The Bare Essentials For Road Cycling

If you’re thinking of taking up road cycling, or even signed up for your first sportive but haven’t even got a bike… where in the world do you start?! Cycling is an expensive sport, lets be honest so at the start it’s worth investing in just the essentials. So, I’ve put together a little kit list based on experience preparing for revolve 24 (the 6 hour challenge) of road cycling essentials…

(oh, and meet Mo!)

road cycling essentials - Mo fully kitted out

The Bike Is The Most Essential Bit, Right?!

We borrowed the B’TWIN Triban 520 Road Bike which is available from Decathlon for £499 at the time of writing this post. It’s billed as a good all-rounder and after finally finding some time to test it out on the Olympic road track, fine tune it and get used to the gears… I think I would agree.

Bikes these days arrive pretty much fully assembled; all that was needed was to attach the handlebars, the pedals and the saddle with the tools supplied. We set up the correct seat height indoors and made a few adjustments ready to get the bike outside…

Bib Shorts Are Where You Should Splash Some Cash

In my own research for cycling shorts, I’d noticed that the brand dhb had always gotten great reviews. We used a £30 gift voucher to go towards the dhb Classic Bib Shorts (£50) which have 4.6 stars out of 5 from over 400 reviews.

The rules of cycling (lol) state that black bib shorts should be worn with team jerseys and black goes with everything so for your first, and maybe only pair, you can’t go wrong with black. Opted for bib shorts as I figured they would be more comfy when new to cycling with no waistband digging in.

The size charts worked out to be good guidance and super quick shipping (to a local collection point) meant that we got them in time for revolve 24 even though we only ordered a few days in advance.

road cycling essentials - cycling jersey from decathlon

Cover Up On Top – Cycling Jersey

So, next on our essentials list is a jersey to go with whatever shorts you choose. The weather is billed to be good so we opted for the short sleeved jersey pictured above – it matched the bike… what more could you want?! Check out the DHB range at Wiggle for quality and value for money jerseys.

Good weather meant we didn’t have to spend now on a lot of kit like a wind / rain jacket, arm / leg warmers etc. If you have some cash to spare, now is probably the time that the summer jerseys will start to go on sale so you can stock up ready for the start of Spring / Summer in 2019.

Gloves For Comfort

Wiggle were doing an offer where you save £10 when you spend £60 (if you’re a new customer you can save £10 off £50 until 31st October using code: SUMMER11 – shop here – ) so we bought these cycling gloves which can see you through until it gets too cold for fingerless gloves.

Sunglasses No Matter The Weather

No matter the weather though, sunnies are a must. If it is sunny, they will protect your eyes and increase visibility. In less sunny weather they’re vital to keep the wind out of your eyes and also insects! We picked up these ones from Decathlon for just £11.99.

If you already own sunglasses though, you can use them. We opted for these ones based on the fact they’re lighter and sportier than the ones Mo already owns.

Extra’s Dug Out At Home

  • cycling cap
  • helmet
  • socks
  • water bottles
  • trainers
riding on the london 2012 olympics road track

To Clip-in or Not To Clip-in

Isn’t this always the question?! Well in this case, we’ve opted for flat pedals and regular trainers. Being new to a road bike / road cycling and with minimal time for training it doesn’t make sense to splash out on pedals, cycling shoes and cleats.

Oh and then to have to learn to use them and feel confident in them. Personally, I use double sided pedals… one side to clip in and one side flat so I can use my bike to pop down to the shops or roll down the hill to parkrun without having to use special shoes…Flat pedals and trainers also saves us a few bob for the moment…

Read More: Should You Ride Clipless? And What Are The Advantages

What We Forgot…

After popping to Decathlon and thinking we had everything we needed, we got home only to realise that the bike didn’t have bottle cages. With no time to go back and buy them (…and what a shame the cycling shop at the Velopark closed down!!) we will just have to do without them for now.

Ready, We Ready…

All my kit is now packed into my Osprey Transporter 40 along with a ton of snacks, energy gels, bananas and whatever else I found in my kitchen drawers… here goes…

…What kit do you think is classed as essential for a beginner road cyclist?!




p.s erm, we bought everything in this post except the bike, which is on loan from Decathlon. Thank You.


  1. September 17, 2018 / 20:24

    Great list except the Buttafly is missing! Designed by me – a Physio and Yoga teacher – this nifty tool for back care is fabulous for achieving a wonderful post-ride release of the psoas (deep hip flexor) muscles – and cyclists who’ve tried it just wouldn’t be without. It’s much more enjoyable and effective than trying to stretch them out by lunging – just lie back and let gravity amplify a beautiful positional release. Breathe in and sigggghhhhhh with a big smile 🙂

    • Elle
      October 15, 2018 / 21:17

      Hey TillyLou! Can’t wait to try the Buttafly! Need to set aside a few minutes to watch the videos and make sure I get the most out of them! Speak soon 🙂

  2. September 17, 2018 / 17:57

    Great post. I’ve been thinking of riding my bike to church but only have clip pedals. Double sided ones would make it easier!

    • Elle
      October 15, 2018 / 21:18

      Yaaaaaas! double sided ones are the dream! I’ve never known anything different tbh and unless I had a really speedy bike just for racking or something I would always choose them!

  3. Organic Runner Mom
    September 17, 2018 / 17:47

    Great tips for what you need to get started. Once I learned to clip in there was no going back!

    • Elle
      October 15, 2018 / 21:18

      same here! …and we all have that epic fall that is so embarrassing but once you nail it that’s it!

  4. amysaysso2015
    September 17, 2018 / 16:01

    It’s a good list. Without a bottle cage here’s a quick tip – you can put a water bottle into your jersey pocket. :-).

    • Elle
      October 15, 2018 / 21:20

      such a simple idea… thank you sooooo much (still haven’t bought the bottle cages and replying to your comment has actually reminded me!)

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