There’s just something so liberating about cycling, wouldn’t you agree? The wind flowing through your hair, the sun shining on your face, the sense of freedom and adventure as you explore new routes – nothing quite compares.
And whether you’re a seasoned pro or a total beginner, there’s always room for improvement. Maybe you’re looking to ride faster, longer distances or just want to up your style game. Whatever the case may be, checking out some well-equipped bicycle shops is your best bet at finding just the right supplies to enhance your cycling experience.
What Are the Most Important Parts of a Bike?
First things first, putting together a great bike starts with having the best parts. While you may be tempted to skimp on quality to save a few bucks, trust us when we say that it’s worth it to invest in durable, high-quality components – your safety (and sanity) is worth way more than a few extra dollars.
Wheels and Tubes
Seeing as these make up the round, spinning bit that helps you move forwards, you should probably give some thought to the wheels and tubes on your bike. You’ll want to make sure they’re properly inflated at all times – not too much or too little – to ride smoothly. And while you’re at it, check that the rims are always clean and free of debris that could cause you to lose control.
The kind of wheels you have will also play a role in how your bike handles. For example, if you’re looking for a fast ride, carbon fibre wheels could be a good option since they’re lightweight and can help you pick up speed quickly. On the other hand, if you want something that can take a beating, then alloy wheels might be a better choice.
This is the foundation of your bike, serving as the structure that connects all the other parts. Most bike shops will let you test ride different models to see which one feels the most comfortable to you.
Generally speaking, there are three different types of frames to choose from – hardtail, full-suspension or road. If you’re planning on doing a lot of off-roading, then a full-suspension frame with thicker tyres is probably your best bet. But if you’ll mostly be sticking to city streets and paved trails, then a lighter hardtail frame will do just fine.
As for road bikes, these are designed for speed and tend to be used in racing. If that’s not your scene, then you can probably skip this one.
Handlebars and Stems
The handlebars are what you grip onto when you’re steering, providing stability and control as you manoeuvre your ride. For the most part, handlebars come in two different varieties – drop bars and flat bars. Drop bars are often used on road bikes since they help you go faster, whereas flat bars are more common on city bikes since they’re easier to control.
The stem is the part that connects the handlebars to the frame, so you should make sure it’s the right size for you. If it’s too short, you’ll have a hard time steering, but if it’s too long, then your bike will feel unstable.
Much like saddles on horses, bike saddles are where you sit while you’re riding. Make sure you choose one that’s comfortable and gives you enough support, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of long-distance riding. You may have to try out a few different models at bicycle shops before you find the perfect one for you, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
Bikes usually come with two different kinds of brakes – disc brakes and rim brakes. Disc brakes are more common on mountain bikes since they’re better at handling rough terrain, whereas rim brakes are typically found on road bikes as they’re more aerodynamic.
No matter which type you have, it’s important to keep your brakes in good working order. This means regularly checking the pads and cables to make sure they’re not worn down or damaged.
The chain is what transfers power from the pedals to the wheels, giving you the momentum you need to keep moving. Make sure it’s properly lubricated so it doesn’t rust and no dirt or debris build-up could cause it to slip.
It’s also a good idea to get your chain checked by a professional every once in a while to make sure it’s in good condition. With proper care, it should last for several years.
If you’ll be riding at night or in low-light conditions, then you’ll need proper illumination to find your way around. Whether it’s commuter bike lights or off-road models, you can find a wide variety of lights to suit your needs. Just make sure they’re securely attached to your bike so they don’t fall off while you’re riding.
What Biking Accessories Should You Get?
Apart from the basics in terms of parts, there are also a few accessories you should consider getting to make your riding experience more enjoyable.
While you can wear regular clothes while biking, certain items of clothing are specifically designed for this particular activity. This includes things like bike shorts with padded seats, moisture-wicking shirts, and jackets that offer wind and rain protection.
Of course, you don’t need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe – just start with a few key pieces and see how you like them. You can always add more later on if you find yourself in need of extra clothes.
Injuries are a common risk when biking, regardless of how experienced you are. From minor scrapes to more serious concussions, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
To help protect yourself, always wear a helmet whenever you get on your bike. Look for one that’s comfortable and fits snugly, but isn’t so tight that it’s uncomfortable to wear. It’s also a good idea to get a helmet that has reflective materials, as this will make you more visible to drivers in low-light conditions.
If you’re going to be leaving your bike unattended, whether it’s at work or in a public place, then you’ll need to lock it up to deter thieves. You don’t need anything too fancy – a simple chain or U-lock will do the trick. Double-check that it’s securely attached before you walk away though, and make sure you have the key with you so you can unlock it when you’re ready to ride again.