Whether you’re an avid cyclist or just taking your bicycle out for a spin once in awhile, it’s important to equip yourself with the right gear. Dressing properly not only improves comfort, but it can make your next ride safer. And, it’s the key to reducing injury risks as well.
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Michael Schaefer, MD, Cleveland Clinic’s Director of Musculoskeletal Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation — and an avid cyclist himself — offers his list of eight must-haves to help you suit up for safety and comfort from head to toe.
- Helmet. This is the most important piece of gear for any cyclist. Get a bicycle helmet that fits well and replace it regularly — about every five years at least. (Replace it right away if you experience a crash.)
- Shirt with sleeves. This not only helps protect against sunburn, but it makes you more visible to passing cars — bright colors are best.
- Fitted pants. Wear shorts or fitted pants — long, loose pants can get stuck in your bike’s wheel or chain and cause an accident.
- Eye protection. Glasses or goggles that wrap around your face are best, but even an inexpensive pair of sunglasses will keep bugs and debris out of your eyes.
- Gloves. These can prevent injuries during a crash. They make riding more comfortable and cushion the nerves in your wrists that compress over time (reducing the risk of carpal tunnel issues).
- Sunscreen. Choose one that’s water resistant with an SPF of at least 50 and reapply it liberally every hour. Don’t forget to cover the back of your neck and your ears. If you burn easily, zinc oxide is best.
- Shoes. A pair with stiffer soles will improve pedaling efficiency and reduce the risk of foot pain.
- Clipless pedals. These are easier to get out of during a crash and will allow some ankle rotation, reducing the risk of joint injury.
Cycling offers so much benefit, to both body and mind. Make sure you’re prepared for both comfort and safety.