Written by Stephano Hartung

Curated

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4 Jun, 2021

Cycling basics 

Cycling is becoming such a popular sports and leisure activity all over the world. As youngsters, most of us had an entry level or basic bicycle.

I think, back then, we had no idea what a huge deal cycling would become.  

Nowadays, there is such a wide variety of bicycles on the market.  I’ve listed some cycling must-haves. For this article, I will focus more on mountain biking as your options for riding are broader as you can still do road cycling with your MTB.

  1. Full suspension versus hardtail:

The brief answer is: choose a full-suspension bike if you are willing to spend a bit more money and you want to ride technical trails. On the other hand, choose a hardtail bike if you’re on a tighter budget or plan to spend most of your time on smoother trails. A hardtail bike also requires less maintenance. 

The most important question you need to ask yourself before purchasing a bicycle is “what do you intend on doing and accomplishing with your bicycle?”.  This will determine which type of bike you purchase and what specifications you would need the bicycle to have. 

Every bicycle has different components, and this makes a difference on the pricing. It is always good to shop around and compare prices before you purchase the first bicycle you see, and there is nothing wrong with a good second hand bicycle.  Just make sure you have a look at it first, or even take it for a second opinion to your local cycling shop. They would be able to give you an expert opinion on the market value of such a bicycle.

Prices for mountain bikes vary from N$5,000 to N$200,000. Yes that is a sh@t load of money, but like I said earlier, it all depends on what type of activity you are going to be using the bicycle for.

  1. Proper helmet:

This is probably the most important accessory you need to have. As they say in many of the races: “no helmet, no ride”. Investing in a decent helmet can make a huge difference if you are involved in a cycling accident.  A decent helmet will cost you between N$900 to N$2,000. You do get cheaper ones, but would you really take a risk of buying a cheap helmet at the expense of getting a serious head injury?

  1. Cycling Bib and shirt:

Even if you are only going to cycle for leisure, invest in a decent padded cycling bib. Your ass will thank you for it. There is nothing worse than having a sore bum after cycling. I prefer cycling with bibs instead of just padded shorts. A good quality bib will cost you between N$1,200 and N$2,000. When buying a bib, take a look at the information tag and see what the cycling time on them are. If you intend on taking long endurance rides, you will obviously need a bib which would support that.

Also get yourself a cycling shirt. Pockets at the back are quite convenient since you can put your snacks, keys, etc in them.

  1. Gloves & Cleated shoes:

A pair of gloves are also a must-have. You have a choice of long finger gloves or short ones. I prefer the short ones, however during very cold morning rides, the long finger ones are just better. The prices vary between N$200 to N$600 for a pair of gloves depending on the brand and padding.

Do yourself a favour: just start cycling with cleated shoes from the start. This just gives you so much more advantage over cycling with flat pedals and regular takkies on. Of course, if you are only cycling for leisure, flat pedals are the way to go.  Again, the prices for cycling shoes depend on the brand and what type of shoes you wish to buy.  A good pair of cycling shoes will cost you about N$1,500. 

  1. Other cycling essentials:

Water bottle – You need to keep hydrated, so an insulated bottle is always a necessity. These cost around N$150 to N$350 depending on brand and type of insulation.

Backlight – It’s always wise to have a backlight even if you are not cycling at night so that other road users can easily see you.

Taxi money – Whenever I go cycling, I always put some cash in my phone casing or in my pocket. You never know when you might need it.  Perhaps you end your ride with a coffee or a cold beer somewhere or you have a puncture that cannot be fixed so you need a ride home or to the nearest cycling shop.

I hope you found this useful. Please note that the above is just a few of the basic essentials. There are still hundreds of things you can add to this!

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