Over the past year I have really gotten into cycling, and it is something that I honestly think everyone should do! My interest slowly grew last summer with a few tentative cycles that would either end up in a pub or a café - but its not a real cycle unless you stop for a snack right?
As I progressed I realized that the bike I was using was really not suitable for me (my Dad had lent me one of his old touring bikes to get me started). Not only was it the wrong size, it was really heavy and the worst thing was that my hands weren’t big or strong enough to use the breaks which was pretty terrifying when you are flying down a hill in the rain!
I decided that now was the time I was going to invest in my own bike and buy all my own gear - here is what I learnt and where I wish I had saved money!
Pants -First off on of the most important things is pants, you need to get yourself a good pair of padded pants especially if you are going to be cycling every day for a week. There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable on your bike. I searched online and everything seemed super expensive so I bought a pair of bright pink padded pants from Amazon, they were only about £10.00 and they were perfect and a great way to save money.
Gloves - regardless of what time of the year you are cycling I would encourage you to wear gloves. The padded sections on the gloves making riding all day a lot comfier and if you were to have a fall they protect your skin. There are some great gloves that are fingerless so you won’t get too hot in the summer and likewise for winter there are full fingered thermal options. This is where I would suggest spending a little extra to ensure that you have nice cozy hands so that you can get out cycling on the sunny autumnal days.
Helmet - Really this one should be the most important! Where ever you are planning on cycling you should wear a helmet to ensure that you are safe as possible. I would suggest going to a shop to get fitted properly so that you know exactly what size you are. Remember it is always possible to shop around online for the cheapest deal but it is only worth spending money on if you get one that actually fits.
Puncture Repair Kit & Pump -These are essential and come in such tiny containers that you will hardly notice you are carrying it. It is also vital that you know how to use the contents, or are with someone that does (I tend to rely on my boyfriend or my Dad but I am learning all the time and I am pretty confident that I could cope on my own now). Local bike shops often run classes so that you can learn directly from the experts but it may be easier to find an online class or watch a YouTube tutorial.
Shoes - now don’t panic I am not going to suggest that you need to get 'proper clip in' cycling shoes, any good pair of trainers will be perfect. However, I recently bought myself some 'touring' cycle shoes and these are fantastic as they give you the option of clipping in but also have a flat sole so are really easy to walk in, which for me is the perfect combination. It is also useful to know that it is possible to get pedals that are flat on one side (to be used with trainers) and a clip on the other (to be used with a clip in shoe) this gives me the option of both so I don’t need to panic when I am coming up to a junction as I can unclip and use the flat side saving any embarrassing falls (touchwood).
Bag - you will need somewhere to keep your house keys, phone, bank card and most importantly snacks. You will find lots of different sizes and shapes of bag, I have one that fits snuggly on the cross bar so it is really hand to get the snacks out on the move!
I hope this goes some way to helping you start your cycling journey - Happy cycling!