Just getting into cycling? You're not alone. Thanks to a variety of pandemic-related factors, the bike industry has absolutely exploded since the spring of 2020, so much so that supply has at times struggled to meet demand.
That said, there are currently plenty of awesome new and used bicycles out there, and once you've got one, you can supplement your set-up for less than you might think.
See below for a dozen field-tested, GP-approved bike accessories, all under $100 and most under $50, that will make your next ride safer, smoother and more fun.
P.s. Make it a baker's dozen with our favorite sub-$600 bike rounding out the list.
Helmet: Specialized Align II
Helmets with MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) provide additional protection during all-too-common angled impacts. The Align II is not only well vented, reflective and comfortable, it's the most affordable MIPS helmet out there.
Bell: Spurcycle Original
Made of brass and stainless steel, this stylish, durable bell keeps a low profile until you need it — at which point its ring resonates up to three times as long as most others.
Lights: Knog Plus Twinpack
These tiny, USB-rechargable lights are so damn cheap and handy. The integrated clip and silicone straps make them easy to attach almost anywhere, while 20 to 40 lumens and multiple blink modes ensure visibility out on the road.
Lock: Abus Mini Round Shackle U Lock
We've been using this exact lock for several years now and are kind of obsessed. The small size makes it easy to stash or carry on bike, as well as making it tough for thieves to get at the German-engineered 14mm hardened steel.
Pump: Pro Bike Tool Mini Pump
This pump incorporates both Presta and Schrader compatibility and a pressure gauge into a unit that's just seven inches long. Use the included mount to slap it on your bike and you'll forget all about it until it pumps your tires in a pinch.
Tool: Crankbrothers M19 Multi-Tool + Case
It's hard to find a product that packs more functions into such a small profile. We're talking seven hex wrenches, four screwdrivers, two open wrenches and the coup de grâce: a chain tool that could save you a trip to the bike shop.
Bottle: CamelBak Podium Chill
You want your water cold and easy to access when you need hydration, without leaking all over the place when you don't. Thanks to double-wall insulation and a high-flow, self-sealing cap, the Podium delivers — and looks good doing it.
Snack: GU Energy Stroopwafel
Gels and gummies are great and all, but if you hanker for something resembling, you know, actual food, try these tasty, easy-to-stash waffles. They deliver 150 calories, 22 grams of carbs and a caffeine kick to keep you rolling long and strong.
Jersey: Pearl Izumi Quest Thermal Jersey
Thermal Fleece fabric with four-way stretch keeps you warm and limber. Reflective hits keep you safe. And a silicone gripper keeps the rear hem down when you bend forward, giving you clean access to essential gear stored in the three rear pockets.
Buy Now: $85
Shorts: Elevenpine Uprising
Not quite ready for the nothing-but-spandex look? These clever shorts employ zippers and Velcro straps to convert from form-fittingly close to comfortably loose in seconds. For an extra $40, you can score a combo deal with the Liberator Liner and enjoy some critical long-distance padding.
Anti-Chafe Cream: Chamois Butt'r Original
As you start doing longer rides, you'll appreciate not only a chamois like the Liberator but also a non-greasy lubricant. Easy-to-apply Chamois Butt'r minimizes irritation and maximizes smooth movement for extended hours in the saddle.
Socks: Swiftwick Vision Six Impression
A good cycling sock is breathable and moisture wicking, hugs your feet with a bit of compression and eliminates friction to keep them blister-free. These socks do all that with style, thanks to colorful prints paying tribute to iconic national parks.
Bike: State Bicycle Co. 4130 Road
Looking for a fast, fun road bike with style to spare? It's here in the 4130, a smooth-shifting, quick-braking steel-and-aluminum 8-speed that delivers loads of thrills at a surprisingly nice price. This beautiful ride comes in three colors and five sizes so you can find the perfect fit.