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Written by
FionaOutdoors
FionaOutdoors

Cycling: It’s all in the detail

In the first of a two-part blog series, we take a look at all the little accessories and bits and pieces that make the biggest differences to your comfort and joy while cycling. (The next blog will be about walking). When you first start cycling you might imagine that the activity is just about a bike and your pedalling legs. Perhaps you decide to buy a pair of padded cycling shorts (great for alleviating the aches and rubs of hours spent on a bike seat) and a cycling jersey or waterproof jacket. The next step is usually a faster, lighter and pricier bike. Everyone ends up wanting a bike that is a step or two up from the one they first bought.

10 small details that make a big difference

As time goes on, and after chatting to cyclists and reading cycling magazines, you start to pick up on other details that might make you faster, comfier and generally a happier cyclist. imgres-8Seats made for women: This does apply to guys, too, but most importantly women should choose a seat designed for their unique physique. Women’s bike seats are wider to offer comfort for wider hips and also have a cut out towards the front area. I’ll not go into details here but suffice to say a woman’s seat is a whole lot more comfortable than a man’s seat. imgres-9Gender-specific padded shorts: For the same reasons as above, choose bike shorts for male and female fit and comfort. Women will also love the easy-access (for toilet stops) of bib shorts, such as Gore Bike Wear Xenon 2.0 lady bib shorts, with two zips at the back for doing the necessary. imgres-6Butt cream or gels: For further comfort on a bike seat there are creams, gels and oils that offer protection for men and women. Try Hoo Ha Ride Glide for women or 2 Toms Butt Shield for guys. Arm warmers: Two lightweight tubes of fabric might not seem like very much but when the temperature drops you will be very thankful of the extra layer for your arms. Then, when you’re feeling a little warmer, you can take off the warmers and pop them into a small space in your pocket. Arm warmers are some of the handiest items of kit ever invented. Cycling gloves: Whether it’s winter or summer, gloves offer protection from the weather and cold. Padded glove palms also give comfort to hands that are holding on to handlebars for hours on end. Cycle over-shoes: In winter, choose neoprene over-shoes for warmth and protection from the wet. In summer, pop a thinner version of this useful item over your cycle shoes to give protection from the wind and dirt. imgres-7Bento box:  This is a handy top-tube mounted carrier that offers the ideal place for stowing energy gels, snacks, a mobile phone and even a small map. Bento boxes come in various sizes and are attached around the top tube close to the handlebar stem with Velcro straps. Clip-in pedals: Converting from flat pedals to clip-ins takes a bit of confidence but it brings so much extra power and efficiency to pedalling that you will never make a reversal. Gadgets and tools: A handy set of Allan keys, a tiny pump that fits on to the side of your bike, a GPS gadget, power pedals and helmet mounted video cameras are undeniably attractive treats for keen riders. images-5Cycling sunglasses: A pair of sunglasses that are designed for riders makes a huge difference to how you feel and see on a bike. Cycling sunglasses should sit slightly higher on your face than ordinary sunglasses, to allow you to see through the middle part of the lens despite the back-bent-head-up position on a bike. Wraparound gives greater protection from dirt and rain while arms that fit comfortably on your ears but don’t wrap over the back of ears are better when wearing a cycle helmet. I recommend Oakley cycling sunglasses for all the above reasons. Tell us about your small cycling details that make all the difference to your ride.
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