To hell with “rules”! Uncool cycling accessories that deserve to make a comeback
The “rules” are part of an oft-quoted unofficial code of conduct for cyclists that, among other things, dictates what cycling accessories are deemed acceptable.
In this episode of the BikeRadar podcast, Jack Luke and Simon von Bromley encourage you to throw off the oppressive shackles of fashion and embrace a more practical (and maybe even faster) cycling life with these criminally uncool cycling accessories.
From the humble and misunderstood crutch to the much-maligned saddle bag, the pair throw caution to the wind and reveal their true inner selves.
Here are six of our favorite uncool accessories. Listen to the podcast for the full list of eight.
It’s no secret that we love a good mudguard here at BikeRadar.
As we’ve said many times before, life is just too short to ride with a wet butt.
Fenders also keep your bike cleaner, improving the longevity of your frame and drivetrain components.
Also, showing up for a group ride during the wet months without mudguards is a sin punishable (at a minimum) by banishment to the back of the peloton.
Tl;dr – embrace a less humid life and buy a set of mudguards for your bike. You will not regret it.
A wise man once said that if your bike doesn’t have a kickstand, it will fall.
Exactly why so few bikes—yes, even performance-oriented road bikes—have a kickstand is a bit of a mystery.
If making comparisons between bikes and motorcycles is sometimes tedious, buying a road superbike without a kickstand is unthinkable.
Without a kickstand, your expensive toy would fall over when you stopped for a coffee halfway through. The same is true for a road bike. Why do we let fashion lead us astray?
The problem is that no brand is currently making a sleek, lightweight kickstand that you would actually want to put on your road bike, but it doesn’t have to be.
Thinking more concretely, kickstands are also a notable omission on the majority of commuter bikes sold in the UK. All touring bikes and heavy e-MTBs would also benefit from a kickstand.
We don’t see any downside to owning a less rugged bike, so it’s our call for the cycling brands of this world – start installing stock kickstands on utility bikes and develop a sleek integrated stand for road bikes. We will be delighted.
3. Chain guards
Oily chains are the menace of pant legs the world over and, again, we can’t help but wonder why so few complete commuter bikes are spec’d with them in stock.
Like mud flaps, they help keep your drivetrain clean, improving lifespan and protecting your parachute pants in the process.
Beyond practical cycling, the development of an integrated chain guard for road bikes looks like a low-hanging fruit from a performance standpoint.
Housing your bike’s drivetrain in a sufficiently slippery enclosure would reduce wear and increase aerodynamic performance compared to a conventional external drivetrain.
Unfortunately, current UCI rules banning non-structural fairings would likely prevent any concerted development in this area for the pros, but that shouldn’t stop us mortal bettors from enjoying the benefits that chain guards could offer. .
Of course, it’s possible that other developments in gearboxes, internally geared hub technology or something else make this argument redundant. However, in the meantime, external derailleur drivetrains seem here to stay.
Like kickstands, it’s our call to the innovative bike brands of this world to develop a bike for riders who aren’t constrained by UCI rules to create an innovative aerodynamic chaincase that will no doubt improve our bikes.
While a 2021 change to the rules of the CTT (the UK’s time trial organization) means that
ugly fashionable headbands will no longer be part of hill climbs, they still have their place in cycling.
For in-house TT nerd Simon von Bromley, a thin sweatband worn under a time trial helmet helps absorb sweat mid-race, keeping their integrated visors clear.
For indoor cycling, a terry cloth headband is also generally more effective than a cap at soaking up tons of sweat as you ride your virtual KMs.
For chronic victims of contrarian fashion, the headband also offers a countercultural alternative to the cycling cap, and that can’t be overlooked.
Mini pumps have been relegated to swimwear pockets for too long.
We urge you to free your pump from its sweaty shroud and wear it with pride on your bike.
Not only does this mean you’re less likely to forget to take it with you on a ride, it’s also more comfortable.
While this is likely an abnormal event, there is also no risk of back injury from falling on your pump in an accident.
Speaking from in-house experience, the hard edges of a mini-pump stuck above the parapet of your jersey pocket can wear small pinholes in the back of your expensive waterproof cycling jackets, especially if they’re made of dangerously thin Gore-Tex. Dry material.
The #freetheminipump campaign starts here.
6. String Vests
Rope base layers are a favorite at BikeRadar.
Compared to summer underwear made from fabric panels, we have found that string vests breathe and wick away sweat more effectively. They also dry much faster and tend to last longer.
They are a bit aesthetically demanding though, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a more comfortable life on the bike.