THE ESSENTIALS

The Essentials

You got the bike. Hooray! Now what else do you need to pursue your new cycling lifestyle?

We’ve put together a small list of the essentials products every rider needs. And while we won’t discuss style or brand, you can use this as a guide to make sure you’ve got the right equipment to ride in safety and comfort.

If there’s any piece of the puzzle you’re missing, swing by one of our shops and talk to our staff to get personalized recommendations for any of the products listed below. Our staff is here to share their love of cycling and to give you real world information, so that when it comes time to purchase, you can make an informed decision.

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Essential numero uno, a helmet is absolutely necessary anytime you ride. When accidents happen, you'll be surprised how quickly they occur and how little time there is to react. All helmets sold in the US ( no matter the cost) have met or exceeded minimum safety guidelines. What you're really paying for is the weight, ventilation, aerodynamics and fit. The discrepancy in helmet pricing is fairly severe, but plan on spending from $40-$80 to get something comfortable and stylish.

*Most manufacturers recommend replacing your helmet every three years, as UV can damage it's ability to cushion during a fall. Always replace a cracked helmet, or one that's been in an accident.

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The number of people who buy a bike with no floor pump is astonishing, as maintaining proper tire pressure is one of the essentials of bike maintenance. The rubber in tubes is slightly porous, so plan on pumping up your tires a couple times a week to maintain proper pressure. Not sure what that pressure is? Well it can vary depending on terrain, rider weight and wheel size. Be sure to ask your salesperson what the right tire pressure is for you.

Under inflated tires can be dangerous in corners, wear faster, have a greater chance of puncture, and can lead to a damaged or ruined rim.

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Aah, chain lube... Here's one that a lot of people forget. An $8 bottle of chain lube is the absolute best way to protect your expensive drive train. Plan to lube your chain every hundred miles, or anytime after you ride in inclement weather. There are many lubes on the market and each mechanic has their favorite, but no bike specific lube will damage your bike. The entire process takes about 1 minute, and our service staff will be happy to show you how.

*FYI, WD-40 Bike is great to put on your chain. WD-40 in a spray can from Home Depot is definitely not.

essential-lights.jpg

Highly recommended for cloudy days, rainy days, urban riding, or pretty much anytime you get on your bike. Taking a wrong turn at dusk, or leaving before sunrise to get in the miles can be more dangerous than you think, and a small investment in a rechargeable light set can literally save your life. What's more, in many cities a front a rear light are required by law for nighttime cycling.

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Flats happen, and having the necessary tools to fix one can save you a multi-mile hike, or a long wait by the side of the road. A proper flat kit contains tire levers, a portable inflation system (CO2 or travel pump) and of course, tubes. Not sure what tube size, or where to start? Give us a call. Also check out the many flat change tutorials available online

*If you're unsure about your flat change skills or you're going on a long ride, bring a couple tubes and some extra CO2 with you.

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An essential for city riding. We could talk more about the necessity of a lock, but the proof is in the number of "Look out for my stolen bike" phone calls we receive each and every day. Bike theft is real, and a quality lock can protect your investment. We recommend a U-lock plus cable lock combo, but really anything will help.

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Modern multi-tools are lightweight, small, and exceptionally handy to have on a ride. The ability to tighten a cleat screw, a water bottle cage bolt or even open a Topo Chico at a convenience store is an invaluable asset. What's more, most bike bolts are metric, and using the standard allen wrench from your tool box to tighten your seat post may do nothing but strip the bolt.

essential-jersey.jpg

Perhaps not for city riding, but having a technical top is necessary for any longer ride. This can be anything from a dry fit t-shirt to a full fledged cycling specific jersey. The benefit to investing in a cycling jersey is that it boasts rear pockets for carrying your multi-tool, phone and ID, as well as an articulated fit that's more comfortable in an on-bike position. Mountain bikers often prefer looser jerseys while road riders and triathletes prefer form fitting, aerodynamic tops.

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While the uninitiated may not consider padded shorts an essential, anyone whose worn a pair will certainly disagree. In fact, it could be argued that a good pair of padded shorts has saved many riders relationship with their bike. As the price goes up on these, so does the quality of the pad and the number of panels used to create the short. Like most things in cycling, there's a huge swing in price and the devil is in the details. While black shorts may look the same, the differences in quality can vary dramatically so it's always a good idea to get some input from our sales staff before taking the plunge.

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In case you forgot, it's really hot in Texas. Most cyclists will go through a water bottle an hour to stay properly hydrated, so having water with you is essential to, you know, stay alive. Pretty much any water bottle will do, and we also stock some nice insulated options that really do work.

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