Whether you’re an avid cyclist or haven’t ridden a two-wheeler since junior high, there’s no better time to spin your wheels than right now: May is National Bike Month. And you don’t have to dust off your old ten-speed to enjoy it—there are lots of innovative bikes and accessories with especially intelligent features. If you want to upgrade your ride, here are seven pieces of gear that will help you get rolling safely and comfortably—stock up now so you're ready to hit the road (or head off-road) on May 1.
1.ELBY BIKE; $3699
A lot of bikes have really cool, smart details. This new model stands out in a field that’s innovative by nature and growing in popularity: E-bikes. The Elby doesn’t do all the work for you but helps you pedal up to 20 miles per hour, and you can ride close to 100 miles without recharging (check the battery level and program your route on your phone with the Elby app). There are lights to keep you safe when riding early in the morning or late at night, and the handlebars boast a USB port so you can keep your phone charged on the go. Plus, it has a built-in lock to keep it all safe while you’re in the office or out to brunch. We know, it has one heckuva price tag. But for those looking to join the world of e-bikes, the Elby is a great entry point.
Find it: Elby Bikes
2. SMITH OVERTAKE HELMET; $250
All bike helmets are not equal. This style has a lightweight polymer interior that absorbs 30 percent more energy upon impact than the EPS foam in many helmets, and it’s covered with 21 vents to keep your head from overheating. It’s also available with MIPS linings, which reduce impact to your brain if you do hit your head. Another cool feature: There are specially placed grooves in the front where you can prop your sunglasses when you’re biking in shade or head indoors—brilliant.
Find it: Smith
3. SPECIALIZED SL PRO BIB SHORT; $180
If you’ve ever worn a bike kit before, you know what a pain they can be to get on and off. If you haven’t, here’s the deal: They’re like biking shorts with built-in overalls, which keep everything comfortably in place during your ride—but you have to pull them all the way down to use the restroom. Enter this ingenious design from Specialized. It’s got a hookup bib with a small magnetic closure on the back. That tiny magnet makes them a breeze to pull on and off.
Find it: Specialized
4. DAKINE SESSION 12L HYDRATION PACK; $95
Going out for a long day of riding and can’t decide whether to take a heavy backpack or squish everything you need into a teeny fanny pack? This smart bag from Dakine is the perfect compromise. It has tons of pockets to keep snacks, a bike lock, and other necessities organized; a pouch lined with fleece to keep your sunglasses scratch-free; air mesh panels to keep your back cool; and straps to hold your helmet. Plus, it can hold 2 liters of water, with a valve for sipping so you can stay hydrated easily while you pedal.
Find it: Dakine
5. FABRIC CAGELESS WATER BOTTLE; $15
Short rides don’t require that you carry a pack—but you will still want something to sip on. This new BPA-free design from British brand Fabric takes a regular water bottle up a notch. With it, you don’t need a cage attached to your bike; small slots on it allow you to snap it right onto two bolts on your bike frame, making it an easy-to-use, lighter weight alternative to traditional water bottle holders.
Find it: Fabric
6. SPECIALIZED GRAIL GLOVES; $35
On long rides, gloves take some of the pressure off your hands—which can be a lot comfier and keep them from going numb. Most feature padding along the edges of your palm to cushion the bones, but this style flips that thinking on its head. The Grail gloves have “body geometry” cushioning, a teardrop-shape pad in the middle of your palm instead; it’s more ergonomic and has been scientifically proven to cut down on numbness and increase blood flow to your fingers.
Find it: Specialized
7. SUPERBONES BIKE RACK; $399.99
If you’re planning to drive anywhere with your bike, a sturdy rack for the back of your car is key. Unfortunately, a lot of them are hard to use, loaded with confusing straps, and don’t keep your bike safe if you step away from your car during a rest stop. Not this one rack, by cycling company Saris. It’s made of strong, lightweight plastic with adjustable feet that plant firmly against your car without scratching, and it has anti-sway straps to keep bikes from moving too much while you drive. Plus, an internal mechanism keeps most of the straps inside the legs, so it’s easier to use and more stable than many racks. Bonus: A built-in locking system means your bike stays secure and safe from thieves.
Find it: Saris