February 2, 2017/ Maria Parker
One of the things I love about cycling is all the gear and gadgets available to improve the cycling experience. Of course that also means there’s an incredibly tempting and delightful way to spend through all your disposable income, but where’s the joy in thinking about that?
I have a friend who has a special account that he uses to spend on cycling stuff. I love that idea, and wish I was disciplined enough to 1. Save money in a special account for my cycling passion, and 2. Spend only that amount. Alas, I lack the ability to delay gratification in that area.
However, for the loved ones of those of us who pedal Cruzbike recumbent bikes for fun and fitness, there are lots and lots ways to delight us at our birthdays and other gift giving opportunities and holidays.
My mom used to leave catalogues on the back of the toilet with the things she wanted circled and the page corner turned down. In this digital age, we may have to be more creative in dropping hints. I’ll leave you to figure that out, but I will make some suggestions for gear for the Cruzbike recumbent cyclist that are sure to delight for Valentine’s day, that next birthday, or just because.
Most of the items below I have some experience with, others I have just heard about enough that I want one.
Accessories I can’t live without (and yes I have all of these).
- Ventisit: It took me a little bit of time before I tried the Ventisit cushion. I don’t mind the sweaty back that drives other recumbent bike riders crazy, so the idea of a cushion that allowed the airflow wasn’t a big draw. However, I finally gave the Ventisit a try and I am completely sold. Not only does it look beautiful on the Cruzbike, it provides a little more suspension on rougher roads. Find it here for S30 and V20 and here for Q Series recumbent bikes. Cruzbike.com, $99
- Water bottles: We use Camelbak Podium Chill Insulated bottles. The company has put some amazing technology in the tops. They are easy to drink out of when in the open position and don’t spill a drop in the closed position. The only caveat is that you shouldn’t put them in the dishwasher as they lose their ability to insulate. We like the 21 oz size, it is big enough without being too big. Smile.Amazon.com, $15 While you’re at smile.amazon.com, choose 3000 Miles to a Cure as the charity your shopping benefits.
- Sling pack: The perfect sized bag for your keys, wallet, spare tube, tire irons and tools. I even keep a tiny wadded up raincoat in there. It fits most Cruzbikes. Find it here. Cruzbike.com, $49
- Tigr mini-lock: Another amazing bit of technology. We found Tigr when we supported their first crowd funded project. We loved that first lock and all the others have improved from their. The Tigr Mini-lock fits great on the back of any Cruzbike seat, out of the way , but there when you need it. Find it here. Cruzbike.com, $99
- Rack storage stand: We absolutely love these. They do a great job supporting the front end of a Cruzbike. Gone are the days when our Cruzbikes fell over routinely. Find it here. Cruzbike.com, $40
- Helmet: I’ve worn many helmets in my years of cycling. My current favorite is the Giro Air Attack. My favorite thing about this helmet is the magnetically attached shield. The shield allows me to wear contacts, which I prefer, and still have eye protection. The shield is easily moved on and off as needed for sunshine or shade and darkness. Find it here. Giro.com, $240
- Utility Post Add-on: This is the creation of our customers, Steve Haskett and Bob Pankratz, who also gave us the Headrest Cage Mount kit. The Utility Post gives you a great place to mount tail lights, cameras or whatever else you want that works with seat-post sized mounts. Find it here. Cruzbike.com, $28
Clothing for Cruzbikers:
- Shorts: The beauty of riding a recumbent bike is that you don’t have to wear a diaper like traditional cyclists do. I always wear lycra running shorts. They feel great, and are relatively inexpensive. Just make sure they are long enough. Some good examples are at roadrunnersports.com and Nike.
- Jersey: Cruzbike jersey of course! Our latest jersey has terrific roomy side pockets (no uncomfortable back pockets) and a loose fit so, if you like a tight fit, order a size down. Find it here. Cruzbike.com, $65
- Cruzbike hat: I love this cap. It works as well under a helmet as it does running. Cruzbike.com, $28
- Buff: My daughter taught me about these and I absolutely love them. They are good for wearing dozens of ways to keep you warm or cool. To keep warm I wear it over my head, ears and can pull it up over my mouth. It can hold my hair back, or I can dunk it cool water and keep it on my neck to keep me cool . You can find the original Buff here, but I use an off brand buff that I got as a freebie at a run. I’d love to have a Cruzbike branded buff one of these days. Buffusa.com, $20
- Shoes: I have lots of different kinds of cycling shoes. I wear sized-up triathlon cycling shoes when I am going a long way because they allow my feet to move inside them. I have tighter shoes for shorter distances because they give me better power transfer to the pedals. Recently my husband discovered cycling shoes that he really loves. They are made by Specialized and are expensive, but they make him very happy. His rather slim foot fits them well and they are extremely quick and easy to get on and off because you just turn one knob. I’m saving up for a pair for myself. Find them here. Specialized.com, $200
Training accessories to get faster or just to geek out on the numbers:
- A way to measure power: We have used both the PowerTap Wheel and the Stages Crank, but my techy friends tell me there are other ways you can measure power. I have not the vaguest idea how either of these work or what might be compatible with your bike, but this one piece of equipment has changed my cycling completely. I no longer worry about speed and I do workouts based on the amount of power I am able to create. I can study my power and see if it increases as I train and compare it to my heart rate (see below). As my friend Tom says, looking at my speed now is only for entertainment. I love cycling with power measurement, especially when training for a race. It’s a great way to figure out if what I am doing is working.
- Garmin Edge: My Garmin Edge head unit tells me how fast, how far and where I am going. It also tells me my power and heart rate and cadence. (if I am measuring those things). Riding without it would be like driving my car without all the gauges and gears behind the steering wheel. Again, for training for a race, it records and feeds me all the information I need to get better and to boast about my rides. The one I use, the Garmin Edge 800 also has GPS so it can tell me where I am going and where I’ve been.
- Scosche Rhythm heart rate monitor. Ok, I don’t have one of these yet, but I’ve ordered one thanks to Techno Wiz and customer Bob Pankratz. I’ve used chest heart rate straps in the past, but find them uncomfortable and unreliable for me. (My husband uses and loves a chest heart rate monitor strap – so it could be my generous endowment that keeps me from enjoying a chest strap). The Scosche is an arm-based heart rate monitor that will also mate with my Garmin Edge. I’m excited to measure my heart rate in a more comfortable and accurate way. Heart rate and power can tell me a lot about my level of fatigue and fitness. Find it here. Scosche.com, $80
- Training peaks subscription: This app is fabulous for giving you all the information you could possibly want or need to geek out on your performance. You can create a free account, or get the premium account for more bells and whistles. Even I find myself spending time studying graphs of my power and performance. It did take me a few weeks and lots of questions to find it useful and I learned a new vocabulary, but now my husband and I can compare TSS (training stress score) and CTL (fitness) as part of our pillow talk. Check it out here. Trainingpeaks.com, $19/month
Hint: leave the code lying around or taped to the refrigerator.