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What is the most useful accessory you got for your bike? By useful, I mean something that improved the enjoyment or functionality of using your bike.

Note - I know this is a subjective question, but I ask it to generate a reference list of most useful accessories, as opposed to identify 'the best'.

One accessory per answer, plus a little explanation of why it would be useful. I've put my top two in by way of example.

Edit: This page is meant to list accessories you've found useful, not to record basic cycling concepts (as per this thread in meta). If you would like to write an entry about a basic cycling tool, component, or concept, please use the terminology index for that.

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locked by Neil Fein Sep 30 '11 at 13:35

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@Kevin: Sure, a list of accessories sounds potentially useful. I'm curious to see what the community comes up with. (It's a similar reasoning as used for the terminology index.) –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 15:04
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I think this is OK... there's such a wide variety of accessories, it may be good to discuss those which have proven the best investments over time (and those that haven't). –  Dustin Sep 2 '10 at 15:06
    
Note: Please try to keep this to items that aren't already on the terminology index, although some duplication is probably inevitable. –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 15:06
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@Dustin: I think you're right, but I'm keeping an eye on this page. –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 15:10
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@neilfein I think it's OK if these are completely independent from the terminology index--these are reasons why a particular accessory is useful, not what it is. –  Dustin Sep 2 '10 at 15:12

29 Answers 29

Fenders/Mudguards - front and back. I ride all through winter and these help keep me dry. There's usually only one or two dozen times a year that I'm really riding in the rain for my morning or afternoon commute, but there's a good 3 or 4 months where rain comes through often enough that I'm riding through a lot of puddles.The rear fender prevents the classic skunk stripe, while the front fender primarily prevents splashing onto my feet and ankles.

These also help keep your bike clean and should help increase the lifetime of your chain/gears (or at least give you an extra few days before it's time to clean and lubricate everything when riding in winter).

I don't remember the exact model, but they're basically these fenders from Planet Bike that include a mud flap.

planet bike fenders

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+1; Without fenders, you get a bike like this, or even this if you're unlucky. –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 16:48
    
Mudguards we call them over here. Can't understand why they are not standard issue on hybrid commuting bikes. –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 18:19
    
The Planet Bike link is broken. –  Josh Leitzel Oct 7 '10 at 18:43
    
Most casual riders wouldn't even think of going out in the rain anyway, so I can see why most manufacturers wouldn't bother putting them on. Personally, even though I ride in the rain, I don't use mudguards. Never felt like the spray made that much of a difference. If it's raining only a little, there's not a lot of spray. If it's raining a lot, the spray doesn't add much extra. –  Kibbee Oct 7 '10 at 18:50
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When you look at fenders look at how well they cover the wheel. Get ones with long rubber mudflaps, the ones that come with short mudflaps or none at all may keep water off of you, but still send lots of muck into your drivetrain. –  Marc Charbonneau Feb 26 '11 at 16:52

Panniers - I originally bought these to go on my first ever touring trip a few years back, but found they made huge difference for day-to-day commuting and increased the amount of biking I did. No longer did I have to balance groceries on handle bars, or arrive at the office with sweaty back from carrying a laptop in a backpack. Get one's you can clip on/off (I'm sure most do) and if there is any chance you will get caught in rain, its worth paying extra for waterproof panniers.

There are many types of panniers, here's a few:

Ortlieb Back Roller Classic Panniers grocery pannier basic pannier on bike Rivendell panniers on bike velo orange ostrich panniers on bike

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A picture would be awesome :) –  Joe Philllips Sep 3 '10 at 15:55
    
Ortleib Office Bag Plus is dear but a great commuting investment. –  Duncan McGregor Nov 26 '10 at 22:42
    
@Duncan: It's Ortlieb (not Ortleib) - just to help people find it (though Google will auto-correct :-)). ortlieb.com And yes, they make good bags. –  sleske Feb 10 '11 at 10:30

Saddle Bag - It looks quite small, but there's enough space to fit everything that I used to put in my backpack in longer rides: spare inner tube boxes, cell phone, keys, money, train travel card, tire levers and small toolset. It's so much better to ride without a backpack.

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Larger saddle bags are also available, sometimes mounting on rails attached to the saddle. These can be large enough for a change of clothing or sometimes even larger.

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How do you carry it around when you're at your destination? I had one, but gave up using it because it was too awkward to carry around or too easy to leave behind me somewhere. –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 18:17
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@Kevin - Saddle bags aren't really intended for carrying around. These are normally used for tools, a spare tube, and any other flat-kit accessories you want to take with you. The bag typically stays on the bike at all times. –  Brock Boland Sep 2 '10 at 18:46
    
The problem I've had with saddle bags is that my legs rub it slightly each pedal stroke. It's not annoying, but it wears out a spot in my clothing after a few hundred miles. –  kevins Sep 4 '10 at 21:21
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@Brock The last time I had a saddle bag, my tools were stolen out of it. There are some places where you need to carry around any accessories which aren't locked down with your bike. –  Brian Campbell Sep 19 '10 at 7:45
    
@Kevin look into a tool roll instead. I gave up on saddle bags in part because they're a pain to take off and carry when you lock your bike up inside. Tool rolls are easier to fit into a messenger bag, pannier, or jersey pocket. –  Marc Charbonneau Feb 26 '11 at 16:55

Cycle Computer I'd say a cylco-computer is my best accessory. I have the Sigma 1606 with cadence addon. It allows me to guage a bunch of things, speed most obviously, but tracking my cadence, average mph, and distance have really helped me grow as a casual rider.

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A handheld GPS unit can also serve as a cycling computer, and then some. You are limited to where you can get a signal, and the expense may make this overkill for all but touring cyclists. –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 20:31
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Garmin Edge 500 for me. Tracks geo data, speed, cadence, heart rate, power (if you have a power tap wheel or some other recording device). Awesome! –  Jay Sep 13 '10 at 21:56
    
Garmin Edge 500 + HR + CAD user here as well. Can't recommend it more. It actually is one of the best investments I've made related to cycling. Although thinking of the new Edge 800 but I'm not so sure about maps. –  Robert Koritnik Mar 23 '11 at 9:17
    
There are a bunch of iPhone apps that help out with this stuff as well. I've been using RunKeeper lately. –  Jason Jul 21 '11 at 2:39

Multitool - Contains the tools you're likely to need to do emergency repairs on a bike. Common allen keys, chain tool, and sometimes tire levers are included. This and some tubes and a pump or CO2 inflator will get you home.
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Are my edits in the spirit of your entry? –  Neil Fein Sep 24 '10 at 4:32
    
Avoid the really small ones (that are only an inch or so in length). I made that mistake, and found it didn't have enough leverage to tighten my seat post bolt when I needed it. –  Marc Charbonneau Feb 26 '11 at 16:57

Repair stand - It makes maintenance and adjustments on your bike much easier by holding the bike off the ground, at a height convenient for work.

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Portable workstands are only half the battle. Getting a proper one and bolting it to the floor of my garage (using DynaSets, a "nut" that works like a masonry bolt so they're flush when unscrewed) was the best bike maintenance improvement I've made. Ever. –  Мסž Feb 10 '11 at 3:57

CamelBak (or any other backpack with a water bladder in it) - I drink a lot of water, and after missing the bottle cage a few times and running over bottles, I decided I was too clumsy to keep trying to drink from a bottle and ride at the same time.

On hot days, fill the bag most of the way with ice cubes before filling it up with water. The ice will melt plenty quick enough to keep you from running out of liquid in there, and there's nothing worse than slurping piping hot water.

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What's good about the CamelBak in particular, as opposed to other bladder brands? –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 15:35
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I've only used CamelBak, so I don't have a preference yet. I only used it because (in my experience) they seem to be the go-to name for that product - like Kleenex or Band Aid. –  Brock Boland Sep 2 '10 at 16:58
    
Okay. If something about the Camelbak bladders is better, could someone who has a basis for comparison please note that? –  Neil Fein Sep 4 '10 at 18:07
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@Neil Fein, CamelBaks are fairly expensive, you're usually buying it for the brand. I've bought a decent two litre water bladder + rucksack for £40 from the 'Bikehut brand owned by Halfords –  Ambo100 May 26 '11 at 20:14

Kickstand - simple but very useful. I used to have one when I was young but it was rubbish (bike never stayed upright) and it put me off them until recently. The one I have now is great, works with fully loaded panniers, and it means I don't need to find a wall to lean the bike against. Especially useful when doing small maintenance tasks.

Basic Greenfield kickstand Rear Greenfield kickstand Slightly fancier "swiss" kickstand that Rivendell sells Double-legged kickstand

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Which kickstand do you have now? This would be even more useful if you provided details about what kickstand you have and why you like it. –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 15:36
    
@Neilfein - Eh, I'm still looking at your Click-stand answer and trying to figure out if I in fact have a Click-stand, not a Kick-stand. I'll get back to you... –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 16:20
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A click-stand isn't attached to the bike permanently. You'd know it if you had one. Kick-stands come in a few different varieties: One legged, two-legged (and there are subtypes in there), ones that attach to the front of the chainstay, ones that attach in back, and probably even more types I'm not aware of. Perhaps we need something that asks what the different kinds of kickstands are and what their advantages are? –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 16:52
    
Right, confirmed I have a kick-stand. I've no idea what brand it is, I picked it up in a cycle shop on tour in Europe for about 15 euro. I attaches onto the bike frame at the back opposite the rear derailleur (is there technical term?). I never compared any kick-stand's so I can't say more that what I said above - it just works! My wife also has one that attached just under the pedals. It wasn't any good but only because it wasn't adjusted to the correct length. I fixed this and now it works reliably too. I can't recommend a type, just the concept... –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 18:14
    
It sounds like you have a kickstand that attaches to the rear of the chainstays, near the rear fork. Perhaps one of these? –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 20:34

Cyclaire pump It's a compact pump (comes with a small bag to attach to your top tube), and really, really fast. Changing a tube at the side of the road is bad enough without having spending ages minutes inflating it again (and tiring your arms). Now I never have to. It's not as good as a track pump, but I wouldn't want to be carrying one of those with me all the time.

A few times when I've seen another cyclist trying to inflate their tire with a hand pump, I've stopped to let them borrow mine. Each time they've been really impressed and said they're going to order one when they get home.

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That looks really cool! –  Joe Philllips Sep 5 '10 at 18:51
    
Just checked it out online -- very impressive! –  darkcanuck Sep 5 '10 at 20:38
    
Also worth checking out is the Topeak Morph range. They are effectively a mini track pump - the Mountain Morph will inflate even fat MTB tyres in no time, and the Mini Morph is light and easy to carry, but still lets you get road tyres up to 100psi. –  Chris Betterton Nov 26 '10 at 20:52
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+1 for an awesome gift idea for any cycler… –  Paul Wagland Feb 23 '11 at 21:13

Travel mug - Specifically, the AUTOSEAL® West Loop Stainless Steel Travel Mug (Vacuum Insulated). It fits easily in either water bottle cage (they're nylon so less likely to scratch it). It keeps hot things hot for at least a couple hours. It seals thoroughly enough that you can turn it upside down and shake it and not a drop escapes, so no worries about spilling coffee on my legs from going over bumps. And the unsealing mechanism is a button that's easy to press, allowing for no-hassle one-handed operation. Can even manage to drink with rough ground, since I can press the unseal button after getting the coffee

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I used to have an insulated coffee thermos device with something more like a normal water bottle top, and if the coffee was a little too hot it was easy to burn myself. Since this one has an opening somewhat more like a cup, it's much easier to take small sips. That used to be my favorite bicycle accessory ever, but now the Contigo is.

There's just nothing that beats a nice hot coffee on a chilly morning commute. Or maybe a hot chocolate if I'm out a bit late and it's chilly...

The Bicycle Coffee Systems website is a good resource for finding other coffee mugs.

Fit question:

  • In a fairly typical metal cage a lot like this cage it fits "normal". Most of the bulge of the cup fits under the clamping mechanism at the top of the cage
  • In a profile designs nylon cage that grips a bottle all around, it fits tighter than a standard water bottle, but still works fine.
  • The cage I'm most often using with it is an adjustable cage (I think I have the previous model of that one) that I originally got for a larger coffee bottle. The setting I have it at works for this mug or for a standard water bottle.
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I'd never thought about having coffee for my morning commute into work. I'll have to get myself one of these... –  Wilka Sep 2 '10 at 17:33
    
Does it fit well in a standard bottle cage or is it a bit tight/loose? –  Cosmic Flame Nov 26 '10 at 12:31
    
@CosmicFlame: it depends on the cage... In a standard metal cage it fits the same. In the standard-sized nylon cage I have it fits slightly tighter than a normal water bottle. –  freiheit Nov 26 '10 at 19:51
    
Brilliant. Thanks for the info. I'm putting one of these on my Christmas list now! ;) –  Cosmic Flame Nov 29 '10 at 11:17
    
essential item for touring during freezing winters. If you want to move more hot liquid, there are about 10kg steel (usually green) containers (as filled) by which you can move hot liquid. –  user652 Feb 25 '11 at 19:39

Garmin Forerunner - it's a GPS watch and not the typical cycling GPS that you put on the handlebar. But I love it because I also do running and it's convenient to have all workouts tracked by the same device (to upload everything at once). You can easily toggle between the cycling and running modes. That's important because you typically measure your running pace in minutes/km (or minutes/mile), while for the cycling speed you in general prefer km/h (or mph).

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I've got the same one. Don't know how I ever lived without it. –  Joe Philllips Sep 2 '10 at 18:50
    
what can you do with the GPS data - can you upload it to Google Maps for example ? –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 20:56
    
@Kevin, you can import the data in an application or site to log your rides. Some sites like runningahead.com use the Google Maps API to display your GPS data. See this post: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/520/…. –  b.roth Sep 3 '10 at 8:27
    
Top kit. I've had a 405 with HR and cadence kit for several years - Garmin's replacement policy is very good when you trash them as well. –  Duncan McGregor Nov 26 '10 at 22:46

Dynamo hub - Works under rain and no worries about discharged batteries. Plus, the front light has a night detector and the rear light has a capacitor.

Shimano Dynamo Front Hub

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These look like a huge pain to install. You have to put the spokes on? –  Joe Philllips Sep 5 '10 at 18:44
    
I just bought a wheel with a dynamo hub already installed. Thanks for the picture. –  mouviciel Sep 5 '10 at 20:23
    
@Joe you can either build a wheel yourself (easier than you think once you get the hang of it) or buy a prebuilt wheel around this hub –  crasic May 15 '11 at 18:08
    
Sorry to ask a stupid question, but... What exactly is this thing? –  theycallmemorty Aug 18 '11 at 13:29
    
This is a dynamo embedded in the hub of the front wheel. –  mouviciel Aug 18 '11 at 16:20

Click-Stand -The Click-Stand is a kickstand substitute, essentially a modified tent pole with a hook on the end. It's custom sized by the manufacturer so it'll fit with your bike. It's particularly well-suited to loaded touring bikes, and is much more stable than traditional kickstands.

It takes a minute to deploy, so it's not appropriate for racers or commuters, but it's great for anyone who's okay with taking a few seconds here and there.

After using it on tour for well over a year, I can confirm it to be more stable than most kickstands I've used, and doesn't put stress on the chainstays (where most kickstands are attached).

It comes with two brake bands, used to hold the bike's brakes closed, so it doesn't roll away while the Click-Stand is deployed.

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Loaded touring bike in Philadelphia 30th Street Station, held up with a Click-Stand. (The Click-Stand is the device under the saddle, extending down to the floor.) Image credit

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Click-Stand and brake bands, stowed in the holder next to my water bottle cage. Image credit

Click-Stand manufacturer's page

Note: The Greenfield Stabilizer is a kickstand that attaches to the rear of the chainstays, next to the rear fork, and is a popular alternative to the Click-Stand for loaded touring bikes.

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This is a bit more of a product review than an answer explaining a general accessory, because (at least at present) there's only one company I know of that makes these.) –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 15:57
    
Pretty neat. I've never seen this before. –  milesmeow Sep 13 '10 at 5:30

My lighting system - a cominbation of a SON Hub Dynamo and Bush & Muller lights.

The lights are a D'LUMOTEC oval senso plus at the front and a D'TOPLIGHT plus rear.

The D' is (I think) because they use LEDs

Firstly these are seriously bright (front and rear) - front gives a lot of light, enough to light up a road pretty well if dark. Back is bright.

Secondly they have a standlight function (that's the plus) so when you stop they stay lit for a few minutes (e.g. at a junction or traffic lights)

Finally there's the "Senso" feature that tips the package over from the merely excellent to the truly wonderful (any sufficiently advanced technology...) there's a sensor on the front light that turns the lights on when it gets dark - so you just ride the bike and if you need lights you have lights. Wonderful! (There's a positive on if you want and a positive off for those "you've left your lights on" conversations.)

I have all kinds of stuff for use for and with my various bikes "most useful" is a complex question but the automagic lights on my SpeedMachine are my favourite - my better half has the same setup on her kingcycle and, I think, a similar opinion (-:

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Cell phone - For when I managed to blow through all my spare parts on a ride and eventually am forced to give up and get help. :-)

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A cell phone, as useful as it is, really isn't a bike accessory. –  Neil Fein Sep 23 '10 at 18:58
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I have a special bike-cell-phone. The cheapest I could find, this way I don't have to take my smartphone with me on my MTB. –  GvS Sep 28 '10 at 16:07

Altimeter - Want to know if you're struggling because you're tired or climbing a false flat? How many meters/feet left until the top of the mountain pass? How steep was that last hill that nearly killed you? Are you climbing in too high or too low a gear? All these questions answered and more!

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My GPS has an altitude function, although I find it to be not as accurate as I'd like. Are there altimeters available for bicycles that are more accurate? –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 15:56
    
This would make a good question on its own. :) You can get a separate altimeter -- mine is part of my GPS too. Some GPS units calculate altitude based on satellite positions, but this can be less accurate. Mine is barometric, so it uses changes in atmospheric pressure to determine altitude (which is not foolproof either). It's pretty good, although changes in weather during a ride can lead to minor errors. –  darkcanuck Sep 2 '10 at 16:05
    
Some of the Specialized higher end bike comps have Inclinometers, which report angle of the climb, which I think is pretty cool. As in "I just did a 22% grade climb" That would be great to know. We had a series of hills around Toronto that we did hill reps on, and one guy had the inclinometer bike comp which let us see if our feeling of intensity matched the hill. –  geoffc Sep 3 '10 at 20:47
    
My Garmin Edge 500 has seemingly pretty good altitude data. Older Polar 725 read barometric pressure pretty accurately too. –  Jay Sep 13 '10 at 21:57
    
GPS data is pretty bad; barometric is better, but even then they're not all alike. The iBike does much better than the Garmin for accuracy. –  Charles Duffy Dec 18 '10 at 0:56

Topeak Rack and Trunk Bag - The brand isn't important, but for me, the compatibility of the two is: the bag slides neatly onto the rack and clicks securely in place. It makes it easy to grab the bag on the way out the door and attach it quickly to the bike.

This is most useful for bike commuters or others using their bike primarily for transportation. It offers more space than a saddle bag for tools and a first aid kit, or for picking up small items on errands. It's a handy bag to have on hand for longer rides around town, and having a rack that it slides right into makes it more likely that you'll bother to take it along.

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Can you add what particular use this is good for? (e.g., commuting, as a giant tool bag for frail volunteers, whatever?) –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 15:34
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@Neil - As a commuter, mine contains a) lunch, and late-afternoon snack b) keys, money, and cards so my pockets are empty c) bicycle lock d) spare clothes: wind/rain-proof anorak, an extra fleece top, and warmer gloves (because weather changes during the day and my ride home at night isn't the same as my ride out during the day). I don't pack shoes (to change out of bike shoes) because I keep shoes at the office. When I arrive at work, I take the lock out of the bag and lock the bike; take the bag off the bike; put my helmet and gloves in the bag, and walk into the office with the bag. –  ChrisW Apr 21 '11 at 10:56

Heart rate monitor - I know someone has already mentioned computer, but I'm a bit more specific. The only feedback I use is that heartrate number. With practice, it quickly tells me if I'm in the wrong gear or how long I can maintain a certain effort.

The whole computer thing is nice, but I really like having that single big number for feedback and not filling my head with power, distance and time.

Incidentally, what does it mean when your heart rate doesn't decrease on the downhill?

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If your heart doesn't decrease on the downhill, then your top gear is too small ;-) Seriously, you might want to ask that as question on the fitness SE site - if I could find one active I would give you the link - only a couple of proposal's in the define stage. –  Anthony K Sep 24 '10 at 2:20
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Downhill with high heart-rate =adrenaline level rising. Yiiiiihaaaahhh. –  GvS Sep 28 '10 at 16:09

Cycling booties are really nice for keeping your feet dry in the rain. Can also really help to cut down on wind on cold days.

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I favour the all-round neoprene ones - the only way to keep riding through a uk winter. –  Duncan McGregor Nov 26 '10 at 22:48

Vehicle bike racks

Bike racks can be attached to cars, buses, vans, or any kind of vehicle.

Racks are useful because they hold a bike more safely than tossing it into a car or a truck. Cars also sometimes require removing the front wheel in order to fit a bike in the vehicle, and using a bike rack eliminates that requirement.

Roof mounted racks are cheapest if you already have cargo rails on your car. They have a big effect on your gas consumption and you have to be able to lift the bike up that high.

roof mounted rack

Rear mounted racks attach to a trailer hitch or a 'hidden hitch', they are easiest to mount bikes on and the rack can be removed when you aren't using it. If they block the license plate or rear light they might be illegal in your country.

rear hitch rack

Cheapest option if your car doesn't have the mounting points is a clip on rear rack. They have adjustable straps that hook over the trunk or hatchback. Don't hold as many bikes or as securely as a hitch mounted rack but are cheap to fit and can go on any car. On a hatchback you can usually mount them above the license plate and lights.

hook on rear rack

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Is it really an accessory? Well, yeah accessory of a bus. Very cool idea but is this idea more appropriate to the urban safety innovations: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/1817/… Very cool, hope I had such busses. –  user652 Feb 19 '11 at 14:08
    
I expanded this a bit. Anyone have a good photo of a car bike rack? –  Neil Fein Feb 23 '11 at 17:08
    
@hhh - originally I meant that a bus ticket was my most important accessory! –  mgb Feb 23 '11 at 17:58
    
is it possible that you move the bus-rack to the urban safety innovation (link above)? I don't want to lose it. I think such innovation can make bicycling much more safe for some people such as older, kids or anyone who may not be sure of his/her strength. –  user652 Feb 23 '11 at 19:38

enter image description here

Clipless pedals: By using a a different muscle group while pulling up they increase your speed and stamina. Essentially you use special shoes with bicycle cleats to clip in to the pedals. Once locked in you can pull up as well as push down.

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Water bottle. A really cheap accessory that makes cycling more enjoyable; it increases stamina, too ;)

Water Bottle

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Bar-End Shifters/Gear Levers - One of the best investments I've made. Especially useful because of easy conversion from down-tube shifters, which I believe are one of the worst trends in recent cycle history. I'll never use anything else!

barcon img from Rivendell

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@Dustin: What's good about bar-end shifters that's better than, say, twist-shifters, STI shifters, et cetera? –  Neil Fein Sep 2 '10 at 16:50
    
@neilffein: In my experience, they're a little more durable, as they have less moving parts to break -- plus they're easier to service if they do, but it's rare. In comparison, I've seen far more of grip-shifters and brifters fail. –  Dustin Sep 2 '10 at 18:50
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I had to look this one up. For anyone else who didn't know what a Shifter was: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shifter_(bicycle_part). I know them as Gear Levers. –  Kevin Sep 2 '10 at 21:00
    
@freiheit - I think this really belongs in the terminology index. Or are barends shifters more in the way of an upgrade? –  Neil Fein Nov 14 '10 at 18:31
    
@neilfein: this is @Dustin's answer originally, I just edited in the photo. I think it'd make sense to copy it into the terminology index. –  freiheit Nov 14 '10 at 19:04

Cleat covers for road cycling shoes - They are great for stopping you wearing out your cleats while walking about.

All Types of Cleat Covers

Cleat Covers

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what is their main purpose? do they protect the cleats or do they serve for some other function? –  user652 Feb 23 '11 at 19:40
    
last link broken –  user652 Feb 23 '11 at 19:41

Light & Motion Seca - This is a powerful light that will allow you to go on rides at night. Being able to ride in the dark after working 9-5 during the winter is great. Riding trails that you ridden hundreds of times before at night is like riding a brand new trail. This light is also good for 24hr races where you're riding throughout the night.

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What differentiates it from other lights? –  Neil Fein Sep 4 '10 at 18:04
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There are several other brands of lights suitable for night riding. This particular brand is what I use and what several of my friends use. One thing that differentiates Light & Motion from other brands like Night Rider is that Light & Motion batteries are interchangeable. The battery from the Light & Motion I bought in 2005 work with the model I bought last year and vica versa. They purposefully maintain backwards compatibility with their adapters which is nice. –  jenglert Sep 7 '10 at 2:43

Winter cycling boots (either road or MTB)

As a northern European rider, every cyclist I know who has bought a pair of these has regretted not buying them earlier. They may not keep your feet totally dry (the water runs down your legs and into them), but they keep them so much warmer than overshoes do on the road, where your feet are effectively static just spinning circles, so don't generate much heat of their own.

On an MTB overshoes are just a hassle, getting caught up in mud and sticks when you put your feet down, so for years I used waterproof socks and normal cycling shoes. But your normal shoes don't have enough room in them for a nice warm sock and even with waterproof socks you often end up with your feet compressed, cutting off circulation and leading to cold feet.

If a lot of your riding is cold or wet, I'd strongly recommend buying a pair of winter boots, fitted with a nice thick wool sock. Having warm feet makes such a difference in those conditions.

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I carry a Tool Roll as an alternative to a saddle bag.

Saddle bags are a pain to switch between bikes and to take off and on if you don't want someone stealing your tools while it's locked up. Often they're bulky to carry around off the bike in a messenger bag. Plus, most of them are not waterproof and need to be aired out if you don't want your tools rusting after a ride in the rain. A tool roll is easy to slip into my messenger bag or pannier. If I need to I can even carry it in a jersey pocket, or even on the bike itself.

Tool Roll

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Full finger gloves -- if my chain comes off, I can just grab it, and not worry about getting my hands dirty.

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Handlebar bag:

I have tried frame bags, water bottle cage boxes and trunk bags, but the handlebar bag has been the most useful. It provides a convenient place to store my wallet, phone, a camera, the primary and backup batteries for my lights, energy gel, work access badge and sunglasses.

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