Bicycle Gear

I get asked from tie to time what I recommend as far as bicycle stuff goes so
here’s the list of stuff.

Jacket

I’ve purchased the MEC SuperMicroft Cycling Jacket twice now. The first one is still in great condition but it’s green and I always wanted the black one so now I have both. They’re awesome jackets and worth every penny. I don’t believe in buying the expensive jackets because they’re too heavy. I prefer this shell and a cheap hooded sweater underneath if it’s cold.

Shoes:

I’m picky about cycling shoes. I like to be able to clip into my pedals but I refuse to wear those shoes that look like high-heels with the heel broken off. I’ve been lucky enough to find shoes that look like BMX shoes but support a cleat at the bottom to latch on to pedals. I don’t see my particular shoes anywhere but they’re something like the Five Ten High Impact Cycling Shoes.

Backpack:

They don’t sell my backpack anymore but there are a few like it available. The most important part of a backpack is that it has a metal and plastic frame that fits to the shape of your back. There’s nothing worse than having the corner of a cereal box jamming into your back all the way home from a grocery run. The second thing to look for is a pouch for a water platypus. I don’t use my platypus as much as I used to but they’re nice for long trips.

Bottle Cage:

Get a metal bottle cage and mount it to the frame so it sits upright. I get the metal
ones cause I can bend them open wider to hold a nice big slurpee or an extra large coffee. The fact that I mount it so it’s sitting upright goes without saying.

Headlights:


I prefer to ride at night so I’ve had a lot of experience with headlights on bicycles. I’ve always found bicycle headlights to be a huge pain. My experience with them has always been that the battery comes lose or the switch fails or they simply suck batteries dry too quickly. That said, LED headlights are the only way to go.

I used to swear by the Planet Bike BRT Spot Micro LED Headlight. It’s tiny but extremely bright for its size. I put two of them on the front. I’d been told but people on the street that they look like a pair of eyes. I gave up on them last fall because I found replacing the tiny battery was only slightly cheaper than replacing the whole light.

I shopped around a bit and found the Planet Bike Beamer 5 LED Front lightset.

This headlight is more than enough light but for kicks I bought two of them. The other thing that I hate about headlights is the flimsy plastic clamp that they give you to attach the light to the handlebars. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a headlight where this art didn’t break, particularly in cold weather. With my brand new 5 LED headlights, the clamp broke the day after I installed the light. Instead of returning the headlight, I decided I’d fasten the light properly.

I started by picking up a pack of large foot-long zip-ties. I use a pair of handle bar extensions that point forward and curve around so I attached the headlights to those with the zip-ties. With the ties holding the lights on there snug, I applied a layer of electrical tape around the lights for a bit of extra snugness. I eventually applied a layer of cork handlebar tape around the bar-ends and over top of the headlights leaving just enough room on the tip of the headlight to remove the battery cap to change the batteries. The Lights swing just enough to adjust the direction of the light. So far the setup has worked perfectly. Furthermore, the lamps have survived two crashes where the bicycle landed at least partially on the handlebars.

Computer:


I’m not picky about computers. I only use the speedometer, the odometer, the
clock, and the max speed indicator. I don’t spend more than $20 on the things cause
just like headlights, they’re plastic and they break in cold weather. My first
computer vanished in to the snow one chilly 20 below morning never to be seen again.

One day I’d like to see a computer on the market with backlighting so I can
actually see it at night. I picked up a little light designed to satisfy this wish but it
was far too dim. I think I’ll break it open and mod it with a brighter LED if I can.

So yea, that’s my opinion of bicycle computers.

Pedals:

All I have to say about pedals is clipless (the kind that you latch your shoe onto)
kick so much ass. I love them. In winter they’re a bit of a bitch to get your foot
into when everything is jammed up with snow but that’s minor. A word of warning
though, do not buy pedals with a crappy plastic housing. Spend the little bit extra and
buy the metal kind. I’ve said it before plastic bicycle accessories are garbage.

I’m still shopping around for new pedals; I’ll post the model that I finally
pick up.

Helmet:

I will not ride without a helmet. I’ve got a scar on my forehead from my early mountain biking days when I didn’t wear a helmet. Since then, helmets have saved my
noggin twice. The second crash should have put me in a coma if I hadn’t been wearing
a helmet.

Buy whatever helmet feels right. I bought the Bell Impulse Helmet. I bought it because
it actually looks like a helmet and not a flying saucer strapped to my head like those
screwed up pro helmets. Once you peel off the lame Bell sticker on the visor, it’s a
pretty decent helmet.

The first thing I look for in a helmet is the quality of the plastic frame that fits to your head. Look for heavy plastic. I’ve seen some helmets where the plastic pieces are already broken in the store. There’s that plastic again.