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Cyclists Gear: Essentials Part 1

Ok, so you're committed to becoming a cyclist. Whether it is in the Road, Cyclocross, Mountain Bike or any other disipline, here are a few of what we consider both essentials and some other "would be nice to have" additions. These are the types of items that will help you get the most out of your training while also make training enjoyable.

  1. Road bike or Cyclocross Bike . It sounds simple, but yes a road specific or cyclocross bike. I have added a cyclocross bike here due to the absolutely amazing versatility of that option. If you are someone who dare I say was a Triathlete first, then you might already have a TT specific bike. Now that you are looking to venture into the world of cycling in more depth a bike that allows you to join group rides, participate in road races, jump into a gravel/adeventure ride or simply train through the winter is what you are looking for. A CX bike fits all those bills, all you have to due is change the tires! If you are brand new it is recommended that you start on flat pedals before switching to the clipless style pedals where your bike shoe actually attaches to the pedal. Create a relationship with your local bike shop and they can help you with this process! Since you are going to create that relationship with the local bike shop (LBS) I am going to leave out my discussion over purchasing bike shoes, bottle cages, helmet, etc….until next time that is when I share with you all my picks for best gear in those departments :)

  1. Bike computer or watch that will track heart rate. This is the bare minimum. A device that will track your heart rate during exercise. The ideal setup would be purchasing a device such as a Garmin 500, 800 or 1000 series bike computer, a Wahoo element bolt or similar device that will not only track heart rate but also power, cadence and serve as a GPS unit. Yes, they are more expensive than a simple cat eye or other lower priced option, however if you are going to be riding a will be well worth it.

  1. Indoor Cycling Trainer. Whether you live in beautiful southern California where you can ride outside all year long or the cold and barren Northeast, an indoor trainer is an absolutely essential piece of equipment to have at your disposal. You can use a simple Fluid Trainer for a couple hundred dollars or splurge for a Smart Trainer that allows for power readings and full connectivity to the numerous apps that are now available. This will run you around $1,000 but can certainly be worth it if you are on the trainer a lot. Our suggestion is something like the Wahoo Kickr.

  1. Cycling Appropriate Apparel (Bibs, Jersey, socks and whether specific gear). Any temperature or condition is rideable, you just have to dress (and invest) for it. This is an area of cycling where quality is important. Invest in a good pair of bib shorts and you're undercarriage will mostly definitely thank you. Don't think that wearing spandex and other tight fitting clothing makes you look weird, it's for a reason….trust us!

  1. Power Meter. Power meters are certainly not an essential piece of equipment. You can improve without one, however if you have the means to procure one it is a fantastic tool for training and again if you have a coach it will make that relationship even more beneficial. Power is a very static measurement that is not affected by your physical condition (stress, heat, fatigue, etc…). This is contrasted with HR, where your HR will be driven by all those factors (and more) mentioned above. In the end, if you are able to blend the two data points together, you can have a very potent mix for progression.  There are many options in the power meter department so do some research online and speak with your local bike shop to determine which option will best best for you and your budget. *Also, fun fact. If you have a standared old school trainer and a power meter you will be able to utilize all the cool online features lke ZWIFT (described below)

  1. Zwift Account. It's 2017 (Almost 2018) and the future is here. ZWIFT has revolutionized the way cyclist approach indoor training. Their virtual cycling platform is the best there is. Allowing you to ride, train and race against friends and other riders all over the world it is truly a refreshing advancement to the indoor training rides that cyclist have been doing for years. With numerous courses and varied terrain paired with a smart trainer you can get in just about any type of trainign you want. Hills, Mountains, Flats, Circuits, Crits…it has them all. Use your friends and coach if you have one as a resource on how best to take advantage of this amazing technology!

  1. Strava Account. Again, its 2017 so if you haven't heard of Strava yet well then you're either brand new to cycling or have been living under a rock for the last 5 or so years. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Strava is the virtual repository for all ride files. Not only does it allow you to measure yourself against those around you, it has a great platform for your own data collection. Visually allowing you to see your statistics year over year and if you have the premium feature you can utilize their fitness & freshness tracker along with the power curve feature.

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