There are plenty of sensible folks who believe cycling gear needs to be extra bulky and pricey. However, as explained above, for a lot of cyclists with average or below average cycling mileage (some costing no more than $100), a minimalist cycle set up can work well and provide the best bang for the buck.
If your cycle set contains a rack, fenders and a set of alloy spokes, an extra pair of gears can provide better performance than gear for which there is no need (such as super cycled or disc brake mountain bikes).
Safety gear that becomes more expensive as cycling becomes more popular is already paid for by most cyclists anyway, and the benefits of the gear actually gain more value the more rides you do.
Extra gear isn’t always needed either, as with an eco bike or a bike of modest gearing.
Is it safe?
If you are going to ride a bicycle on local roads with road traffic, helmets and seat belts should be worn to protect you from any potential impact.
It’s a good idea to take a lesson with a certified instructor and ensure you know how to ride safely and correctly.
A fast-paced cycle set up with little gear weighs more and increases your speed slightly – but at the cost of having to travel slower than you normally would – for your own safety.
Which gear is best for cycling on hills?
While cycling with gear to make you ride faster might seem like a good thing, you risk compressing your knees (and causing more wear and tear) on hills. Plus you have to take your hand brakes off, increasing your chances of stopping in a dangerous place like a pedestrian crossing.
There are plenty of short rides you can do that are suitable to have all gear on.
In a scenario where a full cycle set up is useful, then gear for better overall speed is best.
it’s much better to have gear to offer extra protection than to have even a relatively heavy set up with less speed in it – in which case you might start to slow down so much you start to sink or skid on wet roads.
So gear set up and speed are all just basic mathematics (in fact, the ‘calculus of speed’) – it’s not worth worrying about or wasting time worrying over whether you have the best gear.
If you do suffer from injuries while cycling, then look into how to make cycling more or less risky.
Personally I used to cycle in a full gear set up in the mountains.
However in the city and where cycling is a daily part of my life, I’ve only ever used a single small cycle set up with little gear – which means the limits of what gear I use are usually limited to my own ability to pedal fast (or have enough stamina to complete a long cycling tour).
So – is there any point in having a full gear set up on a bicycle – or am I going to miss out on some of the joy of cycling?
I would be inclined to say no – as I think having a high quality bike fit is so important and having to carry all the gear is far too cumbersome.
What is Sport Wales?
Cycling is one of the most popular sports in Wales.