1. Knicks that Fit Great
If you haven't ridden bikes in a while - or even if you have - knicks are incredibly important to a comfy ride. Not only are they literally the closest things to your most sensitive areas, they are also the only thing between a great bike ride with friends, and feeling as though you've been horse riding bareback for roughly 3 weeks.
There are lots of articles about how to choose the right knicks for you (read ours here), but the essentials are that they should be:
- Tight fitting
- High quality in the chamois area
- Pulled up as high as possible (almost like a wedgie)
2. A Good Quality Drink Bottle
Riding bikes is thirsty work! If you've ever had a low quality drink bottle before, you'd know that they massively suck. You have to use your teeth to wrench the top open, it makes water taste like plastic, it's hard to clean and anytime there is a hint of heat they basically lose their shape and don't fit in the drink bottle cage anymore.
A good quality drink bottle is essential for a happy time on the bike. If you need one, grab one of ours which is made with Purist technology which shields the inside of the bottle from bad taste, mould or staining. Nothing sticks so your bottle stays clean and your water tastes pure.
3. Jersey with ventilation
This one is most important if you live in hot climates, if you use a camelbak while you ride, or if you're a heavy sweater.
Though it's never a good idea to wear cotton on the bike (it's not sweat wicking and will cause you extreme grief as soon as you start moving), most cycling attire is a lycra blend with sweat wicking properties.
If you're looking for the next step up, make sure you look for cycling attire that has mesh or ventilation for extra comfort on the bike.
4. High Quality Lights
Visibility - not your only ability to see in dim conditions but the ability for everyone else to see YOU - is rule one of cycling. Grab yourself a decent pair of lights - one for the front with a steady white light and white flashing light, and one for the back with a red steady light and a red flashing light setting.
The easier they are to charge and use, the more likely you are to actually use them instead of realising you forgot them at work or on your desk at home.
5. Great Socks
Your feet sweat. It's what they do. But your feet are also one of the three contact points between you and your bike so they also need to be supported and looked after! There are lots of different kinds of socks out there, from fabrics to design to height and size. All of that is personal preference, but we would recommend making sure the body of the sock (the part that goes around your feet) is breathable, sweat wicking and comfortable.
Whether you go with ankle socks or up-to-the-knees compression socks, keeo your feet in tip top shape by choosing socks that fit rather firmly. Similarly to the fit of your knicks, your feet do a lot of work while you're riding, irrespective of whether you're wearing trainers, flats or clip ins. You DON'T want your socks moving around in your shoe every time you pedal as that's when blisters can form and bacteria from your feet and the environment around you can be introduced into your bloodstream.
6. Comfortable Gloves
There's definitely room for personal preference here, with fingerless and full finger options, as well as winter thickness and summer thickness. What you should be on the lookout for is the support the gloves offer you in the heel of your hand (the part that has contact with the handlebars. Again, as one of the three points of contact on the bike, having gloves that support your hands and protect you if, heaven forbid, you have an impromptu lie down off your bike.
The other great thing about gloves is they come in a variety of colours and patterns, so you can for sure find a few pairs that match all of your riding gear. We do!
7. Cycling Caps
These ones are more for the roadies among us (which is a shame as I'd love to see some gravity girls rocking the cap!!), but they're a great addition to your cycling wardrobe. The biggest benefit of wearing one is... comfort.
Cycling caps keep the sun out of your eyes while still fitting underneath your helmet. They absorb sweat and keeps it from dripping into your eyes while riding (ouch!!). Caps also keep your hair from getting in your face as well as keeps your scalp from getting burnt if you don't have thick hair on top.
They're also great in the rain if you wear glasses while you ride as it helps prevent drips and beads from forming on the lens...
Fog will still happen though. Damn you, fog.
8. Great Quality Helmet
In Australia, wearing helmets while riding is mandatory. It's therefore important that we spend money on one that feels great, will protect our noggin and look good.
Before committing to buying one, make sure you go and see our friends at 99 Bikes and ask to try a few on, and make sure you can adjust them to fit correctly.
A well-fitting helmet won't move or shake around when you tilt your head forward, and you should have 2 fingers width between the chin strap and your chin.
(If you're in Australia, make sure it has a sticker showing it's compliant to AS/NZS 2063.