6 Accessories Every Cyclist Must Use
Cycling is considered one of the healthiest activities for your physical wellbeing and also for your mental wellness. To top that, it's one of the most eco-friendly modes of traveling. But like with any activity, cycling has its risks.
Any risk effect can be minimized and mitigated. So let's look at the risks you could be affected with when you cycle and the accessories you could and should use to reduce these risks.
We've sure you guessed helmet as the number one safety accessory. Using a helmet does not mean you will never injure your head in the event of a crash or a fall. But wearing one is more about minimizing the effect of injury to your head and its internal organ your brain. Helmets are no longer bulky and make the head feel hot and sweaty. You get trendy, fashionable, light-weight, and with multiple vents to keep you looking and feeling cool and yet well-protected. So remember there are no two ways whether to use a helmet or not. The only exceptions will be when riding in safe cycling environments like the streets of the Netherlands, where cyclists make up most of the commuters.
2) Cycling Glasses
Like all riders, insects, debris, dust can get right into your eyes and mouth when you're on the road, and especially on trails. Eyeglasses, especially the wrap-around kind, offer you protection from all these disturbances that come your way. They protect your eyes from tiny bits that can lodge themselves in, or even from blinking or closing your eyes which is dangerous and possibly avoiding a crash. Wearing glasses allows you to retain visibility while it is raining. Another benefit, especially with tinted and polarised eyewear, is that they prevent the bright and eye-blinding sun and oncoming vehicle's high beams.
All in all, eyeglasses are a must-have protective accessory for any cyclist. Of course, you may need to have two different sets - one clear-one for daytime riding, and the other, tinted or polarised, more apt for late evening and night riding.
Were you aware that wind noise that cyclists experience when riding can cause permanent hearing loss over a long time? Yes, it's true! You must take precautions to protect your ears when you are out cycling. Ear protection comes in the form of earmuffs, earplugs, wind noise blockers, headbands or ear bands, noise cancellation earphones, and similar ear accessories.
Some may be perfect for keeping your ears warm in case the weather outside is cold. What you need to look out for are the ones that cut wind noise. Make sure whatever you use saves your ears from wind noise and allows you to hear other required noises, like people's voices, vehicle horns, etc.
Don't overlook using cycling gloves. They are a valuable protective accessory in ways you may not have known. Cycling gloves more often come with padded palms to protect your hand in case of a tumble. Also, they prevent friction and blisters that may occur on gripping a cycles' handlebar for extensive periods.
Additionally, the padding of your cycling glove protects your ulnar nerve, which runs through the palm of your hand. When gripping the handlebar, you are invariably putting pressure on the ulnar nerve. And without padded gloves, you stand the chance of experiencing pain or numbness in your little and ring fingers, or in some cases, the entire hand. You have the choice of full gloves that cover your entire palm and fingers or fingerless ones. You also get gloves made of wool and waterproof to keep your fingers protected in cold and rainy weather.
5) Padded Cycling Shorts
These shorts are a must wear especially for bicycle riders who go on long rides. They are not required for a short neighbourhood jaunt on your bike. Or maybe not even when commuting since most commutes do not extend for an extended period. The benefits of wearing these shorts include the prevention of chaffing, reducing pressure points, cushioning your sit bones, and minimizing the effect of road vibrations. You will enjoy cycling in the comfort and efficiency that padded cycling shorts provide.
6) Sun Protection
Unfortunately, we cannot will the weather to be pleasant and comfortable when we cycle. So for the times that the sun is shining brightly and can burn your skin, you would need to take all the precautions and measures. Using sunscreen lotion, especially on your face, becomes a necessity. The neglected exposed parts like the back of your neck and ears should also be protected with sunscreen. Look out for clothing that offers UPF protection. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, indicating protection to some extent of the sun's ultraviolet rays penetrating the fabric. So if you purchase a sports shirt with UPF of 50 -it would allow just 1/50th of the sun's UV radiation to reach your skin. You can also add arm and leg sleeves to your riding gear which offer UPF protection.
Consider adding all these safety accessories to your bicycle gear. It is worth the investment as a preventive measure to any risk that comes with cycling.
Just to add here, inactivity is the biggest risk to your health and life than being physically active. It's better to manage the risks associated with any activities than choose 'inactivity'.
Besides these accessories that you can add to your gear, there are bicycle accessories that you must consider as part of staying safe while riding. Look out for that in another post.
Do you have any special wearables that you use to stay safe when you cycle? If you do, we'd love to hear about it. Please do share by adding to the comment box below.
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