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Everyone who takes up biking will need a bicycle and a helmet, but there is a lot of optional equipment out there that you may want to purchase to make your bike sessions more enjoyable. The equipment you need to start biking depends on two variables: first, what kind of biking you intend to do and, second, how frequent and how intense you expect your bike sessions to be.
A lot of children grow up riding mountain bikes, so many people are unaware that several kinds of bikes exist. Mountain bikes have wide, deep-treaded tires to help the bike grip the path in difficult terrain. They also often have shock absorbers. If you don't plan to go off-roading, you can opt for a street bike, which will be light and have narrow tires designed for riding on paved surfaces. Hybrids combining these two styles are made for people who plan to ride on the street and well-maintained bike paths.
If you plan to take up stunt biking, you can purchase a stunt bike. These bikes tend to be smaller than other types of bikes. They have strong frames that can take a lot of jolting. Many also have pegs protruding from the axis of each tire to facilitate some tricks. These are the kind of bikes professional stunt riders use.
Whatever type of bike you choose to buy, you will also need a helmet. Helmets are required by law in many places, especially if the rider of the bike is less than 18 years old. You may want to purchase other safety equipment as well. If you plan to ride at night, you should purchase a light for the front of your bicycle and a reflective vest for yourself. This will make you as visible as possible to motorists.
If you plan to go on long bike rides or if you will be biking in the middle of the day when it is hot outside, a water bottle is a good idea. Most sporting goods stores sell water bottles with holders that screw onto the frame of your bike. Clothes designed for biking are also a good idea for long or difficult bike rides. Bike shorts fit tightly and will not get caught in the moving part of the bike. You can even buy shorts and tops made out of a material that wicks sweat and heat away from the body.
I worry about bike tires on long rides, so I'd recommend purchasing at the very minimum a tire pump and a patch kit if you ride miles at a time.
I also like having a mirror to see what's behind me without having to wrench my neck around to see who or what's behind me. I don't really care much for the padded gel bike shorts but a padded gel seat makes the long rides more comfortable.
I just started biking again and bought an aluminum Trek bike that's light, has a great suspension and hopefully will last me a couple of years.
The accessories I bought to go along with the bike are pretty basic, but I didn't think about them until I was in the store.
The first thing I bought was a bike lock so I could ride anywhere, lock the bike up and not have to worry about it being stolen.
The second item I thought was important was a night light for the times when I get caught riding home in the dark.
Instead of a water bottle holder, I went ahead and bought a cool aluminum basket that holds my backpack, a couple of bottles of water, a hand towel, a small dog (if I feel like taking her along for the ride), and a camera!
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