In both mountain biking and road riding, your security is the most important factor to take into account. To be able to go out on a ride with the highest level of protection possible, having your bike in perfect condition is just not enough. There are some very simple items that can help us during an outing in the mountains or on the road. We will detail the 5 best things to carry with you on every outing.
The first thing to remember, before even thinking about any extra accessories that can add to our safety, is to always have your bike adjusted and ready for use, with everything checked over and a good quality helmet at all times. Check your brakes, wheel skewers, tyre pressure, and check the most important bolts, for example on your stem, seat post and pedals. Doing this can help avoid unwanted problems on your ride. Helmets are a must on every ride, no matter the distance or the complexity of the ride. If you are planning a road ride, then remember that you are just another vehicle using the roads, and have to abide by local road laws, and use cycle lanes where available. Even after doing all of the above, some extra accessories will help make your rides safer.
1.Front and rear lights
The number one accessory and more important during the coming autum. With fewer hours of light and the possibility of rain and fog, you have to make sure you can be seen in all cases. They are fundamental for road riding and need to be bright (a high number of Lumens), the battery needs to be one that is long life, and have various modes of brightness for any situation. For road bikes, the rear light is probably the most important, as it allows vehicles to see you from behind, reducing the risk of collisions. The front light is also important as it means vehicles that are incorporating onto the road will be advised of your presence. For mountain bikes, it is always recommended to carry a set, just in case you take longer than expected and it starts to become dark. In this case, the front light needs to be as powerful as possible, as you will need to see the trails in front of you and any possible obstacles. There are many versions available and most of them are USB rechargeable, and allow hours of use before needing recharging. Remember to recharge them before every trip and carry them even if you think you do not need them. They hardly weigh anything and occupy very little space.
One of the more passive security measures for cyclists, but much more important than you may first assume, especially for road bikes. Autumn is the time of year with most rainfall, and riding on the roads can be a complete disaster without them. Their main function it to keep water spray away from the rider especially from the face and eyes. The best type are the versions that fit straight to the downtube of the frame, or to the QR levers, these versions are the ones that are most fixed of the two, and offer more coverage. They hardly make any noise with bumps and do not vibrate so much. Riding in groups where everyone has mudguards fitted is an absolute pleasure, but unfortunately not the most common occurrence. Fitting them will add roughly 350-500 grams to the weight of the bike, but the added security outweighs any potential weight gain, plus you will not get wet. Even if it is not raining, the road may be wet, and the mudguards will prevent you from getting wet. For mountain bikes, the best option would be the small plastic fenders that fit to the crown of the suspension fork and under the saddle, they weigh almost nothing, they can be fitted and removed quickly to any type of fork and saddle and will stop most of the mud hitting you.
This is an item that can be used in conjunction with lights. Very important if riding on roads, as it will increase visibility for other drivers, al well as wearing high visibility clothing, using reflective strips can be useful in low visibility conditions. Most windbreakers or rain jackets are made as standard with reflective parts. If you are using lights, it may not be necessary to use over the top reflective clothing, but it is something that can come in handy, especially the reflective strips if night falls and no light is available.
Yep, they are not just for kids… If you ride road, then you will almost always find yourself in urban or built up areas with foot traffic. A small bell takes up little space and can prevent unwanted accidents with pedestrians. During mountain bike rides in more common trails, you may find hikers or dog walkers, a bell can be used to advise them of your presence, and give them enough time to allow you to pass. There are various minimalist designs available on the market that works really well. And can be fitted to most handlebars without modification. It might feel strange to some, but a bell is much better than shouting every time you see someone coming, right?
Although not exactly a bike accessory, and most people carry one when out on a ride, having a designated one just for this purpose may be a good idea. Cheap and simple models are available for a low cost, which are not classed as smartphones, and have a good standby battery life (almost a month for some). Some are resistant to water, dust and small hits, and you will only have to charge it every month or so. If you prepare it with your riding clothes, a prepaid SIM card, you can leave your expensive handset at home, and still have the capability of calling someone in emergencies. They are also small, light and cheap, some of the more known brands sell them for as little as 30€. Remember to save a couple of numbers and emergency contacts, including the local police and ambulance services.