Other Tools: Things That Make Bicycle Riders Safe AND Smart.

Fixing a flat is not the only basic skill to consider. Every rider needs OTHER TOOLS as well; A helmet. lights for the front and the back of the bicycle, gloves that protect your hands, a good floor pump that stays at home, and a small portable tool kit.

HELMET! HELMET! HELMET! There are still people who insist on not wearing a helmet. but why take the chance that a stray meteorite will fly out of the sky and bonk you on the head. It's just not worth it. Helmets are good. Your brain is a darn cool thing. Protect it. Get a helmet that fits snug, looks cool. and hen wear it when ever you're on your bike. And remember in some places, like here in Seattle, you can get a citation for not wearing one!

LIGHTS. Whenever I drive my car, I always drive with the lights turned on. It has been proven that this helps in preventing daytime auto accidents by 33%. Why not increase bicycle safety too? Light sets are inexpensive. A bright blinking type for the front handle bars and a blinking red on for the back of the bike will greatly increase your visibility to cars, trucks, other bicyclists, and pedestrians.

GLOVES. Some people will tell you that gloves are just for looks, but it's simply not true. Gloves protect your hands from the weather, absorb the shock from riding along the road, and make it easier to wipe the perspiration from your brow before it rolls into your eyes. Winter gloves with long fingers keep the cold and wet at bay, and summer gloves with cut off fingers allow for a very unique tan line.

FLOOR PUMP. Most pumps that you carry on your bike ( except for a CO2 cannister ) take extra muscle power to get proper air pressure. A floor pump however is not only easier to operate, but most models have a inflation gauge built in to insure that the necessary amount of air pressure gets into your tires. SO compact pump with you on the bike, and the floor pump at home to keep those tires nicely inflated.

TOOL KITS. There are a wide array of these available. There are even air pump/tool kit combinations putting everything you need in one compact unit. But since bicycles consist of a lot of bolts and hex nuts, a tool that can tighten and loosen all the connections on your bike frame is essential.

SUNSCREEN. Yes this is an important tool as well. Once you start riding your bicycle you will find that you'll be spending more and more time outside. Summer, spring, fall and yes, EVEN in the winter you need to put on a nice amount of sunscreen. Don't buy the cheap stuff, buy good, mid-range SPF 30 that will not run in your eyes when you start to sweat. FInding a sunsceen with a moisturizer mixed in is good too because your skin is more exposed to wind and rain and needs extra help. A bottle of good sunscreen seems pricey, but is a whole lot cheaper than getting those carcinoma's removed by laser one day.

And Finally....

WATER. Again, no matter what time of the year you ride your bike, even if you are riding in a drenching rainstorm, your body needs water on the inside. So keep your water bottles, clean, filled, and nearby at all times.