Cyclists are among the most dedicated and obsessive of all fitness fanatics. After all, they are often willing to spend hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars just to shave a few ounces from their bike and other gear in the hopes of riding just a little bit faster. If you happen to be able to relate to this sentiment, chances are you’re constantly on the lookout for ways that you can improve as a cyclist too. Here are five products that can help you achieve that goal.
Staying hydrated is important for any highly aerobic outdoor activity, but there is only so much room on your bike to carry water bottles for those longer rides. Fortunately, CamelBak has made the Rogue hydration pack specifically for cyclists, allowing them to carry up to 2 liters of water on their backs. The pack serves as a good complement to traditional water bottles, helping to extend the rider’s range, particularly on very hot days. The Rogue also features pockets for carrying personal items such as a wallet or a smartphone and is trimmed out with reflective highlights that increase visibility in low light conditions.
Every cyclist knows that it isn’t just their bike that can provide a boost to their speed, but the other equipment they use as well. For example, the helmet you wear can actually make a difference in how fast and efficient you are out on the road. Lightweight and aerodynamically designed for peak performance, the new S-Works Evade helmet from Specialized has been proven to shave 46 seconds off a rider’s time over a distance of 25 miles. That may not seem like much, but in a sport where every second counts, it can make all the difference. And of course, the helmet won’t just help you ride faster, but it will help keep you safe too.
Garmin Forerunner 920XT ($450)
There are a lot of good options for wearable fitness trackers these days, but few can compare to the Garmin Forerunner 920XT, particularly for cyclists. This smart fitness watch is designed specifically for triathletes, which means it has features for running and swimming as well as cycling. A built-in heart rate monitor tracks performance during your rides, and the GPS functionality can track speed, distance, average pace, and other variables. It can also connect with your smartphone to provide alerts for texts, emails, and incoming calls. In short, it’s like wearing a powerful fitness computer on your wrist.
Recon Jet Smart Eyewear ($499)
The Recon Jet is smart eyewear (think Google Glass for cyclists and runners) that features a small (but crisp and vibrant) display that can provide a surprising amount of information to cyclists. For instance, it can tell you how fast you’re traveling, how far you’ve ridden, and how much power you are generating from the pedals. It features ANT+ compatibility to connect to heart rate monitors and other devices, and it will even pair with your smartphone to display text messages, alerts, and caller ID for incoming phone calls. It’ll even show you a map of your route, making it easier to navigate while riding. And as if that weren’t enough, the Jet also comes equipped with a camera that can take photos and videos of your ride.
One of the downsides of cycling is that when the weather turns bad or temperatures drop, it becomes extremely challenging to ride outside. That’s why many serious cyclists have indoor trainers that allow them to hook up their bikes and ride them in the comfort of their own home. One of the best of these products comes from Bkool, which offers a high-tech trainer that is controlled by your home computer and can simulate the conditions of a ride nearly anywhere on the planet. Progress is charted on a map (or synced with a video where available) giving you something interesting to watch while you pedal. ANT+ compatibility connects the trainer to heart rate monitors for performance tracking over time, and you can even challenge other riders to virtual races with real-time pelotons forming to push one another just a bit harder. Cycling indoors might not be quite as good as a regular workout, but this trainer will at least give you some incentive to keep riding even when you can’t be outside.