A copy of Ernest’s March Arundel Voice article.

Warmer days are right around the corner and by the time you read this we will be enjoying later sunsets thanks to day light savings time.

Last month we talked about all of the great places to ride locally. If you missed it visit my blog for all of my Arundel Voice Articles. If you have a suggestion for an article please let me know. This month I would like to talk about what accessories are going to make your cycling fun and safer.

Helmet – of course. MD Law requires all riders under the age of 16 to wear a helmet. Wearing a bicycle helmet, besides being commonsense, is the brain’s major protection. Today’s helmets are safer than ever. And they are vented, comfortable and light. Federal properties, such as military bases and parks, require cyclists to wear a helmet. Helmets usually last 3 years or so, depending on use and climate. Always replace your helmet after it has sustained an impact.

Bell or Horn – It’s a Maryland law. The human voice does not meet the state requirement. A bell is a friendly way to signal your approach; and do “ring” well before you pass people.

Hydration – You need to stay hydrated while riding. A water bottle and cage is a small investment. Typically drink one bottle for each hour you ride. Water bottles have come a long way, they are easier to drink out of and many are designed to keep your drinker cooler on the hottest of days. Most of today’s bicycles come with mounting points for at least one if not two bottles. Also available are handlebar mounts. This style of mount is ideal for young children. Going long distances? Try a hydration pack. It can carry up to a hundred ounces of fluid while providing additional pouches for other items. Learn more about hydration here.

Photo ID and Emergency Contact Information – If something should happen, who do you want contacted? We recommend a RoadID in a jersey pocket or saddle bag. If something happens, you won’t be alone for long. Or use a luggage tag with pertinent info on it.

Cell Phone – perfect if you need to call someone for help. Most of today’s Smartphone’s have apps that can help you track your training, offer navigation and act as a cycling computer.

Camera – a great way to create memories from your ride to share for years to come. You never know what you will see.

Gloves –Gloves are easier to replace than the skin on your hands. They’re also comfortable.

Fix a Flat Kit –Spare tube, pump, tire levers. Be prepared for when you get a flat tire. Fixing a flat is relatively and with a little practice you’ll be an expert. If you don’t know how to fix a flat contact me and I will be happy to teach you. Even if you don’t know how to fix a flat it is important to carry the equipment you need to do so. That way a fellow cyclist can lend you a hand in your time of need.

Floor Pump – Proper tire inflation before a ride is key to avoiding flat tires. While not a take along item on a ride checking the inflation of your tires prior to the ride will reduce your likely hood of a flat.

These “essential” cycling accessories will make your riding safer and more enjoyable. I look forward to seeing you out on your bikes this year. Safe riding!