At ERIK’S we often have people come into our shop who will be doing charity rides for the first time. One of the most common questions we get is, “What cycling gear do I need to complete one of these rides?” Obviously, there are a lot of different rides and lengths, but we’ve put together a list of 8 items that you should have for just about any event.
1. Bike: This one is pretty obvious, but also critical to your success. You should have a bike that fits you, that’s comfortable to ride and that’s in good condition. At just about every ride we support we have people tell us the last time they rode their bike was last winter. Your bike should be as ready to go as you are; get out on a training ride at least once to make sure everything’s in working order. A bike in bad condition isn’t as fun to ride; it could have a flat tire or the brakes could squeal for 30 miles or you could be stuck in the hardest gear on that killer hill. Consider bringing your bike into ERIK’S for a tune-up. If it is time to get a new bike, check out our selection of road bikes or flat bar road bikes – both great options for charity rides.2. Helmet: Again, this might be obvious, but most events won’t allow you to participate without a helmet. We commonly have riders ask for a helmet to borrow because they forgot theirs. It is also important to note that helmets do not last forever. Most manufacturers suggest replacing it every 3-5 year. The foam in the helmet becomes more brittle over time providing less protection. Need a new helmet? Check these out.3. Cycling Shorts: If you are going to be spending a lot of time on the bike, you are going to want to be comfortable. Cycling shorts provide extra padding to protect you from the saddle and minimize chafing. They are typically skin tight to hold the padding in place exactly where you want it. To read more about shorts, check out this blog. Click here to see ERIK’S selection of cycling shorts.4. Water Bottle(s) & Cages: Depending on the length of your ride, you might want a couple bottles. Getting dehydrated can not only ruin a fun day on the bike, it can be dangerous. Most bikes can carry two bottles and there are other ways to add more if necessary. For each water bottle, you’ll need a cage. And don’t forget to fill the bottles before your ride!5. Flat Kit & Tube: Eventually we all get a flat. Don’t wait until you get one to get prepared. Even if you don’t yet know how to change a flat (watch our video here), you should have the tools so that a more knowledgeable rider can assist you. Most flat kits contain some type of small pump or CO2 inflator and a couple tire levers. You will also need a spare tube, but these are sold separately since tires come in a wide range of sizes. Specialized offers a nice starter kit that also comes with a saddle bag and water bottle cages.6. Food: Even if your ride is supported with rest stops, it’s always good to have a little spare energy. You never know when you might be a long way from anything and start to “bonk” or hit the wall – basically, suddenly feeling tired because of low glucose levels. ERIK’S has a number of energy food options that we not only sell but personally use.7. Rain Jacket: It might look like the perfect day, but you never know when weather will sneak up. Riding in the rain isn’t fun, but riding in the rain without a jacket is even less fun. ERIK’S offers a number of cycling specific jacket options that can keep you dry and warm.8. Sunglasses: Depending on the weather and time of day, you might want less tint (or no tint at all), but protection for your eyes is very important. Glasses not only protect your eyes from the glare of the sun, they keep out foreign objects like bugs and dirt from the road. Check out some cool cycling sunglasses here.
We hope this list helps you get ready for your first or next event ride. Make sure to say ‘Hi’ if you see ERIK’S. We support dozens of rides throughout the Midwest. And feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. What item is a “must have” when you ride?