Accessories

The right accessories on your bike make your ride fun and safe. For an easy reckoner on what to carry on your ride, click http://cyclistsforlife.com/faqs/accessories/.

In this section, we will talk a little more in detail about the different kinds of accessories.


Lights:

Light have two different functions on a bicycle: to help you see and be seen by others. Smaller, dimmer, less expensive lights essentially do the latter make you visible to traffic and pedestrians. Larger, more expensive, higher output lights fulfill both conditions you can see and be seen.

The technology behind bike lights has evolved a lot in the last few years. Today, most lights use LEDs, not filament bulbs or halogens. LEDs are incredibly efficient, with high output in return for low power consumption. Some specialised lights intended for the trail, or training in the night, emit outputs in excess of 1000 lumens, which makes them brighter than a car headlight! Batteries are another area where we’ve seen a lot of development, with everything from USB-chargeable, NiCad rechargeable, to regular AA and AAA battery-powered lights available.

Generally, the rule that ‘brighter is better’ is a good one to follow. Also keep in mind, though, how much lateral visibility your light has; it’s good if you can be seen from an angle as well. This is especially true of tail lights.

Personally, we like to combine two lights – a spotlight and a spread. This way, you can see the area directly in front and to the sides of where you are riding, as well as have the spot lighting up the road some meters in front. In town, we like to have the spreading light on flash mode, to alert vehicles and pedestrians.

When putting down your hard-earned money for a light, think about:

  • Where you commute: brightly lit roads or dim trails. Choose a brighter light for dim roads.
  • The length of your ride: you want to have a margin of comfort, so that your lights stay bright right through your ride.
  • Your budget: buy the best you can afford. Remember, lights go through a lot of abuse, with road crud and rain. Quality light

For a better understanding of the technology and types, and to understand which is right for you, click on http://road.cc/content/feature/10417-buyers-guide-finding-best-cycle-lights-you


Helmets:

We can’t overemphasise the importance of wearing a helmet. Buy and wear a good quality helmet, one that fits you well. There are different sorts of helmets. MTB helmets often have visors to keep the sunâ’s glare out,  road bike helmets  have an aerodynamic shape to minimize wind resistance, and commuter helmets are sometimes simple-looking bowl-type designs (sometimes with art on them).  Here are some examples of each type:

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/article/best-road-helmets-33911/

http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/article/best-mountain-bike-trail-helmets-35496/

http://www.complex.com/rides/2012/05/the-10-best-bicycle-helmets-for-urban-commuters/

 

Modern cycle helmets are lightweight, vented, and provide good protection in the event of a fall. So, what are the top things to look out for when buying a helmet?

Fit: The helmet should sit level just above your ears, and be snug but not tight when you tighten the adjusting band. You should not be able to pull it off your head, or move it by more than an inch or so, when you fasten the chinstrap.

Vents:  When you are working hard, a lot of heat is trying to escape through the top of your head. That is where vents come in, as a heat dissipation tool. Typically, the larger the vents, and the more the number of vents, the cooler your head. Still, the placement and design of the vents plays a key role in the cooling performance – and strength – of your helmet.

Quality: Ensure that your helmet has the CE stamp, so you know it meets quality standards.

Retirement: The EPS (the foam-type material that forms the inside of your helmet) gets hard over time, and loses structural integrity in a crash. Replace your helmet every 3-5 years, and certainly after a crash. The damage might not be visible, but the shell will not continue to function in the way it was designed.

To know more about helmets, click on http://www.helmets.org/guide.htm


Cable locks:
Buy a lock five to six feet in length. This will allow you to run it through the both wheels and the frame, and anchor it to something immovable for security.


Cycling glasses:

Good glasses help make your ride more comfortable. They cut out the glare, and protect your eyes from dust, insects, and low overhanging branches. Things to look out for in a good pair of glasses:

Visual acuity: good glasses should enhance the quality of the image. Look for polarized or just overall high-quality lenses.

Protection: your glasses should be shatter-resistant. Look for polycarbonate or trivex.

Style: Your glasses should ideally have a wrap-around style. This helps with flying debris, wind, and glare, especially on long rides or if you wear contact lenses.

UV protection: the sun can play havoc with your naked eyes. Look for 100% UV protection. Both polycarbonate and trivex offer 100% UV protection, even with clear lenses.

Fit: The weight of the glasses should rest on your nose and ears. They should be snug but not tight this can give you a headache over a long ride.

Grippy nosepiece and temples: For cycling, as with any cardio activity, it makes sense to have rubber nosepieces and temples. More expensive pairs can have nose and temple contact points that get tacky and increase their grip with sweat.

Lens colour: Rides happen at different times of the day, in different light conditions. Interchangeable lenses (usually 2-4 lenses) allow you the maximum flexibility in finding the right colour of lens for the conditions. It is not just about the darkest colour in the brightest light; some colours can help increase contrast and help with depth perception. To understand how different lens colours help in different conditions, as well as more about sunglasses in general, read http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/sunglasses.html


 Kickstands:
Kickstands make sense on commuter bikes. We don’t advise using them on your MTB, unless it is used purely as a commuter bike. And on a road bike, it is absolute heresy :). For a bike you use to run down to the shops, or a tourer, it is perfect. We suggest a kickstand that mounts on to the rear triangle, between the chain stays and the seat stays, because it will not interfere with derailleur action or with your pedaling. Like this http://happyearth.in/store/product.php?id_product=130


Multi-tools:
A multi-tool is essential. If you are new to cycling, it is your all-in-one home mechanic kit. If you are an avid cyclist, it is repairs on the go. A multi-tool should have at least 4, 5, and 6 mm Allen keys, a Philips screwdriver, and a flat-head screwdriver. It should also be strong enough to withstand the pressures put on it by using multiple tools. Bigger, more expensive multi-tools have greater levels of complexity, with some even featuring chain tools. Some of the best are from Park Tools http://www.parktool.com/category/multi-tools


Clipless pedals:
Once you are comfortable on your bike, your thoughts might drift over to how to go faster and have more control on the bike. Clipless pedals, which have cleats that attach to the pedals, help you do that. These cleats are rather like ski bindings, and enable you to generate a higher cadence and exert more force on the pedals, thus go faster. To disengage, simply rotate your foot outwards.

The term ‘clipless pedals’ itself is a misnomer, because these pedals have cleats that clip you in. The term comes from the fact that an earlier generation of pedals had toe-clips that anchored your feet to the pedals. Since those pedals had clips, these cleated pedals are called clipless pedals. There are different types of clipless pedals, for road and mountain bikes.

If you are going to be using clipless pedals on your commute, we suggest using MTB pedals, as these are simpler to use, and to get in and out of.

For road bikes, there are different manufacturers that make pedal-cleat combinations. Most are variants of the Shimano SPD-SL design. There are also the highly regarded (and expensive) Speedplay.

For more information on how to choose your clipless pedals, click http://www.cyclorama.net/viewArticle.php?id=352


Panniers and racks:
These are designed with the express purpose of getting the freight off your back and onto the bike. A rack is normally constructed of aluminium or steel tubing, and fits onto the front or rear of your bike. It is made to take the panniers (bags) that hook onto the top of the rack, and are retained at the bottom.

By taking the load off your bag and onto the bike, you ride cooler and drier a big deal in our climate. Modern panniers are well designed, and can accommodate a laptop, shoes, and a change of clothes, depending on capacity. Here’s what we sell: http://www.freeload.co.nz/pages/13/The-System


Car racks:
In India, we see primarily two kinds of racks – roof mounted and trunk mounted. Trunk-mounted racks are cheaper, quicker to install, and can be used across different cars. On the negative side, they are not very secure, and the cycles protrude out from one side of the car, creating a traffic risk ( we had an accident with a trunk rack with three cycles on it a few years ago, and refuse to use one since). In addition, using one means you can’t use your boot, and theft is quite easy.

Roof mounted racks are way safer, and more expensive. The cycles are secured by the front fork and back wheel. They are out of the way of traffic, and can easily be transported on bad roads. There are security locks you can install on roof racks, and your car’s boot space remains usable. The only problem with conventional roof racks is that they are car specific. You can’t, for example, lift your roof rack off your Chevy Beat and transplant it on to your Honda City. However, there is a very interesting and high-quality product that has the best of both worlds a roof rack with the portability of a trunk rack http://www.seasucker.com/product-category/bike-racks/