After recommitting myself to cycling at the beginning of the COVID era, I tested a variety of cycling clothing, accessories, equipment and applications that make riding safer and more comfortable. I have not comprehensively tested most of these product categories; the list below is just a sample of my personal best choices and favorite cycling gear. I update this article regularly as I try out new equipment.
Now that I have tested various hydrating backpacks and hips, I decided on Camelbak Chase for mountain biking. It has the right amount of storage capacity – 70 ounces of water plus a good amount of equipment – as well as lots of practical pockets and other bells and whistles. (Literally, it has an integrated safety whistle.) It also has an integrated impact protection plate, which could be useful if you fall off your bike and land on your back. For $ 150, it’s not cheap. But if you are an aggressive driver, extra protection pays off.
Considering, if you want to spend less, I used the Osprey Syncro 12 on family hikes and actually prefer its water bladder more than the Camelback system. Plus, Syncro has a good balance between storage capacity and affordability, an integrated rain cover and costs a reasonable $ 130.
There are a lot of people who ride to leave emails, messages and calls, but I prefer to keep my phone handy when I’m in the saddle. (Obviously, I stop completely at the edge of the road before turning on the screen.) Until recently, I put my phone in my jersey pocket, which was often under my jacket, making it difficult – and uncertain – to access while rolling. Then I got this case and bracket for Quad Lock. That totally changed the game.
The Quad Lock is located on top of the bike and I feel pretty confident in its ability to keep my phone safe and secure, even when crossing rough terrain. When the ride is over, or I’m off the road to take a photo, it’s easy to let go; just pull the bracket lock mechanism up and turn it. The case for the Quad Lock phone is huge – a protrusion is raised on the back that fits into the holder – and I believe it will be able to protect the phone in the event of a collision.
I tested a bunch of bike lights, but two were above the rest. The NiteRider Lumina Dual 1800 is light, bright and easy to mount on a helmet or steering wheel. At the second brightest setting (1,500 lumens), I managed to get almost two hours out of a rechargeable battery. (I also like NiteRider’s Omega taillight.)
With that in mind, if you’re looking for something that’s brighter or lasts longer, I highly recommend Gloworm XS. It is expensive – over $ 400 – and requires transportation around a significant battery pack, but emits an incredible amount of light. When set at 2,500 lumens, it basically turns night into day, and I was able to get more than two hours of light per charge. When I reduced it to just under 2000 lumens, my legs always knelt before the light.
The third version of Chrome’s acclaimed Cobra hooded sweatshirt is in the right place. It is the perfect weight for the cool spring of Maine, and the Merino-polia mixture achieves the right balance between durability, heat and resistance to wind, water and dirt. And there are some thoughtful designs – including two front pockets with a zipper on the front and one long pouch with a zipper along the lower back – that make it equally suitable for driving or hanging out. One of my favorite, most worn pieces of clothing.
The Endura Luminite line has become my choice for wet and / or cold weather thanks to its lightweight construction, protective waterproofness and comfortable fit. The pants – which are currently on sale for $ 90 – have zippers at the ankles and adjustable cuffs with buttons, to adjust on the go, and have four reflective panels. And the Luminite 3-in-1 jacket has proven itself in a variety of driving conditions. A waterproof shell with a hood and a removable, reversible, insulated vest can be combined or worn separately, depending on the temperature and conditions, and have pockets in all the right places.
Comfortable, firm, elegant strokes that are equally suitable for mountain biking and the rest of your life. A reinforced toe saved my foot from getting stuck between the rock and the pedal a few times. And although I love the new “Spruce / Berm brown” styling, I have an older dark blue and orange model, which is currently on sale.
My favorite piece of headgear without a helmet.
This summer, I added Hiplock’s Z Lok safety tie to my little bike bag. Weighing in at 2.5 ounces, it’s almost imperceptibly lightweight and while it won’t deter a professional bike thief – I wouldn’t rely on it in an insidious city like San Francisco – the steel core is strong enough to give me peace of mind it bothers me when I park bike on the beach.
I also lent a combination-based Hiplok Spin to my kid, who finds a four-digit code easier to manage than a key. It has everything I want in the lock – and a few things I didn’t know I wanted. It is strong but not too heavy, reflective and wearable.
David Carnoy / CNET
If you are looking for an affordable water bottle that will keep your water cool, Polar makes great insulated 20 and 24 ounce water bottles in several different colors. Just add some ice and your water will stay cool – even on long rides. Starting at around $ 16, they contain no BPA and come with a lifetime warranty.
I wore the same bike helmet for a long, long time. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends replacing the helmet at least every 10 years, and mine is at least that old. After some research, I opted for a mountain bike helmet for extra protection and, in my opinion, a cooler look. After trying a few, I opted for the Smith Forefront 2 Mountain Bike Helmet. I love it.
Most importantly, it has a MIPS architecture, which can cushion the force of a blow to your brain. It is relatively light and airy, and inside it has Koroyd – a layer that offers extra protection against collisions, as well as a way to turn bugs.
Appropriate shades are necessary for driving at any time and in all seasons, and I have a few to recommend. At a higher level, Speedtrap’s HiPER sunglasses are really good: the adjustable frame is light but sturdy, and the scratch-resistant removable lenses, which are easy to change and remove, provide 100% UV protection. And they blur much less than most other glasses I’ve tested.
For evening rides, I used the Adidas Sport SP0001, which comes with two lens options – one of which is optimized for low light levels. And finally, there are Smith Optics Tempo ChromaPop, which are comfortable to wear and feel safe.
Sarah Tew / CNET
I’ve been using Fear to track and share rides (both running and hiking) for years. But in March, I upgraded to Strava’s subscription service, which costs $ 8 a month – or $ 60 if you pay in advance all year. I did this mainly for safety reasons: the Beacon app feature allows you to select a contact that can track your whereabouts during each ride. But there are other attractive features, including advanced training metrics and leaderboards.
I will not suggest that the safest choice is to listen to music while riding a bicycle. Many cyclists frown at the practice of wearing headphones while riding a bicycle, arguing that all your senses should be alert to danger. I think that makes a lot of sense and I will not claim otherwise.
However, if you listen to music while driving (or running), you can mitigate the risks with a set of headphones that do not completely exclude you from the outside world. A couple that has some version of transparency mode – like Apple AirPods Pro – is a good bet.
By the way, I warmly recommend the Adidas FWD-01. They are comfortable to wear, easy to control with one hand and loud enough to hear – even in very windy conditions. They have a built-in microphone, so you can switch to a call when needed. The cable made of knitted fabric, which is waterproof, is light and does not tangle. And the battery life is great.
More basic things to exercise
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any questions you may have about your health condition or health goals.