Most riders spend a fair bit of money on a good helmet and jacket and gloves. Some build on this with boots and riding pants and rain gear. However sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference. Here are five things that I cannot ride without now that I never thought of when first riding.
1. Buff or other brand of neck tube/scarf. These are great. In winter they seal the wind out from entering the top of your jacket and chilling your back often something that leads to getting colds. In summer with jackets open at the top to catch the breeze they stop the back of your neck from getting sunburnt as no amount of sunscreen seems to hold this off if on tour.
I have a couple of Buffs, this is a summer thin one I found on sale one day. In serious winter conditions I reach for my thermal neck gator but rest of the time I find a Buff does the job.
2. Technical socks. Having thermal winter boot socks with coolmax fabrics to wick moisture away from your feet really makes a difference keeping your feet both warm and dry. In summer having coolmax summer socks like hiking or outdoor shop items will wick moisture away and reduce heat build up and keep my feet fresher as the day goes on.
I am still using the Alpinestars socks I purchased about 6 years back. Probably last me another 6 years too, I found one place had them on sale and got a few pairs. In summer I use outdoor shop type hiking socks, not found any that are particularly long lasting so far.
3. Ear plugs. I know I have spoken about hearing loss before but using ear plugs also adds a lot to your riding enjoyment. No wind roar means you arrive less fatigued and on the way the Zen feeling of being on the road with your bike is greatly enhanced. Don’t just think of the disposable foam type.
I like what they call the ‘non roll’ ear plugs which are the blue ones in the photo. These are so easy to use not needing to be compressed before fitting just gently insert and I find them more comfortable too. The soft moldable silicon plugs in the container are the ultimate in comfort and are less isolating so if you think you cannot wear plugs then try this type (often called swimmers ear plugs)
4. Non cotton riding shirt. In winter wearing cotton is the worst thing as it will retain moisture and make you damp and cold. A thermal t-shirt will not only keep you warmer but also regulate your body temperature if the day warms up. In summer cotton again falls down compared to quick dry sports shirts that will keep you dry and flow more air.
5. Visor cleaner. So nice to be riding with a clean visor on tour. I have tried V brand pocket item but these are bit overpriced and do not last long. You can make your own kit similar to the V one or bring a good quality damp micro fibre cloth in a zip lock plastic bag. Much better than having to look through bugs until a gas station to use some swamp water in a bucket.
Hope you might enjoy your ride a little more with one of these ideas.