Over the years, cycling has grown from being a sport to a way of life for many people. Think about it – no traffic jams, no carbon footprint, and endless health benefits. But mostly, cycling’s boom in popularity is owed to the unique lifestyle offering. Enter the community and you find yourself with an immediate cycle family, sharing attitudes and goals and a lust for adventure that isn’t mirrored anywhere else. It’s so much more than a sensible, environmentally friendly way to get around. It’s beating the humdrum of every day. It’s breaking boundaries, becoming the master of your body, finding a new quest at every turn and making it say ‘Uncle’. So if you’re thinking about joining the growing number of bike-minded individuals out there, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a quick list of must-haves to get you into that saddle and living the bicycle life.
There’s a beautiful symbiosis in the relationship between a cyclist, their bicycle, and what they wear on it. Seemingly disparate things that when brought together, create a seamless circle of give and take. A shared understanding – a contract – that every ride will be the best one, and that each will work hard to make it so. And it all starts with a good kit.
There are many places to duck the dime, but we don’t advise doing it here. A high quality jersey and shorts are key players in keeping you comfortable for the duration of your ride. Pearl Izumi’s SELECT Quest Jersey for men, and our SELECT Escape Jersey for women are ideal starting points for those making their first foray into cycling. As far as cycling shirts go, these provide the very best in entry-level tech while also being kind to your budget. Our Quest Short for men, and Symphony Short for women plays to the body in motion for optimal comfort, keeping you dry and chafe-free. Then there’s your helmet. If you’re just starting, you don’t have to splash out on anything too fancy. Just make sure you have a good fit, and you’re ready to hit the road. Cycling gloves are meant to absorb the beating your hands take from the vibration and also to protect you in a fall, so invest in a durable padded pair like Izumi’s SELECT Glove with gel- foam padding. A multi-tool is a cyclist’s best friend. It makes adjusting things like your brakes and saddle easy, and also helps changing a flat. Yes, flat tires happen to the best of us. Which is why your essential start-up unit needs to include a flat repair kit as well. An extra tube, levers, pump, and patch kit is as basic as it gets.
Safety when cycling involves a combination of knowledge and cycle gear. It’s vital to not only know the rules of the road, but also the rules of cycling and rights that cyclists have. As a cyclist you have a right to ride on any road open to bicycles (never highways), and any off-road sites designated for cyclists. Open to and designated are key words, because these are the places you will have the necessary measures to ensure a safe ride as far as possible. But cycling is so much more than obeying traffic rules and keeping to dedicated bike lanes. What you’re wearing when going out could be the difference between an exhilarating experience and a tragedy.
The first rule of safety in cycling clothing is visibility. If the drivers of vehicles much bigger and stronger than your bike can see you easily, chances of a collision are greatly reduced. Make sure reflective elements are incorporated into your cycle shorts, jersey, shoes, and helmet. Brighter colors are also easier to spot, so opt for yellow, green, and orange. If you’re embarrassed about how much you resemble someone escaping a carnival of colors, then you’re doing it right. Many cyclists also opt for a bright light to attach to the bike itself. The more visible you are, the safer you’ll be. Protective gear is the last box to check, and includes a good quality helmet, padded gloves, chamois, and cycling shoes.