Spring — if it actually ever really arrives — means it is time to get out of that cave you live in, get some fresh air and most importantly get back into shape. One way to drop that winter weight is to take a spin. Riding isn’t just for Lance Armstrong or the paperboy either. And even if spandex isn’t your thing, there are plenty of high-tech toys to play with while you rock out with pedal power.
Electra Amsterdam Sport 3
If you’d prefer a quiet ride down a country road, then the new $550 Amsterdam line from Electra might be more your 3-speed! Inspired by the sturdy and reliable bikes that you’d find in Holland — a nation where nearly 12 million people travel by bike — the Amsterdam Sport features 21st century technology, including frame geometry that utilizes a forward pedal position, allowing for increased stability during your ride. This also increases the torque, and with the Shimano Nexus internal 3-speed gear system lets you get rolling without requiring you to work up a sweat. The geometry also lets riders sit in the saddle while keeping their feet firmly flat on the ground, so you can get going without additional effort. The lightweight aluminum alloy frame makes for a bike that is just 30 pounds. And while you might not be rolling past the tulips or canals, it is the next best thing to a trip to Europe.
Garmin Edge 205 Cycle GPS
Whether you’re heading where the road takes you, or going off the beaten path, it is always a good thing to find your way back home. The $269.22 Garmin Edge 205 Cycle GPS computer will help you find your way back to familiar territory, and it is designed to track your position, even when you’re under tree cover and in valleys. This one needs no calibration: just snap it to your bike mount and get in gear. It will wirelessly track speed and pedaling cadence, plus track your distance, time, altitude, time in the climb and descent and most importantly calories burned (so you know whether you earned that post-ride beer), and you can sync it with your PC so as to monitor your progress with each ride. To help you get the most out of your training there is even a virtual partner that let’s you “race” against the computer – just like in a video game.
Lights and Motion Arc-Li-Ion
Even with daylight savings time there is no guarantee you can always get out in time for a ride before the sun goes down. But who needs daylight when you can bring your own light. With a mere 300g lithium ion battery pack, the $599.99 Arc-Li-Ion is light enough that it won’t slow you down but bright enough to illuminate the path ahead of you with a High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamp, which provides 13.5 watts of natural light for up to three and a half hours. You’ll even get a warning five minutes before run out of juice, with automatic shutdown with one minute so as to prevent battery deep discharge, and to maintain the overall life of the battery. Powered up you can mount this system either on the handlebars or helmet so you’ll always be able to light the way.
Masterlock Pit Stop
Whether your bike is a Wal-Mart special or a tricked out Trek you don’t want to leave it unprotected for even a second. Of course carrying around a huge heavy gauge chain might not be ideal during a weekly training ride. But this small lock ($10.88) will do the trick when you absolutely need to make a quick pit stop. A two-foot retractable vinyl cable will let you lock the bike without worrying about scratching the paint. You can’t keep people honest in the mean streets, but this lock will keep the bike from disappearing while you take care of business.
Cateye Micro Wireless
There are dozens of bike computers to choose from, but this wireless computer leads the pack with 10 functions and 12 features. Available in both black and silver, the $49.99 Cateye mini-computer can track current, maximum and average speed, as well as trip distance. It is compatible with both road and mountain bikes and is backlit for early morning and evening rides. Best of all the wireless connectivity with the sensors means you don’t have to worry about snagging any wires or a bad connection as a result.
Training right means watching your endurance and recovery. This cycling computer combines the functionality of a fitness monitor so you can track your speed, calories burned and your heart rate all at the glance of your wrist. You can set your target zones based on how your body feels each day, so you can push it to the limit, or stay in the zone during a light fitness day. The $199.99 CS300 is designed for cross training, and it is even water resistant so you can hit the pool or the surf for an alternative workout.
Fizik Arione Titanium
After a long ride you’re bound to feel a little sore down there. A good saddle — cyclists don’t call it a seat — will help make those epic rides a lot more comfortable. This Italian saddle uses wing flex technology that is stiff yet flexible, allowing for free thigh movement to increase your pedaling power. It features a long length for increased contact surface, letting you have more area to actually sit on, yet with a carbon reinforced shell and titanium rails, the $109.99 Fizik Arione actually doesn’t add much weight.
Lizard Skins Patch Kit
There are few good places to get a flat tire, and chances are it will happen at the least convenient time. Carrying a spare is always a good idea, but what about those times when you get more than one flat? A small pinprick or “snake bite” hole is also not going to kill an otherwise good tube. So if you’re not racing than don’t ditch the tube, patch it. The Lizard Skins patch kits ($7.50 for six patches and glue) is a good one to tuck in your pocket. It uses a carbon material that bonds extremely well with rubber. So you can get back in the saddle and not toss another tube in the landfill.
Ever since the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles when the American cyclists made sure the gold medals weren’t going to leaving the country, there has been speculation on the benefits of disc wheels. While aerodynamically efficient, these typically added weight that made them less ideal if you weren’t on a track or on a flat course. But Zipp Wheels ($1,475) retain the stiffness and sleek profile, yet cut down on the weight. The 900 Disc might look high tech, but the materials are truly space age. It uses a carbon fiber surface with a silica ceramic braking surface, and hollow Kevlar honeycomb core material that is actually lighter than most aluminum rimmed wheels. And because it lacks the traditional spokes, this wheel will remain true even after a day on a bumpy road.
Rudy Project Rydon ImpactX glasses
Country roads can offer a nice canopy of trees that provide plenty of shade on a summer day, but they can also be exposed to copious amounts of direct sun. This makes it hard on the eyes, and it isn’t like you’re going to want to stop and change your shades. The ImpactX Phocromatic lenses automatically adjust from bright to dark depending on the light conditions. Just as importantly the $162.36 Rydon’s carbon frames utilize an ergonomic design that is comfortable for long periods of time, and is light yet durable. Rudy Project offers a range of optional interchangeable lenses too, so you can look stylish while protecting your eyes.