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I've got a bike and a helmet: what else do I really need?

Bob SnephewBob Snephew Posts: 3
edited August 2013 in Road beginners
I haven't had a proper bike for many years: I used running as my main exercise for many years, and the bikes of my youth were left in garages of houses long since moved out of.

A few years ago I bought a bike shaped object: a Halfords Apollo hybrid that I use for occasional yomps through woodland paths with the family, but have also tried to use for a local one hour road circuit. Part of me reasoned that the bike is so heavy, inefficient and has such high rolling resistance that as a means of exercise, it couldn't be beaten. I must have been be burning many more calories dragging that beast around a one hour loop than I might on half a day's trip on a more road-worthy machine.

But I have overcome this warped, spendthrift logic to get myself a 'proper bike': a Specialised Allez through a local bike shop, 18 months old and serviced pre-purchase for £325.

In what most of you will consider a retrograde step, I've replaced the SPD SL pedals with flats from the other bike, as that is all I'm used to: clipless pedals with normal trainers were very slippery.

On my exercise rides to date, I have simply had a T shirt, tracksuit trousers, a helmet, trainers, and if it's hot a light rucksack with a bottle in it (to racing involved, so I'm happy to stop for a minute to take a swig). My ambition is to be able to vary the routes my hour or so exercise runs by going a little farther, do runs of slightly greater duration more often because I trust they won't be quite so knackering, and in time maybe do some 40-50 mile sportives or social club rides, and maybe 60-70 mile ones eventually.

So how much is all the extra stuff I see advertised and discussed necessary for this set of goals? Bearing in mind that I'm a cheapskate and not inclined to spend silly money (it'll probably be from e-bay), is it worth bothering with road bike shoes? How much hassle to get used to? How much benefit in efficiency?

What about clothing? I don't think that my speed is such that flapping t-shirt is a major drag factor, and unless I lose a couple of stone, the weight difference is negligible. How vital are padded shorts? Normal waist or bib? Does a cycling jersey make any more difference to a cyclist than a Man Utd replica shirt makes to a Sunday morning footballer?

Is there any point in other gear? A glance at my watch at certain points of the regular circuits has done me so far in terms of speed analysis. How far would I need to be travelling for it to be worth getting a hydration backpack rather than a bottle in a cage?

Any advice very welcome.

Posts

  • dferris83dferris83 Posts: 4
    I agree that how much is necessary. I guess people's budget always comes into play. However, after minimal outings on my new bike I can already sense that the padded shorts are a must. Myou may also feel the same after your first 40/50 mile club ride.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,919
    To a first approximation, you have everything you absolutely need.

    After a while you'll discover that censored comfort becomes a bit limiting on longer rides. Proper clothing really is more comfortable than trackies, and eventually if your feet slip off the pedals from time to time you may see the benefit of pedals that can't slip off.

    Wearing a rucksack, light or not, is also uncomfortable on longer rides - it will stick to your back and raise your CG, so you'll eventually decide you want a wicking jersey, and a little saddlebag to hold the bits you'll need to fix a puncture.

    You can see where I'm going - you should get out and enjoy the bike first and foremost - get the rest of it as and when you decide you need it.

    Muddy Fox is a decentish cheap brand; DHB from Wiggle.co.uk is reasonably priced and much better quality.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Mikey41Mikey41 Posts: 690
    The others have it spot on. With road bike saddles, I would consider padded shorts a must. You can get away with T shirts, but a proper jersey is better as it takes the sweat away and dries quickly, keeping you both cool and warm. They also have handy pockets in the back :)

    No need to break the bank on them at first, but the shorts are more important. Another vote for DHB from Wiggle here. Good value stuff.

    Backpack: not many roadies will wear one on long rides, it makes your back really sweaty. For drinks, just fit a couple of bottle cages and use some 750ml bottles. If you want to stop for a drink, just stop, it's not against the rules ;)

    Pedals: use flats if you want, nothing "wrong" with them. You can try clipless later on, they seem a bit intimidating at first, but they are better as you don't need to keep moving your feet back into proper position. Since they are held there, you can just concentrate on pedalling rather than where your feet are. They take a little getting used to, and you need to remember to unclip well before you think you need to stop, but pretty soon it all seems completely normal.

    Only other thing I can think of is a saddlebag, to hold a spare tube and puncture patch kit, and also a mini pump.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
    Strava
  • marylogicmarylogic Posts: 355
    Watch out for lidl and aldi cycling promotions - their stuff is good enough and very good value for money. Sometimes folks post on here when the promos are coming up. even those of us cycling for a while will still pick up bits and pieces.
  • Like you I'm just now (this week) getting going and also coming from MTB leisure rides. I did road ride when I was a teenager and if there's 2 things I remember it's the huge difference clipped pedals and shoes make plus shorts that make it all comfortable. I also bought a 2nd hand bike this week and I also got some 2nd hand almost new shoes, I've changed the cleats and cleaned them up and can't wait to remind myself of that efficient feeling they bring: push/pull/push rather than push/push. I did see some Shimano basic road shoes in Decathlon on on Saturday for around €40 plus cleats.

    Also I've just stocked up on spare inner tubes and puncture repair kits.....
  • doug5_10doug5_10 Posts: 465
    Absolute essentials: One bike plus one human being.

    'Everyday' essentials: Bottles + cages (rucksacks are pointless for road rides, especially if wearing a jersey with pockets), bib-shorts, helmet and spares/tool kit.

    'Finishing touch' essentials: Cycling specific jersey, shoes, clipless pedals.

    See below for a reply I wrote from a similar thread a while back:

    Check out Wiggle and search on here for opinions on the DHB Aeron Pro bib-shorts (always get bibs, not waist gripper shorts). Benchmark for 'budget' performance shorts, similar to several £100+ models. These are the one thing to invest in wisely.

    After bottles + cages, shorts and a helmet; you need a spares/tool kit to carry with you (saddlebags are good for this)
    This should contain spare tubes x2, patch kit, multitool (with chaintool), tyre levers minimum. Can also have spoke key, tyre boot, chain quick-link, zip-ties, ducktape, latex gloves, kitchen sink; whatever you might need in an emergency! Also need to carry a mini-pump or CO2 for re-inflation.

    Once you are doing distances that might requires taking food with you (30-40+ miles) I would consider a cycling specific jersey with rear pockets for carrying bits and pieces.

    The last 'essential' that I would then get would be shoes and clipless pedals.
    Edinburgh Revolution Curve
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/1920048
  • AlitogataAlitogata Posts: 148
    Lights plus some or all of the above, when your budget allows you to buy them. But first take care of your safety, have your helmet and front and back lights. When you'll get stronger and be able to make longer distances, you can consider to buy special cycling clothing, shoes, pedals etc. etc. etc.
  • IanRCarterIanRCarter Posts: 217
    Lights aren't vital if OP isn't riding in the dark. Aldi/Lidl will usually sell a set of lights for cheap when they have their stuff on and they also sell cycle computers which are good value. So are their socks and gloves at around £3 a pair. The sunglasses they sell are good for the price, better than many other budget sunnies and you really should get some - they protect your eyes from the rubbish flying about in the hair.

    As mentioned above by a couple of people, DHB from Wiggle is great value kit.

    Nobody's mentioned this, but some cleaning equipment is a good idea. In particular, keeping the chain clean is a must. See this guide on cleaning a bike http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/w ... ike-18259/.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    IanRCarter wrote:
    Lights aren't vital if OP isn't riding in the dark.
    Rear light is advisable - especially on longer rides where you may get caught in the rain.

    I had mine on this morning (daylight) because it was a drizzle, riding on a country A road. Cars had their headlights on too - so doubly important that I could be seen. My rear light is permanently fitted to the bike.
    Dark/winter rides are different - I'll have at least two lights + reflectives on then....
  • slowbike wrote:
    IanRCarter wrote:
    Lights aren't vital if OP isn't riding in the dark.
    Rear light is advisable - especially on longer rides where you may get caught in the rain.

    I had mine on this morning (daylight) because it was a drizzle, riding on a country A road. Cars had their headlights on too - so doubly important that I could be seen. My rear light is permanently fitted to the bike.
    Dark/winter rides are different - I'll have at least two lights + reflectives on then....

    1+
  • slowbike wrote:
    IanRCarter wrote:
    Lights aren't vital if OP isn't riding in the dark.
    . My rear light is permanently fitted to the bike.
    Dark/winter rides are different - I'll have at least two lights + reflectives on then....

    I have 2 front and 2 rear. Whenever I am using that bike there will be 2 flashing at front and 1 flashing at rear regardless of lighting/time of day conditions. Except for night when there will be 1 flashing and 1 steady front and back
    Graham

    Cube lightening hpc race 2012 - red,white and blue
  • You don't need a hydration backpack, for any distance on a road bike. If you are going a particularly long way you carry two bottles, if you need more than two bottles then figure out where to stop to fill them up. Any more than that is extra weight you don't need.

    Cycling jerseys, the thing I've found with them over t-shirts is the pockets, no pockets in t-shirts! So you can't wear cycling shorts because they have no pockets either, so you have to wear shorts with pockets which means all the stuff in your pockets jangles up and down as you ride - not idea. So proper cycling jersey and cycling shorts is the best idea; all mine come from Aldi :)
  • NavrigNavrig Posts: 1,352
    Most people have said it - comfort is the deciding factor.

    However it is worth persevering and coming on here for advice on what to buy and what to avoid. Some budget stuff is simply a waste of money whilst other budget stuff offers great VFM (especially compared to the top-end stuff).

    If I were you my next purchases would be:

    bottle/bottle cage (s)
    bib shorts
    shoes - I've seen several people comment that you should avoid Muddy Fox shoes. Whatever you do, go to a shop and try them on first.
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