When it comes time to step it up and use those two wheels to get you in shape, a few additions will help you get more out of your bike and yourself.
Bike computer. Nothing helps you turn you bike from simple transportation to motivational fitness tool like a good bike computer. Prices can vary from under $50 to $100’s depending on the features, functions, displays, and connectivity. But even entry level models will show you the basics like speed, pace, distance, and time.
Bike computers usually work by mounting a sensor to your front wheel and fork that count tire rotations. A little internal computer math, along with proper initial set up of your tire size, translates that spinning tire into status that help you know how much ground you are covering at what speed, and thereby monitor your training over time.
Baskets or Toe-Clips. By simply attaching your feed to your pedals, you suddenly can apply power in more directions then just the down-stroke, increasing your efficiency, speed, and training. Baskets are basically straps that go over your toes. They allow you to gain some forward push, and even some upward pull, on your cranks. It’s just the bottom 30% or so of your crank, when your foot is moving backwards, that remains lost power. Other basket advantages are that they don’t require special shoes, and it’s relatively easy to learn to get your foot in and out of them.
Toe-clips require special pedals and custom shoes. They do just what you would think, clipping your shoe securely to your pedal, allowing you to apply close to 360 degrees of power to your cranks. If you want to get the most out of your bike, or compete in races, you are going to want toe-clips.
Bike lights. Why did I put lights in fitness and not safety? Well usually I don’t consider it safe to bike at night. I recommend avoiding it if you are anything less than a serious rider. But for those with a goal, life is going to require you to get up early, or stay out late one day to fit in that ride, and you better have some lights for that occasion. Most come in sets for the front and back of your bike, and take the place of your reflectors. (they are reflective when not switched on). It doesn’t hurt to keep the back on in a flashing mode during the day either. There are rechargeable LED models, and those using AA or AAA batteries. The conservationist in me wants to recommend rechargeable, however for any battery powered device I’m going to depend on away from home, the ability to swap out a set of easy to carry, readily available batteries that will allow me to keep going, is going to win-out every time. So, get some lights where you can do so, and carry an extra set of batteries in your bike bag.
Well there you have it. Safety, comfort, and fitness. You can make the versatile bicycle into whatever you need with just a few additions, and get the most out of the time you spend in the saddle.