Ok, I’m not a gadget type of person, and yes, my philosophy is ‘just get on and ride’, but we all enjoy toys.
You don’t ‘need’ all that must-have cycle-stuff that’s papped out but the cycle sites, and you don’t need all that ‘get while you can’ stuff in the Aldi-etc catalogues. Yes, I went through the phase a few years back when I got the under-garments, the over-garments, and the middle-garments. There were cycling socks, the cycling shades, cycling gloves and cycling shoe covers, LOL!
Yes, if you are going on a long cycling venture, you will need to kit up with some of this stuff. Yes, all that stuff has its uses, but for most of us who are just riding a bike to work, or to town, then look at people in some other places (remember Europe!?), who don’t even classify it as cycling, it’s just riding a bike!
I cycle 8 miles to work, and 8 miles back, and have done for 8 years. If it’s raining I wear a coat, if it’s cold I put on a few layers and gloves, etc. I don’t usually wear long trousers unless it’s near freezing. Incidentally, it rains much less than you might imagine. I don’t pelt it, it’s not a race, I am simply riding a bike instead of walking, getting a bus, or driving a car. At work, I change into my work clothes.
So all the bits and bobs, that the cycling culture pedals out, are not essential. But back to gadgets…
Non-essential gadget number 1, the Helmet Camera.
If you’ve read my other bikey posts, you’ll know that I have moved from biking by road to biking by path. Motor vehicles mixed with people-powered transport is far from ideal. Although I ride primarily off-roads, a gadget I have not been able to drop is my helmet camera. Not essential I agree, but since I have been using one I have filmed so much dangerous driving – I’ve become aware, that should the worst happen, it would be my word against theirs, and having it on film MAY give some leverage to may carers or those left behind.
My camera simply records on a loop of about 10 days worth of rides. I habitually charge it each night along with my phone etc. Having a record of some rides is also good for posterity! I am not sure if my Dogcam / Road Hawk Bullet Ride R+ camera is still available for sale, but it was a budget price, and considering it’s used daily and still going after 4 years it’s been well worth the money. You can see footage from it here – RECORDINGS – These are uploaded at a low-quality, the original is really good but they are meaty video files.
Find out more here: Camera
Non-essential gadget number 2, the Bone Conduction Headphones.
Again, I ride primarily a bike off roads – about ~1mile of my 8 miles is mixed with motor traffic. With this in mind, I sometimes enjoy the company of Radio 3 etc in the mornings.
It was an impulse purchase and to be honest I didn’t think it would work, but this relatively cheap budget version works really well! And it’s Bluetooth, so no wires!
Leaving my ears clear to hear anything from my surroundings, the sound is transmitted through the skull, the node sits just on the cheekbones, it really is amazing. Admittedly on busy areas where traffic is heavy, you struggle to hear quieter elements of the sounds but this is to be expected. When away from the motor traffic, what you can hear is great – both bass and treble, voice and music, is clear and has depth.
Find out more here: Headphones
So, yes a lot of the cycle culture kit is not needed but these two toys I use daily, and along with my belt-drive Gazelle, biking to work is a blessing!