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Kick-start your year with these six riding essentials

Kick-start your year with these six riding essentials

Made a New Year resolution to get fitter in 2012? To ride your bike more? Here’s some essential kit that will make riding your bike more frequently and getting fitter easier and more enjoyable.


One of the most interesting technical innovations of 2011 was Strava, a social fitness website that allows people to compare rides. Key to its success has been the emphasis on community and sharing rides with people you ‘follow’. Another cool feature is ‘segments’ that let you choose a section of trail and ranks all people who have ridden along it into a top ten list. Use it with the Strava smartphone app or any GPS-ready device and get comparing and competing, it’s highly addictive.

UK Bike Skills

Improve your riding in 2012 and make real steps forward in all technical aspects of mountain biking, with skills training pitched at all ability levels from beginner to experienced. Learn to corner faster, how to jump properly, how to handle drops and generally ride better.

Garmin Edge 800


Most people like to know how fast and how far they’ve ridden, and the Edge 800 does this all with incredibly accuracy and above all, simplicity. It’s just a case of fitting it to the bike, turning it on and riding. It does so much more than just track speed and distance; seriously impressive navigational abilities make it ideal for exploring new trails, while the Garmin Connect online database makes it easy to upload and share any ride.

Vertebrate Publishing guide books

Often the best way to get out and ride your bike more is to discover new areas to ride and new trails, and the range of guide books from Vertebrate Publishing, covering most of the UK, are ideal.

Excellent route summaries, crystal clear Ordnance Survey maps, directions that are detailed without being fussy and include a wealth of local detail to encourage you to look beyond your front wheel. Add to that the altitude profile, refreshment stops, parking and other crucial info and it is the complete package.

Gore Bike Wear Alp X jacket

One way to face the tough conditions at this time of year is to be properly prepared, and Gore Bike Wear’s Alp X jacket with removable sleeves will leave you fresh out of excuses for not riding when it’s a little cold/damp/muddy out there.

Because the sleeves can be whipped off at a moments notice, you can adjust accordingly for the temperature you’re currently riding in, without having to remove the jacket completely.

Enter an event

If you need any motivation to ride your bike more in the next couple of weeks, whatever the weather is doing, then entering an event is a sure fire way of giving yourself a goal and ensuring you have to do more than a few rides.

Got any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments box below:

  1. PaulHaysom

    Strava is definitely one of the most useful things out there. The beauty of turning it on and leaving it in the bag running, almost makes the cycling computer pointless!

  2. Gavin Pope

    Just like endomondo then?

  3. Paul

    and run keeper….but with Strava the way you can compete against other riders on a particular route is the best part in my opinion. Don’t think endomondo does that?

  4. Sam Finch

    I went and saw Tony at UK Bike Skills twice in 2011, and those 2 lessons have taken my riding to a level far beyond what I ever thought I could achieve. The fantastic thing is the learning continues once you have left, and he has instilled the skills for you to keep getting better and better each ride.
    Forget the shiny new kit, a lesson with Tony should be an essential. I’ll be back in 2012 without a doubt.


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