A fair number of people have asked me for bike accessory recommmendations over the years, so here are my compiled recommendations. The lists and their items are ordered by importance. Each item has a link to a suggested product on Amazon, complete with affiliate kickback code.
If you have a bike and want to ride it more than like twice ever you will absolutely need the following:
- Tire Pump - Inflate your tires' inner tubes. Tubes lose air over time, so you'll need to inflate them anywhere from a couple times a week to once every couple weeks.
- Chain Lube - Clean and lubricate your chain about once every week or two to make sure that it continues to work smoothly and to reduce wear.
- Rag - Wipe accumulated crap off your chain before lubricating it. Wipe off excess lube after lubricating it.
If you're traveling more than a mile or two you should prepare for emergencies by carrying the following:
- Tool Bag - Carries your tools. You can select whatever form factor works for you, but I recommend this seat pack. Stays out of your way, and has a couple nice little compartments.
- Multitool - All the wrenches and drivers and other bits you need for roadside repairs or adjustments. Make sure that your selected mutitool has all the tools you need! If your bike has locknuts on the wheels instead of quick-release skewers or thru-axles, make damn sure to get a tool that has the correct size wrenches in it. Same goes for bikes with obscure fasteners.
- Tire Levers - To remove a flat tire. The Pedro's levers are real sturdy.
- Spare Inner Tube - To replace a punctured or ruptured tube. Make sure you get tubes in the correct diameter, width, and stem type for your bike.
- Mini Tire Pump - To inflate a new or repaired tube on the side of the road.
- Valve Adapter - In case your pump doesn't fit the valve stems of your inner tubes. Nice to carry one in case another cyclist is in need as well. They're so darn cheap and small and a real life-saver.
- Tire Pressure Gauge - In case your pump doesn't have a pressure gauge in-line, you'll want one to check pressure while inflating or deflating a tire.
- Rag - Optional. Try to get one in a bright color. Good to wipe off excess lube or gunk. Good to leave small fiddly bits like bolts or valve caps on to locate them when you need them. Nice to wipe the road gunk off your hands.
- Inner Tube Patch Kit - Optional. In case you get a flat and are comfortable repairing it rather than replacing it. Or in case you or a friend don't have a replacement tube.
- Tire Boot - Optional. In case your tire's got a substantial puncture or slash in it. Prevents the replaced/repaired inner tube from poking out of the hole. Tubes poking out of the hole can be damaged by the tire itself and are more susceptible to environmental hazards. Note that these things are really meant for short-term fixes. In a pinch you can substitute a folded up dollar bill.
If you'll be traveling in the dusk or dark you'll need lights to see and be seen:
- Headlight - Lights the path ahead of you when it's too dark to see well. Blinks to make you visible when you can still see well enough but others might not see you so well.
- Taillight - Make sure you don't get rear-ended or right-hooked in traffic. Blink for maximum visibility and to extend battery life.
Try not to get your bike stolen?
- U-Lock - U-locks are the sturdiest style bike lock you can get. This particular lock's small size makes it both more secure - tough to insert a pry bar with so little space - and more portable.
- Steel Cable - Attach this to your U-lock and wrap it through your wheels to keep them on your bike.
If you want to carry things with you on your bike you should think about:
- Water Bottles - Hold water, stay hydrated. We're basically complicated plants, guys. This is important.
- Water Bottle Cages - Hold water holder.
- Handle Bar Bag - Small carrying capacity. I like to toss my lock and the occasional snack or flask in here.
- Rear Rack - Throw a set of bags or a crate on this sucker and you can carry a bunch of stuff. Note that the linked model is for bikes with disc brakes. If you don't have disc brakes, try the non-disc version.
** DONE. **