There can be a bewildering array of different things to buy with a new bike, so these are the most important accessories to keep you riding comfortably and safely
Keeping yourself protected, dry, and comfortable is the first priority, and nothing is more important than a helmet. Modern helmets are light, comfortable and well ventilated, so there’s no reason not to wear one. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but if you do it’ll be the most important thing you’ve bought.
Next up, consider your three contact points with the bike – hands, bottom, feet, so gloves, shorts, shoes. A good pair of padded gloves will make you more comfortable, as will padded shorts. You don’t need cycling-specific clip-in shoes to start with, if you’re new to cycling it’s best to get used to the bike first, but consider making this one of your first upgrades once you’ve got confident with the bike, as it keeps your feet in the right place on the pedals and make pedalling much easier.
You don’t need to carry an entire workshop with you on your ride, but you need to be able to deal with minor mishaps to avoid walking home. Punctures are an unavoidable fact of life for cyclists, so a spare tube, patches, tyre levers and a pump are essential. If you’re unsure how to fix a puncture, there’s a good guide on the Park Tool website.
Also carry a multi-tool, to tighten up any bolts that come loose during the ride, ideally one with a chain tool on, and some repair links, in case the chain snaps.
Carrying Water and Kit
You’ll need something to carry these tools, as well as bits and pieces like food, keys, wallet, phone. A saddle bag is the most popular way to do this, it straps on out the way under the saddle, and comes in a range of sizes, depending on how much you want to carry. You’ll also need to take a drink with you, a water bottle and bottle cage being the easiest way to do this – fit two if you’re going for long rides, especially when it’s hot.
Alternatively, you can use a hydration pack to cover both these jobs. This is a backpack for carrying all your gear, with a special compartment that holds a water bladder, with a tube coming out the top of the pack to drink from.
If you’re on a road or hybrid bike the saddle bag and water bottle option is most popular, as it’s easier to carry the load on the bike rather than you, and the pack can get hot. Mountain bikers tend to prefer hydration packs, as keeping the weight off the bike is useful when you’re moving it around a lot, and the drink hose is easier to get to than reaching down for a bottle.
Keeping your bike well maintained will make it more enjoyable to ride, and keep it running longer – there’s more on how to do that in our Set Up & Care section. The kit you’ll need for this is fairly simple – a floor pump, some bike wash, a general-purpose lube spray like GT85 and chain oil.
If you’re using your bike to commute, then depending on when you’re riding and where you’re leaving the bike, don’t forget lights and a lock. If you’ve got a lot to carry, get an oversize backpack that’s comfortable, or consider panniers and a rack