10 things you didn’t know you needed for cycling season in the Glebe
May is Bike to Work month in Ottawa, and if you’re readying your bike for another solid cycling season, you should be sure your bike is tuned and ready to go.
With a dedicated bike lane on O’Connor Street all the way through the Glebe, and the picturesque Rideau Canal bike path that takes cyclists on a scenic route from downtown to Dow’s Lake, you’ll likely be spending much of your season riding through the neighbourhood.
Aside from the basic tune-up to get your gears running smoothly, there are handfuls of other upgrades you might want to consider before heading out on the road.
Here’s a list of 10 things you didn’t know you needed for a successful cycling season.
Forget the Camelback, says Kunstadt, and instead grab yourself a good on-bike water cage and water bottle. “If you’ve got a water bag on your back, and you’re sweating, you’ll just make yourself two degrees hotter,” he says. Kunstadt Sports has an array of water cages, so you can stay hydrated on a long ride.
If you’re planning on doing any night riding, you’ll certainly want to install a light on your bike for added visibility. But Bray at Joe Mamma suggests even using your light during the daytime, as his Bank Street bike shop has a suite of bike lights to ensure you’re safe on the road. “Lights are really important, because if people can’t see you…”
Bray says that one of the biggest mistakes cyclists make is not keeping their ride clean. Pick up a bottle of Muc-Off and keep your bike clear and free of dirt and debris. You’ll notice a huge difference. “Keeping your bike clean is just as important and lubing. If you don’t clean your bike after a ride, the next time you use it, all that dirt will make its way into all the nooks and crannies of your bike,” says Bray.
Many cyclists might not know that having a bell installed on your bike is law in Ontario. Failing to meet this requirement could land you an $85 fine. But more than that, as Kunstadt explains, having a bell, gong or horn will limit potential collisions with other cyclists or pedestrians strolling along multi-use paths.
This is a no-brainer, pun intended. But some cyclists may not be aware that all riders under the age of 18 in Ontario must wear an approved bicycle helmet when on the road. While in the olden days, it wasn’t considered “cool” to wear a helmet, that mentality has certainly changed. “It’s not cool to not wear a helmet,” adds Kunstadt. Pick up a lid at Kunstadt for you and your family before heading out on a ride.
A Good Bike Pump
“Every cyclist should have a proper pump at home to constantly check your tire pressure,” says Bray. While it’s good to have a mobile pump in your backpack or on your bike for on-the-go flats, having a good pump at home will ensure your bike is ready to roll whenever you’re set for a ride.
A Solid Lock
Again, this is a fairly obvious one. But even in a city as safe as Ottawa, Bray agrees that, “if you leave your bike unlocked, it’s gone.” Bray says it’s a good idea to consult with an expert when purchasing a bike lock, as there are different locks depending on where you will be locking it up. Bray will certainly help get your bike secured this season.
Lose the underwear. No, seriously. Kunstadt says that many cyclists may not know that if you’re rocking a good pair of cycling shorts that have chamois padding inside, you should be going commando. He also says that his shop carries cycling shorts that are “disguised” as regular board shorts, so riders don’t have to squeeze into spandex to be comfortable. Especially for longer rides, you don’t want to be wearing pants, or tight shorts with seams that will create more friction than you need down there.
Again, this is something that may get overlooked by the average cyclist, but if you’re doing any long rides, you’ll want to grab a pair of good gloves to reduce blisters and sore spots on your hands. “It helps with the comfort level on a long ride,” says Kunstadt.
Ever been on the road when your seat slides down too low? How about adjusting your brake tension? Pick up a multi-tool and save yourself the hassle of an uncomfortable ride. Pull over, pull out your multi-tool and you’ll be back on your way in no time. “A basic multi-tool can do it all while on the go,” says Bray.
Additional cycling products
Aside from our 10 must-haves, there are scores of other products that will enhance your ride this season. Head to Sporting Life at Lansdowne Park and pick up a Specialized SpeedZone Sport Wireless Cycling Computer to track speed and distance with ease. The sports store also carries Topeak RideCases for iPhone, front and rear bike racks, and universal mirrors, among more.
Get your ride running slick before you hit the road with tune-ups from McCrank’s Cycles, Kunstadt Sports and Joe Mamma Cycles. McCrank’s offers a quick Light Tune Up for $62, while you can get a full bike overhaul, which includes a thorough wash of parts, brake pads and cable replacements, along with bearing and grease hub replacements for $150. Visit the bike shop here.
Download the City of Ottawa’s new Cycling Map Here.