Great road biking equipment will help you get the most out of your bike rides. Road bikes are fast, lightweight and designed to be ridden on long stretches of pavement, and the best equipment will help you stay safe and visible to cars. Read on to discover a few of the best pieces of road biking equipment.
If you're like most road bikers, you're used to riding for miles and miles at a time. Even on smooth pavement, this can cause irritation to your joints and skin, especially near the seat. Banish sore tailbones with a great pair of bike shorts, which have padded or gel inserts to give you extra cushioning and protection against your seat. For women, the Canari Gel Liner works wonders. Available at REI, these tight-fitting shorts are designed to be worn underneath a pair of regular athletic pants or shorts to provide extra padding. The gel inserts are specifically designed to protect a woman's anatomy, and the material works wonders at wicking away sweat. Guys should go with a style like the Novara Padded Cycling Boxers, also available at REI. These tight-fitting boxers fall mid-thigh, and have padding in just the right places to keep you comfortable. Best of all, they can be worn under any type of athletic shorts, so you don't have to wear spandex if you don't want to.
When you're carrying things on your road bike, a standard backpack won't do. These typically cause shoulder strain, and distribute weight in a way that isn't good for your shoulders. Instead, purchase a bag that's specifically designed for road cycling. Chrome Bags have the best reputation in the industry, and they look cool to boot. Their buckle messenger bags are some of the most popular, and they come in a wide range of colors. They have an over-the-shoulder strap that secures with a Chrome-branded seatbelt clip, and they clasp and Velcro for secure closure. Additional pockets on the inside provide dedicated space for your cell phone, pens and notebooks, while the large main compartment can hold all sorts of stuff. You can buy Chrome Messenger Bags at Chrome retailers or online.
When you're riding the city streets at dusk or night, it's absolutely essential to have good lights for your road bike. In many states, bike lights are required by law. Rear and front lights are necessary for an easy, safe ride. Choose a white, high-beam headlight for the front of your road bike. The Uno Headlight from CatEye is a great choice, and it delivers over 400 candlepower units of light and runs for 60 hours on a single AA battery. This light clips to the front of your road bike with a small mount, and can be quickly unclipped for safe storage when you're away from your bike. For the rear light, you want a red, high-powered flashing style like the Superflash from Planet Bike. This powerful model clips to your seat, back or tail post, and flashes in an attention-getting way. You can also set it to deliver a consistent red glow instead of a flash. When buying lights for your road biking adventures, know that head and tail lights are equally important. You need to see what's in front of you, and drivers need to be aware of your presence.
Though bike lights are the best way to alert drivers to your presence, reflective clothing is also essential. Bright clothing is also great for daytime wear, as it helps you stand out amongst traffic better than your favorite grey sweatshirt. Neon, wind-resistant jacket is a great place to start. For women, opt for a style like the Sugoi Reflective Cycling Zap Jacket, available at Night-Gear. This breathable jacket is wind- and water-resistant, and zips up the front for easy wear. Reflective strips across the chest, back and sleeves provide lots of visibility without being tacky, and it comes in bright pink, green or blue. Men should go with a style like the Select Barrier WXB Jacket in bright green. This zip jacket is waterproof yet breathable, and has an elastic cord at the waist for a better fit. It also has reflective elements over the sleeves, chest and back, and comes with a detachable rain hood. A roomy fit makes it a great layering piece, so you can sport it on top of thermal shirts in the chilly winter months. However, it's thin enough to wear under other jackets as well.