With road bike riding numbers soaring in the past year thanks to cycling rock stars such as Lizzie Armitstead and Bradley Wiggins thrusting the sport firmly into the public eye even more, there are huge amounts of people taking to the roads. If you’re looking to start road cycling, we’ve set up a little beginners guide to highlight what you’ll need and how much on average things will cost.
Get your old bike serviced or get a mechanic to check over your new bike so they can get it purring before you head out on the road. You will then be able to maintain it from here on in unless you get a mechanical difficulty that you cannot handle however 90% of issues can easily be fixed by yourself.
Foot Pump (£10)
Here’s a tip – buy a foot pump with a gauge on it so you know you have pumped your tyres up to the recommended levels. You can check this by looking on the inside of the tyre where it will tell you the recommended PSI. By keeping your tyres pumped up correctly you will get far fewer of the dreaded punctures and also you will find riding much smoother and more enjoyable. And you will go faster!
Hand Pump (£15)
Tyre levels (metal ones - £5)
Spare inner tube (£5)
There’s no way around this simple fact, at some point in time you will get a puncture. Now don’t be one of those folk that has to take your bike to a shop to get fixed, all you need are these 3 simple items; a decent quality hand pump, some tyre levers and a spare inner tube. If you have never done this before practice at home first taking your tyre and tube on and off. With a little practice and knowhow (and here is where handy “how to” Youtube videos are your friend) you will be able to replace your tube and pump it back up in a matter of minutes.
Puncture repair kit (£5)
Keep that tube you have replaced, as most of the time you will be able to fix the tube with a puncture repair kit and save yourself the cost of a new inner tube.
Here is where we come on to the safety aspect of cycling. Many people feel more comfortable and safer wearing a helmet. If you are intending on riding on the road at speed then make sure you get a good quality helmet, with any luck it will never be needed!
Lights – Front and Rear (£10)
Vital for visibility if you are riding in the dark or in poor visibility. Make sure you carry some spare batteries (£2) with you just in case you run out while on the road.
Panniers and pannier rack (£70+)
After a while you may find that you are using your bike for all sorts of journeys, such as shopping, that you would otherwise have taken by car or you may even fancy heading off on a cycling holiday. When you do you will need to get some good quality panniers and a pannier rack. Now this is where you will have to make an investment, a good quality pair of panniers is going to set you back a few quid and you need to buy them from a quality brand. If you get a pair for under £70 you are either getting a bargain or you have purchased a pair that will last less than a year before they fall apart and you have to replace them. Good panniers should last you 10 years plus so the investment in a good pair will pay off long term.
Lycra (£10 to £100+)
If you want to go the whole hog and go for the Mamil look (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) then you can get kitted out in padded cycling shorts and tops. For serious road biking over long distances these are well advised for comfort and to avoid chafing however there are many cyclists who use their bikes as utility vehicles and are able to cycle in their normal everyday clothing.