Essential Bicycle Accessories -Everything you need to start riding


Welcome to Bicycle Bob’s CycleEssentials, today we are going to go over the essential bicycle accessories that every cyclist must have when going for a ride. I have broken these cycling essentials into four categories; Helmets/Lids, Lights, Locks, and Essential tools that every rider should have.

Helmets / Lids – Functionality and Styles

Cycling helmets are designed to protect riders from head injuries. When looking for a helmet some factors come into play; like comfort, aerodynamics, and breath ability. All helmets sold by reputable retailers will meet the standards set by State and Federal authorities in the country of sale.

Mountain Bike Helmets:

There are two types of helmets for mountain bikers, they are full – face and half – shell.

  • Full – Face: Protects the whole face they come with a chin and face guard.
  • Half – Shell: Protects the head, above the ear and back of the head.

Road Bike Helmets:

There are many types of helmet for Road Cycling. The two types I will be going over are leisure /commuter and performance. Leisure helmets are ideal for people just getting into cycling or people who aren’t about spending a lot of money to save a few grams of weight. Usually they are just as comfortable as the more expensive helmets but slightly heavier.

Performance Helmets: Are among the lightest available, often seen worn by professional riders during races. You’d be spending extra money to have the ultra lightweight and added venting.

Commuter Helmets: They tend to be more trendy, heavier, and has less venting.

Commuter cyclist have different needs in a helmet than a road cyclist and a Mountain cyclist. A commuter helmet should be stylish, low profile, for easy storage off the bike you are ridding. It should offer plenty of ventilation, in addition to protection and not empty your wallet in terms of affordability. Additionally features integrated helps you safely and easily navigate through the busy city streets.

When choosing your helmet take into account ventilation during the summer months, you will be grateful for this. Less so in the chilly months, however to combat the chill your can throw on a cycling cap and or helmet/lid cover.

Lights – Rechargeable or Battery operated

When looking at lighting there are a few factors you will want decide before buying your first/next set. The first thing to decide is do I want battery operated or rechargable. To do this I made a list of the pros and cons of each.

Rechargeable Styles Lights


  • Can be recharged either on the go with a portable charger or at home.
  • Can use for  or many hours before needing to recharge
  • Usually made of higher quality


  • You have to plan your night ahead
  • The price is higher

Battery Operated Lights


  • Cost is cheap
  • When it dies you can just pop new batteries in it.
  • Almost everywhere sells batteries


  • The long term cost of replacement batteries.
  • They usually are of cheaper quality.
  • They are more likely to build corrosion.

Keep in mind when purchasing your lights that not all lights are created equal. You are going to want to consider what are your going to be using them for? If your are going off-road, through busy city streets, etc. The lumen levels vary greatly (lumen=brightness), most now are waterproof but not all. Some even have added features to improve safety in the city, like built in turn signals and stopping notifications. Some can even link to your GPS. If your want to add a bit of character to your ride your can even get lights that project designs either on the ground around your bike or on your rims. Really the sky is the limit all depending on your budget, so have fun while lighting the trails.

Locks – Three main types

A bike is only as good as the lock that keeps it safe. Make sure yours can STOP any would-be thief.

There are three main types of locking system, lets go over the pros and cons of each but first lets explain what the three main types are. You have your cable, chain, and your U-Locks also called D-Locks;

How to lock your bike
3 options on how to use a U-Lock

Cable Locks come in different styles. Many have armored coatings, some feature stylish designs with integral combination or key locks. Others require a separate pad locks. They are versatile and adaptable but offer less theft protection than U locks. Thieves can easily carry cable cutters in their pockets or bags that easily cut through even high end cables, like a sharp knife through a tomato.

These are ideal when paired with a U lock to secure easily removable parts(e.g., seat, rims, and racks). They are also suitable for low crime areas.

Chain Locks can vary from chain that your can buy at your local hardware store, to specially designed chain link made from cobalt steel with special liners that resit hack saws or chisels. When using this type of lock system remember to invest in a sturdy padlock. No matter how strong the chain, thieves can easily cut or break cheap locks

The downside of these is that they are heavy, bulky and only as strong as your padlock you put on them and can cause possible damage to your frame if not coated.

U-Locks (my preference) are very widely used and an excellent theft deterrent. The bulky locking mechanism is resistant to hammers and chisels, the U shape can limit leveraging if your buy the right size for your bike. When purchasing a U-Lock the goal is to size the lock in a manner that allows it to go around a pole, your frame and through your back rim with as little gap as possible. They work best when in pairs. One for the front and one for the back.  They also can be used in combination with a cable to stop thieves from stealing easily removed bike parts.

Additionally there are some added features that you can look for in locks, for example some high end locks offer theft notification via messaging in an app, screaming when tampered with and unlock by phone features to name a few.

In my option the U locks are your strongest defense against bike thieves.

Tools – Travel / Portable

When you are out and about on a ride, your going to need to be prepared to do some maintenance/quick repairs. To ensure that you have what you need in your travel tool kit. I have created this Basic tools list that I believe every cyclist should have, to help you be prepared for those unexpected moments like

  • Making adjustments to improve performance
  • Small repairs if something on the bike breaks
  • Making adjustments to improve comfortability
  • To do regular maintenance to keep your bike happy

The specific tools you will need will vary depending on a few different factors.  Like the difficulty of the road or trail at hand, distance from home/bike shop, and your own mechanical skill set. If your a novice then you can start with just the basic (essential bike repair tool kit). If you are more advanced in your mechanic skills and you are going out on some crazy trails, you might need more.

If you’ve been riding for a long time or are just starting out, you probably already know that the most common problem cyclist face is a flat tire. So to start your tool kit you will need;

Tire repair kit:Bicycle patch kit

  • Sparetube
  • Patchkit
  • Tire levers

Tire levers help you remove the tire from the rim of your wheel set, especially helpful in removing road tires because of the tight fit they typically have on the rim.

  • Bike pumpBike pump

Durning replacement/repair of a tube/tire while out on the road you’ll need to be able to re inflate the tire after reassembly. You can either buy small hand/frame pump or a co2 pump that can easily fit in either your backpack, bike bag or mount to your frame. Make sure your pumps max inflation is above the recommended tire pressure for your wheel set.

  • Multi-Tool

Next you will need to be able to handle the occasional break down. The best tool for this job if you are just commuting locally or on the trail is a basic multi-tool. This small tool can handle a large amount of repairs, making it invaluable. It is small enough to fit in your backpack or bike bag.

When looking for a multi-tool pay attention that it is made of good quality and has the following:

Bicycle Multi-Tool

  • allen wrenches, 2.5mm to 8mm
  • adjustable, hex, or open wrenches(I recommend it at least have 8mm,10mm, and 15mm)
  • phillips and flat head screwdrivers
  • a chain tool

You will also want to carry

  • electrical tape
  • zip ties
  • Bungee or some type of cord
  • lightweight lube.

Where do I put all this

Once you have built your kit up  you can carry it in many ways. You can put it all in your backpack, or a bag designed to mount on your bike frame. Some options include saddle packs, handlebar bags, rack trunks, frame bags, panniers and bottle bags. Any which way you decide to carry it, I recommend that you use a tool wrap (you can buy one or make your own) to keep everything organized and easy to get to in an emergency.

Thank you for Reading

I really hope that this helps you when you purchase your cycling essentials, so many of these items are overlooked when people buy their bike. Even though they are every bit as necessary as the bike itself. If you found this helpful or if you can think of anything that needs to be added to this list please add it to the comments below or contact us directly. I always enjoy hearing from my readers, until next time ride safe and I hope you enjoy your bike as much as I enjoy mine.

Bicycle Bob


Samuel Cunningham

Founder Bicycle Bob’s CycleEssentials

15 Replies to “Essential Bicycle Accessories -Everything you need to start riding”

  1. Great article! Thanks for all the information. I recently started to use my bike to commute in the city and have been researching the best bike locks. I got a ton out of your article and think I know which lock I need!


    1. Hi Jon,

      Thank you for sharing, I am always excited to hear when someone is going to start commuting by bike. I wish you all the best in your Urban Adventures. Glad I was able to help with the lock, gotta keep your bike secure.

      Thank you

  2. Hi Samuel I like mountain biking but don’t do nearly as much as I would like. Now we moved to the prairies and that just about shut that part of my life down. That multi tool kit is just what I’ve been looking for though. Do you know where the best place is to get something like that? I would be interested to know the price thanks.

    1. Hi Quentin,

      Mountain biking is definitely a blast, another fun thing you can look it for a cycling activity is getting a gravel bike, I love to take mine when I go visit Nebraska, since they don’t have any mountain ranges, I take it down river trails. So much fun…

      There are many locations to get a multi-tool, when I got mine I went to a local bike shop to see what style I liked the best in person then went to Amazon and got it for much less. Depending on your budget I really like the crankbrorothers m17, and the blackburn bike tradesmen. They are in the mid range side and can usually get it for around $25 US. I have seen some really amazing ones but the prices are one the high end averaging between $50 and $80, an example is Lezyne v10 amazing quality. But bang for buck I recommend the crankbrorothers, be aware they do have models that exceed $200. But the m17 has everything you will need and the quality is great it is what I have in my bag.

      Hope this helps you.


  3. Thank you for this informative post. I’m going to have to invest in the U-Lock, I brought my bike to the Bronx (I live in upstate New York) and was meeting friends to ride along the Hudson. Well as I came out from my friend’s place, my bike was gone! Like you said they just cut right through the cable, It wasn’t even a fancy bike, but it didn’t matter they still took it! Needless to say my goal for riding along the Hudson River was ruined! I do a have a new mountain bike right now, and where I live it is safer than the Bronx, but still should get a U lock!

    1. Thank you for visiting,

      I’m sorry to hear that happened to you. I am glad that you were able to get a new bike, and that my article was able to help you looking to the future.

      When you get a new lock look ant the packaging some brands offer a free insurance policy covering the theft, with the purchase of their lock.

      Best regards in your future cycling endeavors


  4. Thank you, Samuel, for this informative post. I live in a mountainous area and have a bike I ride in my free time. I have always been concerned about getting stuck someplace far from home because I don’t have some much-needed gadgets like the bike pump and tire repair kit.
    This post is a major reminder for me and I have to act fast. I have not seen the multitool before but I have liked its positive reviews. I will be looking for it too!

    1. I’m glad that I was able to help you remember to get a tool kit together, and introducing you to the Multi-Tool. Having one in my saddle bag has saved me more times than I can count when out on the trail. I’m not sure about you but I love my mountain bike, there is nothing like riding in the mountains being so close with nature.

      Thank you


  5. Hi Samuel,
    The breakdown of your article was very helpful since I just recently purchased a bicycle. I don’t ride at night so I’ve been contemplating purchasing some and which type. I am definitely leaning towards battery operated ones since I am forgetful I’m keeping my own cell phone charged.
    I will be putting together a small tool kit to keep on hand since I know fully well incidentals go hand in hand with riding.
    Thank you for article!

    1. Congratulations on your new bike, and having a set of lights is a great thing to have just incase. I’m so glad to hear that you are putting together a small tool kit, so that you don’t have to be stranded. If you need any tips on repairs ParkTools on YouTube has some amazing videos, and I will be adding more content covering basic emergency repairs in the near future.

      Ride Safe & Have Fun

      Thank you


  6. Makes me want to dust the cobwebs off my bike!

    Cheers for the handy info. I’m keen to get a tool kit together.

    All the best,

    1. Dust ’em off,

      If you want motivation you should get the Strava app, it has challenges and local communities to join for Cycling. With your new tool kit you will be set to hit the road with much less worry.

      Small FYI about cycling, it releases endorphins into the body creating a change in mind and body.

      Ride more improve dopamine production!

      Thank you


  7. Hi Samuel,

    I went through your site and it was an engaging read however there are some issues you should address, some of your sentences are too long and merge different points into the same sentence. You should also be aware of the unnecessary capitals in you sentences, there is no need to use them if you aren’t talking about a name or a place. 

    When you talk about the two types of helmets the helmets must also be plural also be sure to read over after you have done you spell check. You have chilly moths instead of months, this is something spell check won’t flag. I know reading over is a pain I hate it but it’s very important because when we are writing we don’t see some of the errors the same time.

    Lastly just be mindful of your sentence structure and using the correct punctuation at the right points. Overall I think the information you produced was very informative and can help a lot of newer riders. Oh one tip I found out recently was a white background is more user friendly but that is all subjective in my opinion. 

    Good Job! keep growing and learning.  

  8. I find your post really very helpful.

    Riding our bikes during summer is really fun.  If I bike around town, it`s all good.  But biking around perimeters and trails need more extra caution.  It is really good to have those extra tools you have mentioned.  The items in your repair tools are all important.  I`m just wondering, what is the smallest portable version of an air pump?

    Thanks again for this list, I can now complete my biking tools.

    All the best!

    1. @Hanna 

      Thank you for taking the time to read my article, I’m glad to hear that you found it helpful.

      Summer is definitely a really fun time to go riding, I find that either riding locally around town or getting off the pavement on to some trails. It is important to have a basic essentials tool kit for that “oh no” moment. 

      As to your question, I personally use a Vibrelli Performance CO2 Inflator. It is about the size of my thumb when not connected to a CO2 cartridge, and fits very comfortably in my pocket if needed. I picked mine up on Amazon for around $20 and it came with some patches.

      If you have any ideas or suggested content you would like me to go over in the future feel free to contact me.

      Samuel “Bicycle Bob” Cunningham

      Founder Bicycle Bob’s CyclEssentials

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