Hi everyone! It’s time for another Tri Newbie Chronicles! Today I wanted to focus on one part of the triathlon that made me really nervous: getting the right bike gear. When I was a little kid I rode my bike around the neighborhood constantly, but back then I didn’t have to worry about any gear other than my helmet. I also wasn’t as afraid of falling off my bike as I am now! But now that I’m an adult and biking double digit miles, there’s a few things I really need when I go out for a ride. I asked tons of people and searched the internet for info on what exactly I needed to get in order to start out, and I think I’m finally all set! After you buy your bike (check out my tips on that here), you should think about buying this bike gear too:
- A helmet: This should be a no brainer, but some people don’t wear helmets when they ride. The rules of the tri that I’m doing insist that any time you’re on your bike on race weekend – even if you’re just taking it to your transition spot on bike drop day – you must have your helmet on. So because it’s an essential part of every ride I’ll ever do, I decided to jazz up my look and go with a cute mint green helmet! I found it at Walmart and love it so far!
- A bike emergency kit: I also got all of the pieces to my emergency kit at Walmart because I’m still a newbie and don’t need the best gear out there right now. I bought a flat kit (emergency flat stickers, tire levers, and a CO2 cartridge), a multi-use tool, and a tiny bag to store it all in that attaches to the bottom of my seat. Of course, none of this stuff is helpful if you don’t know how to use it, so I recommend taking a class on how to fix a flat. REI does them for free here in Anchorage and I recently attended one at my local bike shop!
- A tire pump: I got this one on Amazon and I’m so glad that I don’t have to go on any more rides where I’m hoping that my tires have the right pressure. If the pressure is too high or too low you are at a risk of popping a tire, and I’d rather take 30 seconds to check tire pressure instead of 10 minutes to change a tire! Your bike tires will say how much pressure you should have in the tires before you go out on a ride.
- Padded riding gear: Specifically gloves and tights. I have been riding without these so far, and I’ve survived…but I’m always in pain on my hands and my bottom afterwards! I found some killer deals on Canari biking capris and Pearl Izumi biking gloves on Amazon and can’t wait to try them out on my long ride this weekend. I know it’s possible to ride without these, but the padding will make a huge difference in how much you enjoy the ride! I saved some money buying them online, and I’ll wear my running tops for now to save even more money on cycling gear.
- A water bottle holder: I bought an adjustable, tool-free version for my bike and I love it so far! Water is a necessity on long rides and I love that I don’t have to physically carry it on myself in order to have some mid-ride drink breaks. Hydration packs are the one thing I don’t miss about running!
- Pedal clips: I just got these and I’ll be installing them on my bike tomorrow. Right now I have regular pedals on my bike and can only pedal by pushing down, which means I lose the ability to pull up with my legs too. I’ve learned to pedal in a smooth circle in spin class, and having these toe clips means that I can start doing that on my next ride. Hopefully this will give me more power on the hills! And hopefully one day I’ll be brave and skilled enough to use clipless pedals and cycling shoes.
Note: I was not compensated for sharing any of these links/tips, I just spent a lot of time trying to find cheap yet high quality gear for newbies and wanted to share what I bought in case it might help a newbie out!
What must-have gear do you recommend for newbie bike riders? What’s the one piece of advice you wish you’d had before your first ride?