Years ago, I shared that Eddy bought me a bike for Mother’s day.
And that bike has been good to me. So good, in fact, that for a very long time that bike served as my grocery shopping cart (Now, in my fourth-floor walk up, I’m team Fresh Direct.) Cycling for the groceries became a part of my regular bit-to-get-fit, and the better prepared I was, the easier the ride… and the easier the ride, the more willing I was to carry that bike down those stairs and head out (and carry it back up, oy.)
That’s why, in partnership with Kohl’s, today’s post is all about helping you #MakeYourMove towards being more active with your bike! Everything I’ve used to help stay safe and ride smooth is listen in this post. Get your pen and pad, take notes, and check out the links I’ve provided below for everything you’ll need!
When it comes to clothing for beginner level cycling, the goal is simple: you want as little fabric as possible interfering with your ability to move freely. Tights, thin full-sleeved layered shirts, and a hat without a bill could go a long way in keeping you warm in cold weather (check out my post on gear for cold weather for more info and recommendations!)
Proper security is the difference between you accidentally gifting someone else with a new bike and, well, not. It starts with a proper bike cord.
A thick coated cord like this with looped ends helps you keep not only your bike safe, but all of its parts, as well. Loop this cord through your frame, inside of each wheel, and through the seat of your bike, and chances are high it’ll still all be together when you return. The thicker the cord, the heavier it is and you have to consider that when purchasing… but the thicker the cord, the safer the bike.
The next tool you need is a proper lock – something that likely can’t be destroyed by tools that the average bike thief won’t carry on their person.
Nothing out there beats Kryptonite’s New York Lock. Nothing. Loop the cable around your bike as I advised, use this to loop through the ends of the cable and wrap it around a sturdy bike rack and your bike frame, and you’re golden.
Helmets! Get one. Commit to wearing it. Yes, even when your hair is fire. I promise, your hair will look worse if you land head first onto the concrete. (In 2009, 91% of all cycling fatalities – on average, less than two percent of motor vehicle accidents – involved people not wearing helmets.) Besides, chances are high your state or city has a law requiring you to rock one. Might as well do it big, huh?
Far too often, I hear stories of people riding and getting hit one way or another by cars – a driver not looking outside of their door before they open it, a driver making a right turn without checking to see if any cyclists are nearby, whatever – and it’s made me cautious enough to not even question getting a good sized helmet. (Bonus! If you’re in New York, Department of Transportation regularly holds clinics where they will size you and give you a helmet for free! You can even call 311 to get one!)
For others, a good sport helmet will get the job done. Something with a foam liner, a plastic shell that can take impact, proper ventilation across the top to keep you cool and alleviate some of the weight of the helmet on your head and neck, and a strap system that keeps the helmet reliably in place and can easily be snapped and unsnapped for removal.
Your bike needs lights. Something in the front, something in the back, and you need them for the same reasons a car needs headlights. You could wind up being an accident waiting to happen without them. These LED headlights and tail lights will get the job done.
There are little tools like mirrors that you can use, but I don’t recommend them – it’s much more beneficial to develop a sense for when it’s time to look to your sides before you make a turn or lane switch – hint: it’s at least 20 feet before you make your move – instead of fiddling with extra gadgets on your ride.
Yes, you can incorporate your kids in your ride! Start with this big girl here:
The Burley Piccolo Trailercycle connects to your bike in three different places, and allows your child – with a proper helmet and of an appropriate age – to pedal right behind you, as you get home together. As you can see, it functions on a swivel, so has a hinge instead of simply functioning like an extension from the back of the bike.
I had never tried one of these, but I do recall one morning seeing a father-daughter pair who attended my daughter’s school riding into school one day, and he simply rode the entire contraption home himself. He’d ride it in to school in the afternoons, and they’d ride home together. Makes way more sense than driving and waiting in the car line to drop your kid off.
For those with kids a bit young for the trailercycle, there’s always the trailer!
With a kit that helps convert it from a bike trailer to a jogging stroller to a regular stroller, the Croozer Kid Deluxe Bike Trailer will carry your child safely – aluminum bumper! – up to 75lbs and is covered by warranty.
And, for those little ones that need a little more closeness…
there’s the baby seat!
Training for something? Go with a good training watch – and by good, I mean the one I trust all my training data with – and get yourself a Polar RC3 Digital GPS with a Heart Rate Monitor.
I’ve been using mine faithfully for two years now, and this watch and I are inseparable. Gives me training data for cycling, swimming and running, and gives me GPS data without requiring an additional third device to do it, either (many other versions of GPS watches do.)
If you’re interested in doing the grocery thing like me, check out this panel with side bags that expand and carry what you’ve got.
Made of “tear-proof nylon” and equipped with 3M reflective detailing, the M-Wave Amsterdam Double Pannier Bag will safely and securely attach to the back of your bike – earning the name “trunk bags” – and carry up to a good 20lbs of groceries safely.
This is a thorough introduction to the tools that’ll make your ride as safe and useful as anything else. What’d I miss? What should be added?
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.
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