What to wear cycling & how to choose riding essentials?
Cycling is a great way to get around and get fit, and it's a lot more enjoyable with the right gear. When you're safe and comfortable you can relax and enjoy the ride when you're in the saddle, whether you're riding to work or heading off on relaxed cruises or adrenalin-pumping adventures. Here we talk you through a few cycling accessories and clothes for many safe and happy bike rides.
What's the best cycling gear for you?
Working out what you'll need to buy is easier when you break it down into these nine steps:
1. The Saddle
- Have soft padding under your pressure points so you won't get as sore while riding.
- Be designed with men or women's bodies in mind, whereas others are gender neutral.
- Be categorised by what they're best suited for-racing, comfort or just cruising around.
- Is thin at the front so you can lift out of your seat and lean on your hands to gain speed.
- Gives you a wide range of movement and prevent the tops on your inner thighs chaffing.
- Is usually a lot harder to sit on (so less comfortable) and also a lot lighter than other types.
- Is wider and has more padding so you can stay comfortable while cycling all day long.
- Can have suspension so you don't feel the impact of bumpy roads or gravel as much.
- Is designed for casual riding at a leisurely pace.
- Gives you plenty of cushioning and support along the entire seat.
2. Storage on your Bike
Whether you're riding to work, the shops, or for a day or a week, you'll probably want either a:
A saddle bag under your seat and is big enough for all your essentials.
A pannier than a backpack, it fits to the front or back, and some have a water bladder pocket.
Top Tube Bag
Sits on the top tube bag and bike head for quick access while riding.
A basket is a simple way to carry things but doesn't protect against thieves or bad weather.
Bags are usually made from either nylon or polyester.
- Polyester dries quickly but it's less durable overall than nylon.
- Nylon is stronger and softer, which is a plus if you're wearing the bag on your body.
3. Bike Racks and Stands
Car Bike Racks
Car bike racks can be attached to the top or back of your car.
Top of Car (TOC) Bike Racks
Bike racks that go on top of your car:
- Can only be installed on compatible roof racks (so check this before buying).
- Can transport your bike with the front wheel left on or taken off:
- Wheel-on racks secure the bike by the wheels and/or frame (so you don't have to take the wheel off and put it on again - perfect for bikes with front suspension).
- Wheel-off bike racks reduce the height of the bike handlebars and may need additional fork adapters or a "WheelHouse" to carry your front wheel.
- Some models are simple to get set up and can be installed without needing any tools.
Rear of Car (ROC) Bike Racks
Bike racks that go at the back of your car:
- Attach to the rear of your car via:
- The spare wheel.
- A hitch receiver (a mast-style bike carrier).
- Boot or hatch straps.
- Make it easier to get your bike on and off but can limit access to your car's tailgate.
- Can carry multiple bikes on one bike rack.
- Some models:
- Tilt away from the car to give you access to the back of the car.
- Have cradles to keep bikes stable so they don't sway and get damaged.
- Have handy built-in bottle openers to open your cold drinks.
- Have a Same Key System (SKS) for the bike rack locks (with one universal key) to prevent theft (and if not you can buy a compatible SKS separately).
Home Bike Racks
The best way to store your bike at home comes down to the space you have. You can use:
A folding stand:
- Can easily be packed away when you're not using them to store your bike.
- Folds up flat so is perfect for smaller homes and apartments.
A clamp stand:
- Can be adjusted to suit the exact width of your bike's frame.
- Rotating bike clamps can swivel around to give you easier access.
- Soft clamp heads prevent your bike's paint from being damaged.
- Can be height adjusted to:
- Suit the height of your bike.
- Create storage space underneath.
A wall mount:
- Gets your bike up on the wall and out of the way to save floor space.
- Is a great storage option if you live in a small home or apartment.
4. Bike Computers and Trainers
With a bike computer you can:
- Track your rides.
- Measure your speed.
- Get your heart rate and power information.
The computer you want depends on what kind of information you want. Some show your:
- Current ride statistics like speed, distance and time - perfect for casual cyclists.
- Average and maximum speed, plus personal bests and progress - for regular cyclists.
- Heart rate, calories burned and power output - for racers and those in serious training.
Computers can either be:
- Wireless- they communicate with a sensor on your wheel.
- Connected - the wires connect to your wheel and transfer data.
With a bike trainer you can get on your bike and train inside if weather or life gets in the way.
How do bike trainers work and are bike trainers worth it?
A bike trainer connects to your bike's back wheel, and you can usually adjust the resistance.
When you've got a bike trainer you can:
- Watch TV or the kids while you train (changing gears and braking normally).
- Improve your fitness and speed (by training in any weather, any time of day).
- Warm up before races and cool down after racing.
What bike trainer should I buy?
When it comes to how to buy a bike trainer, think about which of type suits your needs best:
- Wind Resistance
- As you pedal a wheel-fan creates wind resistance (faster pedalling, more resistance).
- A realistic, outdoor feeling (but you can't control resistance and there's a maximum).
- Magnetic Resistance
- A magnetic flywheel generates the back-wheel resistance.
- Almost silent but the resistance is more limited compared to other trainers.
- Fluid Resistance
- Magnetic flywheels immersed in fluid generate the resistance.
- Almost silent and gives you good progressive variable resistance.
- Only down side is the potential for over-heating (it's very unlikely).
Then weigh up:
- How much the noise levels matter (wind-based trainers are the loudest).
- If you want to be able to change your resistance (only magnetic and fluid trainers do this).
- Which trainer cost is in line with your budget (Fluid trainers are the most expensive).
- How often you'll use it (and whether it's worth investing in a trainer that lasts).
5. Water & Energy Gels
You'll need to carry a lot of water to stay hydrated, especially if you're working up a sweat.
Make sure you take either a:
- A water bottle:
- Plastic water bottles are durable and lightweight.
- Steel water bottles insulate your water so it stays cool, even on hot days.
- Attaching a bottle holder to the frame keeps your water within easy reach.
- Water Bladder:
- You may also want to take:
If you're doing a:
- Short day ride
- Carry enough clean water to last the journey.
- Most of the time, 3L should be enough.
- If you'll be working up a sweat or the weather will be hot, carry more.
- Longer or multi-day mountain bike rides and can't take all your water, you'll need to
- Take a water purification method with you.
- Collect water from taps and rivers on the way.
- Purify the water to remove bacteria and debris.
Always check the signs at camp sites and on trails to see if the water is safe to drink.
How do energy gels work ?
Are energy gels good for you when cycling long distances?
How do you use energy gels?
You just put one end in your mouth and squeeze the other end with one hand until it's empty. The Australian Institute of Sport recommends consuming 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour while cycling.
6. Taking the Kids
If you want to take the kids on bike rides, keeping them safe and secure will be the top priority. A child seat can come in handy, even if your child is old enough to ride a bike or trike, they may decide they don't want to ride for very long!
All kids on a bike (whether they're on their own bike or sitting in a child seat or a parent's bike) must wear a helmet by law. The helmet has to be fitted properly and the smallest helmets are for kids who are 12 months old.
Baby & Kids' Bike Seats
- Attaches securely to the back or front of your bike and clips your baby in with seat belts.
- Usually has panels to support the baby's head.
- Can be designed to mount onto your bike frame at either the:
- Front - which allows you to keep an eye on your child.
- Back - gives you better bike control as the seat won't obstruct your arms and knees.
Trailer for Kids and Pets
A bike trailer:
- Attaches to the back of your bike and can be used to transport children or pets.
- Rolls along the ground behind your bike and is:
- Best used on quiet streets or in parks or bike paths.
- Great when you want to take more than one child.
How do you buy a kids bike and how can you buy a kids bike online?
The most important things is to get the right size. So how do you choose a bike size for a kid? Get the tape measure out and record their height. When you go to the Kids Bikes page on the Anaconda website you'll see Rider Height on the left side of the page. Select the relevant height range so you only see bikes in that range on the page.
All Anaconda's children's products are Australian safety rated.
Make sure you protect your own safety and your bike.
Staying safe needs to be your number one priority so make sure you:
- Always tell someone where you'll be biking and when you're due back.
- Take safety essentials with you-especially if you're going mountain biking remotely:
- A locator beacon that sends out a GPS signal to track and locate you if you get lost.
- A whistle to attract attention if search and rescue teams are out looking for you.
- A first aid kit and check it has everything you need in it before you set out.
Are bike helmets required by law?
How does a bike helmet protect your head?
If you fall off your bike, wearing a helmet can be the difference between survival and death - escaping unscathed or having a serious head injury.
There are different helmets for different riding styles:
- Mountain bike helmets keep you cool at lower speeds and can have a visor.
- Road bike helmets keep you cooler at higher speeds and are more aerodynamic.
How do you size a bike helmet?
A good bike helmet should fit snuggly with no gap between your head and the inner lining.
Where should you buy a bike helmet from?
You can buy helmets from Anaconda online and in your nearest Anaconda store.
What is a bike light ?
- Help drivers and pedestrians see you riding at sunset, night or if visibility is poor.
- Help you see what's in front of you.
- The more lumens a light has, the brighter the light will be.
How do bike lights work?
Some bike lights are:
- Battery-powered so you always need to take a spare set of batteries (even rechargeables).
- Rechargeable themselves, so you plug the light into your power at home to recharge.
How do you attach bike lights?
You can get lights that are permanently mounted to your bike that you switch on and off, or lights you clip on and off if you don't need to use them that often.
- Front lights attach the front of the bike - they're white and come in different voltages to give you more or less power.
- Back lights attach to the back of the bike - they must be red so other vehicles can see you.
You can also wear a headlamp:
- That follows your line of sight so you can see in all directions by turning your head.
- These should always be used with front and back lights for extra protection-never alone.
Where is the best place to buy bike lights?
How do you securely lock a bike?
Locks can be operated with a security code or padlock.
What bike lock should you buy?
There are three different types of locks:
- Are U-shaped and a simple way to secure your bike.
- Small ones attach one of your wheels to a bike rack.
- Large ones attach both bike wheels to the rack.
- Can sometimes be heavy.
- Are lighter to carry.
- Can have a key lock or code lock.
- Are less secure than other locks.
- Are strong and sturdy and the hardest lock to break into.
- Are heaviest so best for home or work-not lugging around on your bike all day!
Where can you buy a bike lock near you?
Getting lost is no fun for anyone, so take everything you need to stay on track.
A GPS device:
- Is portable, waterproof, easy-to-use devices are perfect for day hikes.
- Is a lot tougher than mobile phones and the battery usually lasts a lot longer.
- You'll need to take spare batteries (or a portable charger if you're using your phone).
A paper map:
- Should be taken even if you're taking a GPS device or phone.
- That's topographic helps you work out the way to go based on steep slopes and landmarks.
- Practise using a topographic map on short hikes until you get the hang of it.
- Use a ruler and pen to mark start and end points, or your entire route on the map.
- Should be stored in a waterproof case so it doesn't get wet and ruined in the rain.
A baseplate compass:
- Is used with your topographic map to find your way (your phone might die).
- Should be taken even if you have a phone with a built-in compass.
A satellite phone:
- Is important for mountain bike or road riding in remote locations with iffy phone signal.
- Can be used in case of an emergency such as an injury, bushfire, or if you get lost mobiles.
Plan your route before you go to give yourself the best chance of not getting lost!
8. Cycling Clothing
The right cycling clothing can keep you comfortable, dry and at the right temperature.
What to wear cycling?
It's best to wear three layers when you go riding, each with a different purpose:
- A base layer (or thermals) - which draws moisture away from your body.
- A mid layer - which insulates you and keeps you warm.
- An outer layer - which protects you from wind, rain and snow.
You may also want to wear:
- Lycra shorts with padding in the bottom (so you're comfortable).
- Arm and or/leg warmers when you're out riding in cold weather.
- Gloves to keep your hand warm and avoid getting blisters.
What is the best mountain bike clothing?
It's also the three layers above! Then you can add and take off layers as you get hot or cold-which is important on long mountain bike rides.
When you're shopping for cycling clothing, keep in mind:
- They're cut to fit best when you're leaning over your handlebars, so tops have a long back and legwear has a higher waistband.
- Arms are often longer than normal to stop wrists being exposed when you move around.
- The material:
- Allows you to move easily and doesn't bunch up and chafe on your skin.
- Is often designed to draw moisture and sweat away from skin so you stay dry.
- If you'll ever cycle at dusk, night or in poor weather, go for bright, fluorescent clothes with reflective panels so other people can see you.
Where can you purchase mountain bike clothing online?
How do you clip and unclip bike shoes?
Like clicking a ski boot into a ski, you put the front of the shoe into the clip of the pedal then click the back of the shoe in, and once that foot's in you do the other shoe.
How to install cleats on road bike shoes?
You can just screw the cleats into your bike shoes, or your local bike shop can do it for you.
Are bike shoes safer than runners?
When you're weighing up which cycling gear to buy, think about quality versus cost.
The materials everything is made from affects the price and determines:
- How comfortable you'll be when you're riding.
- How durable and long-lasting the gear will be.
- If you'll only do short rides every now and then, cheaper gear should do the trick.
- If you'll be riding a lot, it's worth spending more on good-quality gear that will keep you safe, comfortable and stand the test of time.
When you go to the Anaconda website, select Cycling from the menu on the top, then select what you're looking for. You'll see tick box filters on the left hand side of the page which makes working out what to buy easier and faster because you can choose to filter what you see by:
- Price - so you only see what's within your budget.
- Deal - so you only see what's on sale or at clearance prices.
- Size - so you just see what's available in the size you want.
- Colour - so you only see options in the colours you like.
- Category - so you just see the kind of gear you're looking for.
- Brand - so you can find a specific brand you like.