Long gone are the days of the old torpedo-style bike lights working off a dynamo (apart from the odd retro hipster type you see on their rusting old Dutch bikes). In one way it’s a shame because try buying cheap bike lights and you’ll soon find massess of brittle plastic and boring designs.
Those old chrome lights did have a lot of charm. The charm usually lasted about three weeks before the rust set in.
Then there was the fact the light they cast was about as bright as the combined casts of TOWIE and Made in Chelsea. And if it rained, you could forget all about it working at all.
So, what is there that will light your way and fit in your pocket without emptying your wallet? Hello Knog Frog Strobe, time you got reviewed!
There are cycling essentials you need and the stuff they try to sell you. But only some are truly indispensible, others you can easily do without, or buy cheaper.
Still, as the market grows, innovations come along that are truly smart and worth having. Some are vital for safety, others for comfort. And with more riders on the road, we’re now getting products devised for both.
So here are 5 products (some new, some not so) that I’d say are cycling essentials – ok, one’s an indulgence but bear with me.
A lighter bike climbs better as you don’t have as much of it to drag up a hill. But if you’re deciding between buying a road bike or a hybrid, beware: road bikes can hurt you on the hills.
Why? Because you can wave goodbye to low gears, and say hello to burning thighs.
Hybrid bikes are fantastic do-it-all rides: Strong, comfortable and adaptable they are often spec’ed out with mountain bike gearing. Switch to a road bike you swap low gears for high and wave bye, bye to the beloved Megarange that served you so well.
So what does this mean in real terms? And what can you do when you’re buying a road bike to pick one that’ll give you a chance on those climbs?
There’s no easy way to say this, but riding a Carrera Virago for the first time was far from a happy experience. On regular commuter roads it was skittish, and after just 15 minutes I was feeling every divot and granule of road gravel through my wrists. And I nearly crashed it!
Reaching to squeeze the brakes, I couldn’t get them to bite and ended up in the back wheel of a scooter. Upshifts to the big ring took too long and I couldn’t tell if I’d gone up or down a gear on the range at the rear.
Well, the issues weren’t with the bike, but with me. Going from a comfy hybrid to a £1,000 carbon fibre road bike is not straightforward, and I just needed to get the bike set up properly and revise my riding.
For two weeks of every year, tennis courts around the country are filled with amateur players, panting and grunting in a vain attempt to imitate the pros. The Wimbledon championship inspires us Brits to dust off our rackets and brush up on our ball skills, and as soon as it’s over, they get quietly neglected again. So with the same enthusiasm for the London to Brighton bike ride this month, I decided to uncover my mountain bike from the depths of the garage, pump up the tyres and hit the road. After carefully planning our route, described as ‘ambitious’ by some, we were off with the sun shining and the wind in our hair…
It took less than a mile to realise that my £20 Toys-R-Us bike just wasn’t going to cut it. Now, I know a good workman never blames his tools but I think it was fair to say that this time, the tools were shoddy, at best. Obviously a certain amount of physical fitness is required (mine being distinctly average), but having the right gear can make all the difference. A bike with a lighter frame helps you glide through the wind, rather than struggling with every peddle, and a high number of gears means you can adapt to even the slightest of hills. A bike that works with you strengthens your endurance and, frankly, makes the whole experience more enjoyable.
- Adventure Sports & Travel Thoughts
- New Adventure Travel Ideas
- Our Experts
- Top 10s
- Travel Gear
- Adventure Sports Insurance: What Does The EHIC Actually Cover?
- Kayaking Challenges: Paddling 1300km in handmade kayaks
- Child-Free Sports: Time to reclaim the wave?
- New Zealand: Spiritual Home of Adventure Sports
- 5 Things Cyclists Never Do
- Kevlar Swiss Socks that Rock!
- Adventure Race Events: Trying the Toughest Challenges on Earth