate clothing choice for cycling. The core thing that all cyclists must remember is that there is no ‘one-clothing-to-rule-them-all’ motto in the selection of attire. Basically, there are different cycling attires that you need to have depending on the existing environmental conditions.

Summer wear

During summer, things can get pretty hot – literally. As such, you have to choose the clothing attire which is best suited for this season. Generally, summer attires are those which are light-colored and thin. They need to be light-colored because light colors reflect light better than dark colors. Dark colors, actually absorb the light coming from the sun, making things even more uncomfortable for you. This is one of the reasons why some new cyclists feel exhausted even with just a few minutes of cycling under the heat of the summer sun.

bike jerseyYou need to have attire which is light and thin, something that is not made of modern nylon or even silk. Why? Well, these aforementioned fabrics are light, and they do not absorb perspiration. Basically, they keep the heat of the sun out, and they keep your perspiration out. Keeping your sweat out is an issue of health because it can actually cause all kinds of ailments.

You also need good sunglasses. Well, you need one whatever the season might be. In summer, you might need it more than in any other season, simply because the sun’s light and rays is more intense now more than the rest of the three.

Of course, one must not forget healthy canteens of clean water. H2O is not a matter of luxury, it is a matter of survival and necessity. Some new cyclists assume that one bottle is enough. In fall or winter, maybe one bottle will suffice; but in summer, one is a foolish mistake you might not recover from.

As we have established, the sun is your primary enemy when you are cycling in summer. That being said, you need a healthy supply of water in order to stay alive and kicking.

Autumn wear

Autumn or fall is a very tricky season – it is a season that seems to be unable to figure out what its temperature is going to be. Most of the time, autumn is chilly. But sometimes, it can get a little hot. It is for these reasons that you need to have unique attire specifically designed for autumn.

First, you need to have several layers of clothing. This is to trap air in between the layers of your clothing. Basically, the trapped air would serve dual purpose: it would keep you cool if the weather gets a bit hot, and it will keep you warm if the temperature dips. In other words, the layers work as a sort of temperature regulator.

Because autumn is close to winter, things are likely to get colder. Of course, it can get hot especially at noon or early and late afternoon, but it is generally cold. As such, you need to have special warmers for your knee, arm, and leg. These are the parts that are easily exposed to the cold breeze. When you are speeding on your bike, the softest breeze can cause massive discomfort, especially if it hits in unprotected areas of your body.

Of course, you also need to have a light jacket – thick enough to keep you warm, yet not too thick so as to make you sweat too much. I also recommend cycling gloves. As a matter of fact, dark gloves are very crucial in the sense that your hands are the ones which first experiences the cold and harsh weather.

Winter wear

Winter is usually a time when many cyclists do not go out. Indeed, winter can be too harsh, especially for individuals which are new at this activity. However, if you really want to enjoy the glory of Jack Frost, if you really want to test your mettle, then winter will offer you the most perfect timing for cycling.

However, you do need some specialized equipment. First, never forget the helmet. Whatever the season might be, always wear a helmet. Without it, you can either go to prison or to the morgue. Secondly, you need to protect your head even more. Helmets for cyclists are designed to have open vents. These vents, while they provide comfort during warmer days, are killers during winter. This is why you must wear a protective winter beanie to warm your head.

Your jersey should also be thick and long, plus, they need to be bright colored. Do not wear long-sleeved jerseys which are dull as these will make you difficult to spot if you get lost.

The jersey is your external attire. It is not everything. By itself, the jersey will do little to save you from the merciless cold. In order to survive, you need to wear more layers beneath the jersey. First, there is the base-layer, the thermal bibs (to keep your lower extremities warm), and the heavy thermal jacket.  One place I recommend for jersey’s is Voler which produces great quality.

Of course, you should also look to specialized socks, winter shoes, neck warmer, thick specialized gloves (thermal), and dark glasses.

Still, whatever the season, with the right set of cycling clothing you should be comfortable year-round.