Top 10 Must-have Cycling Accessories to Upgrade Your Bike and Performance

Posted by tan xiao yan on

We are walkers --- our natural means of travel is to put one foot in front of the other, but the bicycle seduces our basic nature by making traveling exciting. To make cycling more interesting, here are 10 most important cycling accessories to keep your cycling journey stimulating and safe.

Rear mirror
If you have mostly ridden on roads where you have no choice but to share with regular traffic, it must be familiar for you to be distracted by cars approaching from behind. Remember that you are the only person who can control the bike and prevent anything bad from happening. However, looking back by turning your head or listening takes more time and is inclined to induce you to lose balance.

It’s become handy when glancing down you can see the lights of cars/trucks very far in the distance so you can know when it’s safer before you turn your head back to get a better view at what's behind.

With that rear mirror it will be just a glance. It looks tiny, but completely does the job!

cycling accessories, rear mirror

Strobe lights
Consider how visible you are against other traffic and the background lights. A street with several brightly lit shopping centers may be a bad choice if you can't stand out. You don't need street lighting unless you can't carry a light bright enough to see pot holes and road hazards. A bicycle can be hard to see in this environment with so many other light sources.

Ever notice how hard it is to see when you're driving around sunrise or sunset? Bicycles are pretty much impossible to see. If you have the sun at your back, anyone turning onto the road in front of you or changing lanes will be blinded. If you have the sun in front of you, then everyone behind you is blinded.

Get a front and rear light for your bike so you can both be seen and see where you are going. For the front light, get a name brand LED light that is simple to install/remove on the handle bars and stays in place well while riding. If you ride relatively slowly and/or where there are street lights you can get away with a light that has 600 lumens with a good beam pattern. I prefer a beam pattern that has most of the light concentrated in the center of the beam, say 70%, and has some of the light dispersed so that you can have "context" or see what is around you but not directly in front of you.

A loud bell is quite useful. Anything that makes you more visible is a great idea but you need to assume that you are totally invisible on the road. It's been the thing that's prevented a nasty “accident” when on a dual use pathway. Pedestrians are sometimes playing Pokemon and they seem to become blissfully unaware of their surroundings and wander into the bike side of the park pathway.

You can ring the bell to make yourself noticed and remind the pedestrians to get out of the way in case of being hit.

Cycling Accessories, bell

Power meter
The other best accessory purchase was a power meter. With power readings you can obtain a value for how much energy you expended (because power =energy/time), and that value of energy can be converted to calories burned based on joules per dietary calorie (4.184 kj/C) and estimated efficiency for the human body (usually 20-25%).

Calorie counting is a good reason to buy a power meter, but if that’s what you’re into it does a far better job than any other tool I’ve ever seen. All the others are guessing based on sketchy info, but the power meter directly measures your energy output. Just check your total KiloJoules and convert them 1 to 1 for calories. This will get you within 10% of the true value at worst.

A saddle bag
A rider can only go as far as her provisions will carry her -an old man on a bike. Get a good pair of saddlebags to carry all the stuff you want to carry for your long ride. Ensure that it’s got a stable design.

Bottle holderCycling Accessories, bottle holder
Continuous replenishment of water is the most important thing when you are cycling, especially in a long-distance journey.

Or the cycling enthusiast, doing moderate daily rides (around 50 miles), where services such rest stops or small markets are frequently available, less is more. You can always refill your water bottle along the way and put it in your water bottle holder, upside down.

With a bottle holder, there is no need to burden the weight of water on your shoulder or reach out for your backpack each time. Instead, you can pick the water bottle anytime from the holder even if you are cycling.

Bungee cord
If you are getting tired of carrying your stuff on the back in a backpack, this is that trick which every experienced rider will tell you about - to use a cord to magically hold everything on the seat of your bike! The cord ensures that you can strap on almost anything that does not fit onto your saddlebag on top your rear seat.

Clipless pedals
They allow special cleats fastened to the bottom of the cyclists’ shoes to attach firmly to the pedal. These cleats make it possible to put power to the pedal on any part of the cyclist’s complete circular pedal stroke, versus only on the downward press on conventional platform pedals.

They take some practice to get comfortable with but eventually you get to the point where you clip out without even thinking about it. Especially, it’s helpful for mountain biking due to the low profile that avoids pedal strikes and staying connected in rough terrain.

Spare tires
Always bring a tire pump and 2 spare tubes with you. You can stash these on your bike (tubes in a nifty saddle pouch & pump zip tied to your bike). In usual circumstances, a spare tire is thinner and narrower than a normal tire for saving the space. So it’s plausible to carry 2 or more spare tires when cycling.

Floor pump
A deflated bicycle tire will have considerably more rolling resistance than one which is properly inflated, and it's the deformed tire that causes the energy loss requiring more effort for forward movement. The friction of the flat rubber is aligned with the rim and the speed at which you might be riding, so it will cause you to slow down and ride with more effort.

Equip yourself with the 10 accessories aforementioned, and start off your cycling now!