Image by: Simon
By Robert Spencer
Cycling has gone up in popularity since gas prices started rising. More people are enjoying a cleaner and way to get to work (and getting fit while they’re at it). Did you know that it costs about $11,500 per year to drive a car around town while it only costs about $308 per year to maintain a bicycle?
By about 100 miles, New York City has the most miles of bike lanes and paths in America with 576 miles. Behind this heavily trafficked city are cities in Arizona with Phoenix having 468 miles and Scottsdale having 449 miles of paths and lanes.
As far as the health benefits go, cycling helps you lose weight, sleep deeper, and live longer. A study done at King’s College London found that among 2400 pair of identical twins, those who did about three 45-minute rides a week lived about nine years longer than those who didn’t. It also helps boost your sex drive. What more do you need?
All right, so cycling is trendy and good for you. If you already know this and have been cycling for a while, why not check out these tech and equipment trends for 2014? And if you’ve decided to pick up this great hobby and workout, check out this list for a basic cycling checklist (along with the coolest toys to get for you and your bike).
#1) Core Essentials
As far as core essentials goes, here’s a pretty basic list of equipment that you’ll need. Go through the list and take a note on the latest trends in cycling equipment.
You’re going to need some kind of hydration pack or a bottle with a cage (for your bike). Camelbak makes some great hydration packs (it’s like a small backpack with a tube – the pack is like a giant water bottle and the tube allows you to drink while you’re cycling).
My favorite bottle that they carry is the Eddy water bottle made out of BPA-Free and lead-free glass. It also has a silicone sleeve so that it doesn’t break.
Image by: Camelbak
You will need some kind of energy food for when you feel sluggish. You never know when it’s going to hit you. So carry a granola bar (homemade ones are always healthier) or stop by your local sporting goods store for some energy food.
Always important no matter what time of the year you’re out on your bike.
Equally important because accidents happen, even if it’s just a scrape. Have a medical info emergency contact card handy in your first aid kit.
It’s getting hot out, which means that you’re going to need some sunglasses to help protect your eyes and help you see when the sun’s out.
#2) Tires and Wheels
Believe it or not, there are a lot to choose from when it comes to tires and wheels for your bike: deep section, shallow or disc; and tubular or clincher… When it comes to trends, the motto for 2014 is “wide is the new thin”. Gravel and dirt roads have made wide tires a must-have for cyclists.
You’re also going to need to carry a spare tube or a patch set with you for your tires. For leisurely rides, most people won’t bother carrying a spare tube. Patch sets are easy to find and small enough for you to carry with you.
Besides your bike, a helmet is the next most essential item. These days, aero helmets are the biggest thing. They’re aerodynamically designed to help cut down on wind resistance and help you go just a touch faster.
#4) Bragging Rights
There are a lot of bike apps available for your phone so that you can upload your latest ride and brag to – I mean, compare times with – your friends on Facebook or any other social media account that you have.
In this market, there are great, not-app, products like the new Garmin 810, which is specific to cycling. At $500, it may be a bit steep but it is a GPS system which means that not only will it track you but it will also give you directions when you get lost.
#5) Did You Say Electric?
Image by: Stromer
Let me introduce you to the Stromer ST1, one of the newest electric bikes on the market. Did you say “electric”? Why, yes I did.
If you’re strictly using your bike as a commuter bike, this is the way to go. You don’t have to worry about rubbery legs at work (after riding up and down hills) anymore. Hills become mere speedbumps when you’re on an electric bike. Theses puppies can pull loads (if you need it to run errands as well). The battery life lasts about a day. That’s enough to go to work and back, and also do a couple chores on your way home.
Check out the video for a review on one of the newest electric bikes, the Stromer ST1 Platinum electric. I am a fan of this one in particular because the motor offers a pedal assist only (no throttle), which has different modes (including one with no pedal assist – which will give you the workout that a normal bike will).