Start cycling with Suzanne Brummel19 Mar. 2021
What do you need to start cycling?
TEXT / SUZANNE BRUMMEL | PHOTOS / SUZANNE BRUMMEL
Want to start cycling but have no experience with cycling yet? You probably wonder a lot of things. Because how do you prepare for your first bike ride? And what else do you actually need besides a bicycle to get on the road safely? Besides the fact that you need a bike, there are a number of things that are essential if you want to be well prepared for the road. In this blog, I will tell you what you need when you want to start cycling.
A good cycling helmet is perhaps the most important item you need to buy if you want to start cycling. It shouldn't even need an explanation. But a helmet absorbs the worst impact in a crash, which can prevent serious injury.
Are you still wondering whether a helmet is really necessary for beginners? My answer is yes! Even though you may not even go that much faster than on your city bike, chances are that you will fall and it doesn't always have to be your own fault. Just be prepared for both small and (hopefully it won't happen to you) big falls. A good helmet is important and can even save lives.
The helmet that I am wearing in the pictures and that you have probably seen more often on my Instagram is the Maestro MIPS from BBB Cycling. This helmet is equipped with MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), an extra layer that protects you against rotational impact. The helmet, therefore, protects you better in case of impact on the head from all angles. That makes your bike rides extra safe!
Good cycling shorts
Perhaps the second most important. Cycling in "normal" sports shorts is not recommended (especially for ladies), there is a good reason why special cycling clothing exists. Cycling shorts with good padding are especially important. The chamois (thickening at the crotch) makes sitting (long) on the bike a bit more comfortable. There is a lot of choice in the thickness of the chamois and types of cycling shorts. Personally, I would recommend cycling shorts with braces because they ensure that the cycling shorts do not slide down and that the chamois stay in place. In addition, it prevents you from getting a cold lower back.
There is a wide choice of cycling jerseys, both in fabric and fit. Thick, thin, long sleeves, short sleeves, but the most important thing is that the jersey is breathable so that you get rid of sweat. A wind and rain jacket is also very handy to have if you go out on the bike on rainy days. As a novice cyclist, you can still enjoy cycling with other sports shirts or running jackets. But special cycling jerseys often have the advantage of practical pockets on the back in which you can take everything you need with you.
A saddlebag is useful for things that you do not need directly within reach when cycling. You can use it for things such as extra tires, a repair kit, or a multitool. This gives you more space in the pockets of your cycling jersey for food or your mobile phone. Most saddlebags are weather resistant and can therefore withstand rain. What you should always have in your saddlebag are: extra innertubes, tire levers, and a multitool.
You don't want to repair a flat innertube along the road, it is easier and faster to exchange it with a spare tube. These fit nicely in the saddlebag, it certainly doesn't hurt to bring two extra innertubes because you never know.
Tire levers are always very useful to replace a tire, they help you to get your bicycle tire off the rim. Tire levers always come in a set (usually of three) that you use together to get the tire off your rim. Note: never use a tire lever to put the tire back on the rim. If you really can't get the tire back on the rim with your bare hands, then be very careful with the use of tire levers. There is a good chance that you will puncture your innertube and then you can start all over again.
Another handy tool to always have with you is the multitool, a compact and light tool with, as the name suggests, multiple functions. It is a kind of pocket knife, but with all kinds of bicycle tools such as an Allen and Torx key, flat and Phillips screwdriver. With a multitool in your saddlebag, you always have the most essential cycling tools with you and you can make small repairs and adjustments on the way.
As a cyclist, it is useful to have two types of pumps, a large floor pump for home and a minipump to take with you on the road. A good floor pump has a pressure gauge on which you can see exactly how much pressure is in your tire. A minipump has no pressure gauge, is compact and easy to carry, so you can easily inflate your soft or new tire on the go.
Cycling glasses are not fashion accessories to look cool (there are still people who think this), but there are certainly stylish cycling glasses. Cycling glasses are specially designed to protect your eyes from bright sunlight, wind, and dirt such as sand, mud, and flies. Cycling glasses are often firmer and lighter than regular sunglasses. They often fit better on your face and stay in place better. Just like with ski goggles there are a lot of different types of lenses, for example, you have clear lenses for cloudy days and polarized lenses against the glare of the sun. Wearing cycling glasses is also highly recommended in winter. Especially for people who, like me, wear lenses.
I wear the Fuse cycling glasses which comes with 3 lenses, a smoke or MLC, yellow and transparent lens (cat 3/1/0). You can easily change the lenses yourself with the click system.
Clipless pedals and shoes
As a novice cyclist, you can start cycling without clipless pedals, but clipless pedals ensure that you can apply better power and have more control while cycling and are therefore highly recommended (if you want to cycle more efficiently and faster). If you purchase clipless pedals, you also need special shoes and cleats that you can click in and out of the clipless pedals. It is important that these shoes fit well on your foot and that the plates are correctly mounted underneath your shoe. Let yourself be advised by a specialist or experienced cyclist from your area.
The rest will come...
Of course, there are many more items that are practical and fun to have when you go cycling. What I realized in no time when I started cycling, is that as a cyclist you can spend your money in this sport: from cool cycling clothing to the latest cycling gadgets and countless much-needed and less-needed accessories. For example, I am currently looking at a Garmin cycling computer myself. Now I only cycle with my sports watch, but it is difficult to keep an eye on it while cycling. When you attach a cycling computer to your handlebars it is easier and looks a bit nicer. In addition, a cycling computer can help you navigate and create routes for you that you. Something that is not very necessary to purchase when you start cycling. But typically such a purchase/gadgetry that makes cycling just that little bit more fun and challenging.
But as an absolute beginner, most of these gadgets are redundant and don't require immediate purchase. Start with a suitable bicycle, a good helmet and cycling glasses, good cycling shorts, and an extensive safety kit in your saddlebag for on the road, the rest will follow!