Bicycling can be a spendy hobby, and every season is a new opportunity to blow a whole lot of money.
Although it’s fun to shop for new stuff, there’s some anxiety whether you’re getting quality goods, whether you need it in the first place, and whether you spent too much money. As someone who has scoffed at buying unnecessary bike gear, but only after spending thousands on stuff that now sits in a box, I’m here to save you a lot of trouble.
This is some of the cycling gear I bought over the last year that didn’t suck. Buy from Amazon through these links, and I’ll get a small commission.
- Canari Cyclewear Men’s Velo Gel Padded Bike Short. I bought many of my bike shorts in the early 2000s, back when I first started cycling and back when Cannondale still made things in the USA. To their credit, those cycling shorts lasted a long time, but after thousands of miles and scores of machine wash cycles, the fabric started to thin and began to let the sun shine where it is not supposed to shine. I bought this particular pair of shorts on Amazon because it was really basic. Maybe someone really needs a 12-panel short, but I don’t. After a single seventy-mile–ride, it did the trick. I didn’t think about the short. That’s good because good cycling shorts should be like a good plumber: the best one is the one you don’t notice.
Knog Blinder Mob The Face Front USB Rechargeable Light. There are two kinds of bike lights: “be-seen” lights and “see” lights. Because I ride in a city with reasonably well-illuminated streets, I only need lights to be-seen. Over the years, I have bought about twenty different sets of bike lights, and all of them have some fatal flaw. The only “be-seen” lights that I liked were the Kong Blinder 4 series of lights. They offer the rare combination of bright illumination, portability, easy to remove without tools, cost, burn time, and USB charging. However, the straps would regularly break, rendering the entire light useless because the straps could not be replaced. In the last year, they have redesigned the straps and are much sturdier. And should they break, they’re replaceable! The new iteration of the Knog Blinder 4 fixed this fatal flaw. I can now recommend them.
Stainless Steel Swing Top Beer Growler – 1 Liter. Regular readers of this site know that I really enjoy a crafty beer after a long ride, especially one that ends at an area brewery. This stainless-steel growler is small—just a little bigger than a pint glass, but holds a full quart (or liter). It is very light so you can carry it in your backpack as you cycle for hours. But most importantly, because it’s made from stainless steel, it won’t break—and won’t cut you with shards of glass—should you crash. Best of all, they will even fill it in California. This might have been my most important cycling purchase of the year.
There’s a lot of other gear you’ll need if you’re just starting out, but if you’re dusting off your bike for the year, consider picking up these goods.