15 Best Bike Accessories and Gear for Trails, Roads, and MTB
Cycling has seen a huge increase in popularity as people turn to bicycles to improve their commuting, exercise, and outdoor fun. With the rise of cycling, a new interest in cycling trips has arisen. But for those new to bike travel, figuring out how to pack and what gear is needed to ensure a safe and fun ride can be daunting.
We called on Erik Saltvold, owner and founder of Erik’s Bike Shop, to share his expert knowledge on all the gear needed for a successful bike trip. It offers some general advice when provisioning for a cycling trip. “There are no specific products that we recommend avoiding,” he says, “rather just to make sure you don’t overpack and weigh yourself down. This is often a common mistake on long trips and runners wear out too quickly.
Ahead, with the help of Saltvold, we’ve rounded up the essentials you’ll need for a bike trip.
“Making sure you pack properly for a bike trip will ensure you have a great time,” says Saltvold. “There are different things to consider when determining what to pack, such as weather, length of trip, terrain and accommodation. However, there are some general cycling essentials that you will want on any trip. The essentials for a cycling trip that Saltvold recommends are:
• Type of bike suitable for travel and terrain
• Packs or rear panniers
• Road repair kit
• Bike lights
• Lock with cable
• Bottles of water)
• Cycling clothing
“Depending on the length or your trip, you’ll want good rear and possibly front panniers,” says Saltvold. He recommends weatherproof bags like Specialized Panniers, which are available in black or bright neon for increased visibility.
A repair kit is essential for a bike trip, or, as Saltvold puts it, “A good starter kit for tools and roadside repairs can save your ride from total disaster.” He recommends the Diamondback Starter Kit Tool Kit for those looking for a basic starter toolkit.
Long trips may call for a more comprehensive tool kit like this repair kit which gets high marks for its storage case that keeps everything in its place when not in use.
This versatile bike tool with nine different screwdrivers in varying sizes is perfect for someone new to cycling to help with a sudden repair on the road.
“Whether or not you’re riding at night,” says Saltvold, “bike lights are always a good idea to make sure you’re seen by others.” He loves the Niterider Lumina 1200 Boost and Solas 250 Light Comboa combination set of front and rear lights that will ensure your safety.
If you’re shopping for bike lights on a budget, this rechargeable set gets high marks for brightness.
A lock and cable will keep your bike and gear safe if you need to leave it out for a bit. Saltvold recommends the Kryptonite Kryptolock with cable; For more bike lock recommendations and bike storage ideas, check out our guide to bike storage for every type of home.
Our associate editor, Kai Burkhardt, reviewed Water Bottles for Everyday Use; he offers his expertise to those looking for a water bottle for cycling.
Burkhardt’s top choice for cyclists is a traditional soft sport bottle like the Co-Op Cycles Purist.
For those looking for an insulated water bottle, Burkhardt suggests the CamelBak Podium Insulated Water Bottle.
In his tests of water bottles for everyday use, Burkhardt’s top pick was the Yeti Rambler; for riders, he recommends getting the straw lid, which will make drinking easier and won’t require unscrewing a lid while riding.
As an alternative to a water bottle, Burkhardt recommends the CamelBak Fusion 3L Reservoir, a bladder-style hydration pack that’s popular with hikers and backpackers.
“When biking with kids,” says Saltvold, “having enough water and snacks can make or break the trip.” He suggests packing energy bars in addition to having a water bottle or hydration pack for each rider to avoid hunger-related meltdowns. There are also some specific gear he recommends for bike rides with kids.
“Making sure your child is dressed appropriately will also make your bike trip much more enjoyable – bringing an extra removable diaper is always a good idea,” says Saltvold. “Most importantly, make sure your child is protected with a quality helmet.” The Giro Scamp MIPS Kids Helmet is his pick for the best kids helmet.
When planning a cycling trip with children, the first question to ask is whether your child rides the bike himself or rides with you. If they’re riding with you or biking for a long trip when a break might be needed, a child trailer can be essential.
Saltvold points out that trailers can hold more than your child. “You can also use them to store more gear,” he says, “just be careful not to load them up with too much stuff to avoid wearing yourself out.”
Another option to consider are trailer accessories that allow your child to contribute to the driving experience. “There are also options for your child to pedal with you,” says Saltvold, “like the Adams Folder Trail-A-Bike.”