Gear for Road Riding Safety and Comfort
Road cycling requires the right gear to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. From the bike itself to the accessories and apparel, having the appropriate equipment can make a significant difference in your performance, comfort, and overall satisfaction.
In this blog, we’ll explore the essential road cycling gear that every cyclist should consider investing in.
The first essential needed for road riding is, of course, a bike!
Road bikes are mainly ridden for fitness and recreation. This type of bike is generally light, strong, comfortable, and fast. The typical road bike features drop bars and smooth, skinny tires. Its geometry is designed with long distance rides of varied elevation profiles in mind.
Even within the road bike category, there is an array of styles. Although most will work out just fine for you in most riding situations, it’s best to match the model to your own unique priorities for ultimate comfort and performance.
For example, if you envision particularly long days (and even days on end) in the saddle, a long distance touring model would be best. If you aspire to race, there are styles designed specifically for speed and aerodynamics.
No matter what your goals or riding style, Trek has a road bike for you! With its relaxed geometry, the Trek Domane is especially comfortable and great for long days on the road, while the Trek Madone is renowned for aerodynamics and speed, and the lightweight Trek Émonda particularly excels for KOMs, sprinting, and crits. If you're looking for a rig to crush miles on gravel, the Trek Checkpoint is the bike for you!
Browse road bikes here, and don’t hesitate to ask our crew for guidance on which model will best suit your needs.
Nutrition and Hydration
Since road rides typically involve long distances and a bit of exertion, it’s important to carry plenty of water and proper nutrition.
Most road bikes can accommodate two water bottle cages, and some can carry upwards of six! It’s a good idea to fill one bottle up with electrolyte hydration, or at least bring some powder or a tablet to add along the way.
Generally, when on a road ride, cyclists fill up water bottles along the way; be sure to check on availability beforehand as you plan your route.
Be sure not to skimp on nutrition. Depletion of glycogen stores in your muscles and liver can cause sudden fatigue and energy loss commonly known as “bonking.” Stay fueled up with energy bars, gels, and/or blocks.
Protection and Apparel
The clothes and protective gear you wear are essential for comfort and safety.
The most crucial piece of protective gear, of course, is your helmet. Protect your head with a well-ventilated helmet, preferably in hi-vis yellow which will stand out during the daytime (add a reflective strip for a boost of visibility at night). Look for a model designed specifically for road riding, as they are aerodynamic and boast superior air-flow.
We strongly recommend a Bontrager helmet with WaveCel technology. WaveCel’s ground breaking technology reduces the chance of concussion to 1.6% any time you have an unexpected meeting with the pavement. Additionally, Bontrager helmets offer a 1-year crash replacement guarantee.
A jersey made specifically for road riding is highly recommended. Not only is it designed to wick moisture and help regulate your temperature, it will have back pockets that you can stash your nutrition, phone, and Chapstick, etc. in. Your best bet is to choose a jersey in hi-vis yellow for best visibility.
Be prepared for a change in weather with a breathable waterproof or water resistant windbreaker. Again, a hi-vis yellow will make you stand out to motorists. Most cycling jackets will pack down small enough to fit in your saddle bag or a jersey back pocket.
A padded cycling short will keep your sensitive parts comfy and unchafed; be sure to slather on the chammy cream before you take off. For rides over 30 miles, you'll want to opt for cycling bibs vs shorts as they feature shoulder straps that prevent them from shifting or sagging. Bibs tend to offer better coverage and eliminate potential pressure points, making them a popular choice among serious cyclists.
You’ll also need cycling shoes specific to the type of pedal on your bike. Designed to optimize power transfer from your legs to the pedals, cycling shoes often feature a stiff sole and a clipless pedal system that attaches the shoe to the pedal allowing you to use your legs' full muscle group for improved efficiency. It’s important to choose shoes that fit properly and are compatible with your pedal system.
Finally, socks made of a suitable material for the season complete your kit; add a reflective/hi-vis leg band for extra visibility.
Lights are critical, not only for riding at night, but during the daylight hours as well. Using front and rear daytime running lights (DRLs) every single time you ride significantly adds safety.
Our crew recommends the Bontrager Ion 100 R/Flare R City Bike Light Set which comes with both front and rear USB rechargeable lights. Each light in this set features focused optics, an interruptive flash pattern, and broad range to ensure visibility. Their compact design and wide beam spread are optimized for city riding. Upgrade to the Bontrager Ion Pro RT/Flare RT Light Set for more lumens.
Learn more about the importance of daylight running lights in this video from Trek.
Tools and Tire Care
A saddlebag will hold other essentials, such as a multi-tool, patch kit, tire levers, tube, and hand pump or CO2 cartridge and inflator.
Some hand pumps can be mounted right on the bike frame, which frees up space in your saddlebag.
Even better, you can ditch the saddlebag entirely if you have a Trek road bike model that boasts integrated storage in the downtube.
This “secret compartment” — Bontrager Integrated Tool Storage (BITS) — is the simplest and cleanest way to carry a flat kit.
The BITS Internal Frame Storage Bag is specifically designed to fit in this spot, and easily accommodates your spare tube, tire levers, and CO2 cartridge and inflator. The compact BITS Integrated Multi-Tool also tucks perfectly into this spot.
Certain accessories may not be “essential” but certainly offer added safety, convenience and/or comfort.
Consider a mirror to easily check on traffic behind you, a bell to alert a pedestrian or other cyclist that you’re approaching, a handlebar holder for your smartphone, a GPS cycling computer for navigation and to track your ride stats, and/or fenders to minimize water and mud spray.
Waterproof shoe covers are a beautiful thing in wet weather. Choose hi-vis because moving parts in a bright color are especially noticeable.
If you plan on stopping anywhere, even for a minute, be sure to carry a sturdy bike lock.
For more information on bikes, apparel, protection, and accessories, browse our website or just stop by any one of our five convenient locations and we’ll be more than happy to help you out.
Happy road riding! Tag us in your social posts — we’d love to share your stoke!