As you buy a bike/start riding, quite a few different people are going to tell you that there are things that you absolutely NEED. It starts in a bike shop, when after you get a “great deal” on last year’s bike you suddenly are told that you NEED all sorts of stuff: Patch kit, tire levers, mini pump, tube, multi-tool, another tube, bike shorts, jersey, new pedals (because the one that came on the bike aren’t good enough), new shoes (because the new pedals aren’t compatible with your street shoes), etc. Suddenly your $600 bike purchase has an additional $700 worth of accessories tacked on. The truth of the matter is that you really don’t NEED all of that, the shop is just looking to sell you stuff. Even with the one piece of safety equipment that everyone should have (a helmet), a $10 WalMart special has to go through the exact same testing procedure as a $240 Lance Armstrong helmet. As long as it says “CPSC Certified,” they’ve all passed the same test and should protect your head the same.
nagging overly caring significant other is going to demand that you never leave the house without your RoadID medical bracelet and a copy of your health insurance card to ensure that the ambulance driver takes you to a good hospital instead of the one you saw on 60 Minutes last night.
All of those suggestions are fine, and if you want to bring them with you everywhere, by all means go ahead. But here are 3 things that you should ABSOLUTELY, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES EVER BE WITHOUT:
1. Cell Phone
Much of what the bike shop is going to try to sell you is for doing small bike repairs on the side of the road. The tire levers, tube, mini pump are for changing flat tires. The multi-tool is for things like tightening bolts or repairing a chain. However, even an accomplished rider will tell you that any type of repair beyond changing a tube sucks to try to do on the side of the road. You have no full sized tools, no space to work, cars whizzing by, etc. So pull out the cell phone and give your
overly caring loving and adorable significant other a call, or maybe a coworker, or friend and see if they can come give you a ride. Heck, you might even be able to con your local AAA chapter into coming to give you a lift… However, what happens if your loving and adorable significant other has to work for the next hour and a half and can’t pick you up till then?
2. $20 Bill
Why, you head to the nearest pub for a drink, that’s what! Maybe you left your wallet at home by mistake, but you’ve got that $20 bill in your pocket. That can easily buy you a nice cold beer and a burger while you wait. (Note: for NYC readers, please up that to a $50 bill, since $20 won’t get you very far these days.) Or maybe you use that $20 as a bribe for one of your friends or coworkers to come get you.
But what if all else fails and you CAN’T get someone to come get you? Call up your local cab company. Green Cab here in Madison will send out a cab with a bikerack on it to take you wherever you need to go. $20 will get you almost anywhere in the city (check site for details), whether it’s to work, home, etc.
3. A Bottle Opener
Because good beer doesn’t come in twist offs.