If you are looking to do more cycling day trips or to get out on the trails more often, you will need to carry some cycling gear with you.
Dave and I have been avid cyclists for more than a decade after deciding to cycle the continent of Africa in 2008. We’ve tried a lot of cycling gear and gadgets and have refined our gear list to match the 2020 cycling landscape.
The better prepared you are, the more fun you will have and by creating a cycling gear list, you’ll ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
Complete Cycling Gear Guide
There’s still plenty of time to get out on the trails and do some cycling this year. Even as summer comes to a close and cycling can go strong well into the autumn season.
So to make the most of your fall cycling season, or to help you pack for an upcoming cycling tour, here is our must have cycling gear list.
Staying hydrated is important and having a hydration system that keeps your energy up makes for a much better ride.
We’re fans of the Camelback hydration pack. It’s lightweight, comfortable and easy to fill. Plus, it keeps our water our sports drink cold.
Make sure you buy a cleaning system to help it last longer.
Even when using a Camelbak, we still bring water bottles with us on our rides. I like having pure water in one and a sports drink to replenish my electrolytes in another.
A squeezable water bottle works for us. An insulated water bottle as a second one keeps liquids cool for later in the ride.
Water Bottle Holders
We have two water bottle holders attached to our bikes.
If we don’t feel like wearing Camelbaks on our back, we put two water bottles on the bike and head out for a ride.
You don’t need anything fancy for this, just make sure they’re durable like these ones.
Lately, we’ve just been using our iPhone while using the MapMyRide app. The free version, tells us our speed, distance, calories burned and it maps our route. We can even save for future reference.
If you want to upgrade there are more bells and whistles to track elevation. It is one of the original apps and we’ve used it forever, but a lot of people like the Strava bike app which also has a free and premium version.
Check out both and see what you like.
You don’t necessarily need a cycling computer to have a great ride, but it is fun to be able to track your speed, elevation, and pace.
A cycling computer also doesn’t require a smartphone and you won’t need to use data, so it could be a great option.
Depending on what bells and whistles you want, you can get an affordable one to start.
As far as carrying your iPhone, we’ve used a few different holders and our latest find is the SmartPhone Caddy.
It stays secure and it is easy to snap in and out so I can take photos easily along my route. Ours also came with a rain cover but you can easily add one yourself as well.
Make sure you choose the size that fits your phone, they come in different options.
A good helmet not only keeps you safe, but it also offers good ventilation, comfort and style.
Your head and brains are precious, so don’t skimp here.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a helmet, but a good $150 – $200 investment will give you everything you need.
Plus, mountain biking helmets are different than road cycling. For mountain biking you will have more coverage and possibly even a face shield.
Think about the kind of riding you’ll be doing. We do both trail and road riding, (not as much hardcore mountain biking these days) so a good road bike helmet works for us.
I personally like a helmet with a removable visor to help block the sun but that I can take off if I’m in the trails.
I don’t recommend buying a helmet on the Internet, I would go into the bike shop to get a proper fit and talk to a professional to suit your needs.
No matter how cool you think you are, a bell is a must.
When sharing the trail with hikers, you can ring the bell to let them know you are coming up.
When biking on trails with two-way traffic, you can ring the bell going around corners and people will know when you are going to pass.
I use my bell to warn squirrels and chipmunks sitting in the path as well!
When cycling at night, you need proper reflectors and a light. We also have a red seat light dangling on the back that we can switch on to let cars know we are there.
Blinking seat lights are actually a great idea even during the day. We’ve been on shady trails and have seen cyclists coming from afar with their seat lights flashing so we could move over sooner.
If you want to be visible, lights are a good option all around.
At night ore dusk, you’ll want a proper light mounted to your handlebars. If you are cycling trails, a helmet light is best.
Just like driving a car, you’ll want to be able to see and be seen.
This is an important one for us since Dave had his bike stolen last year right out of our condo’s bike locker. (Thanks a lot 1 Bloor Street West Toronto security!) We’re pretty sure this was a ring since we had the bikes locked up, but we should have had our U-lock on Dave’s bike like Deb’s.
We suggest buying a good lock and don’t cheap out. We paid a lot for our bikes, it’s a bummer when its stolen.
We usually carry our locks in our camelbacks if we are planning on an overnight trip or a long stop for lunch.
Kryptonite U-Lock with Looped Security Cable – locks your wheels to the frame and to the bike lock with extra security cable to lock the rest of the bike together. .
Bike Repair Kits
We were recently at a bike shop and they told us that cross bar bags are all the rage now, but we still like our seat bags.
They hold everything we need and stay out of our way.
Whichever you prefer, they are a must for carrying bike tools and some cash or credit cards.
I like the Top Peak Wedge Bag
Here’s what we keep in our bag:
Flat Repair Kits
We have had our share of flats on the trail. Although, we both cycled the entire continent of Africa without one single flat by using our Schawlbe marathon plus tires. But I think we were also very lucky.
Having gear for a quick repair on the trail can save a lot of time and hassles. (or a phone call to a taxi to pick you up! )
Rather than patching up on the road, change to a new tube if you happen to get a flat.
If you want to save your tire and patch it when you are home, that’s fine, but why waste time on the trail patching your tire when an extra tube is small and easy to change.
You can’t change a tire without tire levers, so keep a set on you at all times. And trust us, practice a few times before going out.
I got a flat tire in my first race years ago, and hadn’t practiced changing tires enough. I was flustered and panicked on the trail and it must have taken me 20 minutes to make a change that should only take a few.
If you don’t want to spend time pumping up a tire with a small hand pump, these help a lot.
They quickly fill a tire and then you can do a small top up at the end. We recommend this if taking part in a race. It helps pump the tires immediately.
Portable Tire Pump
That said, we don’t use C02 cartridges much unless we are in a race or for an emergency. Instead, we keep a small pump attached to our bikes for topping up by hand on the road.
Make sure you choose a pump that has the right valve for your bike. The Pro Bike Tool works with both Presta and Schrader valves.
Keep those chains and gears lubed.
Squirt Dry Lube was The Planet D’s very first sponsor in 2008. We got a few bottles of lube from them and were thrilled at the time.
We never worked with them again, but we still buy it. It’s fantastic. I like a dry lube because it doesn’t attract dirt and doesn’t build up. It has to be applied more often, we usually lube up before each ride.
Plus I don’t get chain grease on my calves when I stop and get off my bike.
Hex Key Set
We use a three way wrench set that fits the most common sizes on our bikes. If something goes wrong, one of these usually does the trick.
Other tools to consider
Chain breaker, extra chain links. spoke wrench, pliers, allen keys and adjustable wrench.
You don’t need all this if you are going out for day trips, but if you are doing multi-day rides, you will want to have a full repair kit with you. Bike shops are few and far between.
You can never go wrong having a small roll of duct tape in any kit. We carry it with us traveling and on all adventures. It can fix a lot in a pinch.
We never carry a full roll, we just loop it around a pen lid and bring enough with us to fix in a pinch.
Get it on Amazon with your other bike gear orders.
Clothes and Gear
When we first started mountain biking, I was terrified of clipless pedals. I always felt stuck. Until I figured out that you can loosen and tighten them to your liking.
Today, I cannot ride without being clipped in. Having clips let you ride up hills with more leverage, you use less energy riding because you are actually pulling up and pushing down at the same time and you have more control.
Plus, clipless pedals are safer than putting your foot in a cage. If you fall over in a cage, your foot will become trapped, in pedals, you can just quickly unclip and put your foot down.
We prefer Shimano pedals. You can get pedals and cleats in a set on Amazon.
With clipless pedals, you’ll have to have shoes to match. If you are purchasing both at the same time, be sure to match the clips with the pedal.
It’s easy to install clips onto cycling shoes. Cycling shoes are solid and protect your feet, have deep cleats to walk up hills or through rough terrain and they look quite stylish.
We don’t recommend buying cycling shoes over the Internet, I would go into the store for a proper fit.
Cycling shirts are also a must. They are breathable and I can put a gel pack in the back pockets.
They also are made to be visible, so cars and cyclists will be able to easily spot you.
Dave prefers the full zip so he can cool off when on a really hot ride.
Even if you don’t like the looks of them, bike shorts are a saviour. Get a good gel padded pair and your butt will thank you.
There are mountain bike shorts that have an inner layer if you don’t want to have skin tight shorts.
Arm and Leg Warmers
If you plan on doing early morning rides or to go well into Autumn riding, you’ll want to keep warm.
Arm and leg warmers have always done the trick for me, I can peel them off when I warm up or when the weather changes but they keep me toasty warm when the temperature dips.
- Get these Pearl iZumi Thermal Arm Warmers they’ve worked for us for years.
- And you can see the leg warmers as well.
I have had my MEC cycling jacket for years. It drapes at the back to catch puddle splash, it is water resistant yet breathable and there is sufficient reflection so cars can see me in bad weather.
It’s not something a lot of people think of for recreational riding, but cycling gloves really do make a difference.
They soak up sweat, keeping your hands from slipping and they provide extra cushioning. My gloves also wipe my brow much better than a sweaty palm.
You’ll find that if you ride a lot, every little bit of extra padding and comfort helps. At the beginning of the season, I really feel and ache in my hands and cycling gloves help to alleviate that.
I use different sunglasses for different rides. If I am going on a road ride on a sunny day, I wear dark polarized glasses.
If I’m on the trails, I prefer amber lenses. I can see the trail better and since I am often under a canopy of trees, I don’t need dark lenses.
Also, when riding, choose plastic lenses with full coverage to give your eyes optimum protection.
And that is our cycling gear list. What do you carry on rides? Did we miss anything. We’d love to hear from you!
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