By Gulab Mostofa
If you’ve just started out, the options can be overwhelming. Just what are those gadgets, items of clothing, and expensive equipment about, and which of them do I really need? If you’re confused, then fear not: this cycling gear guide should help.
Head-protection is a sensible choice, even if it isn’t one mandated by law. Expensive helmets offer greater comfort – though EU regulations ensure that cheaper ones still meet a basic standard of safety and will more than fulfil most peoples expectations, you must try it for fit before purchasing online.
Ideally a helmet, should fit as snugly as possible. Should your helmet be called into action, it’ll have to absorb a considerable hit – and being fixed into position is crucial. A helmet that slides down over your eyes while you’re hurtling down a mountain pass will probably do more harm than good.
Given the choice, most of us would probably prefer to cycle during the day. But if you’re finishing work late, or you’ve gone for a very long ride this isn’t always an option. A headlamp fixes this problem. Night-time cycling is more dangerous, largely because visibility is reduced. A good torch will provide a strong white beam – but not one that’s likely to dazzle incoming motorists. Pair it with a red brake-light so that motorists approaching you from behind won’t be taken by surprise.
Getting caught in the rain isn’t much fun when you’re cycling in winter. A waterproof coat is an essential piece of wet-weather kit– and you’ll likely be grateful of a thin thermal layer underneath, too. After trying various cheaper offerings I tried upon recommendation the Castelli Gabba, whilst expensive I honestly think it’s the best cycling clothing purchase I have made to date, it’s waterproof and wind proof!
So how should you wear a set of cycling waterproofs? Like, all cycling clothing, you’ll want it to fit snug – clothing that flaps in the breeze is sure to prove irritating, and so it’s worth trying several options to get the right fit.
While you might think of a cycling jersey as a luxury item, it’s one that’s sure to quickly prove its worth. Cycle around in a jumper or a t-shirt as i did when I started out, you’ll soon find yourself buffeted by freezing winds – and if you’re constantly in moving, you’ll be cycling into new, cold air. These conditions are what forces new cyclists to quit early.
Like your waterproofs and thermals, a cycling jersey should ideally be as snug as possible without causing discomfort – too loose, and it’ll act like a sail, hugely increasing the amount of work required to move forward.
Padded Cycling Shorts
Padded cycling shorts are really tight. They make a strong fashion statement — and not necessarily in a good way. But the truth is that padded cycling shorts make cycling much more comfortable, and help you ride faster and you can spend longer in the saddle. If you’re going to get serious about road riding, you’ll want to wear them.
Please bare in mind padded shorts are like tights and you must wear appropriate 3/4 length shorts to cover your modesty.
As muslims we must endeavour to cover the Awrah, padded shorts are so light, tight and thin that the modesty of a man can become exposed.
Cycling gloves help to soak up excess sweat, keeping your hands dry. The best gloves of this sort are exceptionally lightweight, with holes around the fingers and the backs of the hand, and Velcro straps to secure them into place. They’ll also be padded around the palm, helping to deaden the vibrations that pass from your handlebars into your forearms.
Like all sports socks, specialist cycling socks are excellent for wicking sweat, and thus keeping your feet nicely dry and comfortable, but don’t spend £20 on a pair of socks. Please.
Finally, we arrive at perhaps the most important item a beginner cyclist can invest in; a toolkit. Riding a bike and maintaining one are disciplines that go hand-in-hand.
A good Multi-toolkit should comprise a series of rugged Allen keys, spanners, and screwdrivers. You’ll be able to buy them ready-assembled, in a form compact enough to be easily stowed into your rucksack. Also a basic puncture repair kit will be small enough to keep on you at all times and will help you out of some sticky situations. You’ll also want a small bicycle pump or a co2 canister pump and you’ll be ready to go!
Staying hydrated whilst out riding is critical. You may need two water bottles if you’re doing longer rides.
A saddle bag is perfect to store your tools, inner tube, repair kit and other paraphernalia.
Always ask experienced cyclists for advice on gear, the industry can be a scam so it’s important that you don’t enjoy spending more than the riding.