When you browse around a bike shop, it is easy to get caught up in all of the accessories there are to buy. Some you can easily brush off and find no need for, however, even casual bike riders should consider purchasing various bicycling accessories to make their riding much more comfortable. You don’t need any accessories to ride a bike (accept for a helmet for safety), however, I realized after starting back to riding that specific items are now a necessity for myself.
The first thing I purchased for my bicycle was a well-cushioned comfort seat. You can find various types in a bike shop including ones that you can pull over your regular seat. I prefer buying a whole new seat rather than to cover up an uncomfortable one. If you ride for exercise or just for fun, a good padded seat will allow you to ride for much longer periods of time. You can install a new seat yourself or have the bike shop do it for you. Seats are one of the many bicycle parts that are easy to self install.
Another accessory update that helps are pedals with teeth. Most new bicycles come with stock pedals that offer no real grip. Look for pedals that are made of solid steel and have teeth or claws that provide a strong grip for the soles of your shoes. These types of pedals can prevent your feet from slipping off of the pedals which can cause an accident.
If you do any type of night riding, it would be wise to invest in a quality headlight. I learned not to go too cheap on a bicycle light because the cheaper models barely light up enough for you to see what is ahead of you. A good high beam bicycle light will provide tons of light to see the road ahead as well as alert any oncoming traffic. The better quality lights usually require a battery pack that is rechargeable. The same goes for having a back light these are not as expensive but are a good idea to have. The more lighted you are you have the less chance of cars not seeing you.
One accessory that you may not consider is the bicycle bell. I was one of those people who laughed at the thought of having a bell on my bike. A bell makes it much easier to warn people ahead of you to make way because you are coming through. This helps a lot when you are on a bike trail. Some bike trails also have people walking on them. Rather than yelling out “on your left” or “on your right”, you can simply ring your bell a few times and people will move to the side. This also works great when passing up other bike riders who may not hear you yell out.
Other accessories that add to comfort are bicycle gloves and bottle attachment. Padded gloves will save your hands from calluses and a bottle attachment makes carrying water or sports drink much easier. Next time you are browsing bicycle accessories, you may want to ask yourself if a particular item could make your riding experience much more comfortable as well as safer.