With the beautiful spring weather and blooming foliage, now is an ideal time for a leisurely bike ride on the Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail Trail (WERT). Before you hit the trail, though, it’s important to ensure that you are well-prepared for the journey. Here are five basic biking essentials that every cyclist should take along on their two-wheeled adventures!
1. A Quality Bicycle
Of course, if you’re going for a bike ride, you’re going to need a bike—specifically, one that is well-suited for the terrain that you plan to travel on. For riders who prefer paved surfaces and semi-paved paths, we suggest a hybrid bike. Hybrid bikes, also known as fitness or cross bikes, are specially designed to perform on roads and dirt/gravel trails. However, if you favor riding on rugged terrain, a mountain bike is a more appropriate choice for off-roading.
For those ready to invest in a bicycle of their own, we highly recommend Green Mountain Cyclery. With a wide variety of options from leading brands, their knowledgeable staff members are well-equipped to help you select the best set of wheels to meet your needs and preferences. However, if you enjoy an occasional ride but don’t want to commit to purchasing a bike, check out the Ephrata Bike Share! For an affordable hourly fee, you can rent a bike without the hassles of maintenance or storage—an ideal solution for beginners.
2. Head Protection
To reduce your risk of sustaining a head injury in the event of a fall or crash, you should always wear a helmet while riding a bike! For casual riders, a basic, recreational helmet will suffice, but you can certainly upgrade to one with added safety features.
Regardless of the type of helmet that you choose, though, it’s absolutely critical that it fits correctly. While trying on a helmet, you should first adjust the wheel or strap in the back, then buckle and tighten the chin strap. Next, open your mouth wide. If it fits right, the helmet should press against the top of your head and feel comfortably snug.
It’s important to note that bicycle helmets are designed to absorb just one impact. Therefore, if you’ve been in a biking accident and your helmet was put to the test, you should get a new one even if it’s still in good condition.
3. Appropriate Clothing & Footwear
In order to avoid injury and discomfort while riding, appropriate attire is essential. That doesn’t mean that you need to spend a ton of money on padded bike shorts, jerseys, or cycling shoes. For a leisurely ride, we suggest wearing breathable exercise apparel that provides a good range of motion and doesn’t chafe. Lightweight sneakers are ideal, preferably with supportive soles, and a clean pair of moisture-wicking socks. Eye protection is also encouraged, such as a comfortable pair of sunglasses.
4. A Water Bottle
Like any workout, you need to stay hydrated during a bike ride. Cyclists should drink a small amount every 10-15 minutes, especially in high-temperature conditions to replenish water lost from sweating. The easiest way to carry a water bottle during a ride is to purchase a frame-mounted cage. Hydration backpacks are also a great option for long-distance rides.
5. Skin Protection
When spending an extended period of time outdoors, always apply sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays—even on overcast days. If you plan to go on a long bike ride, don’t forget to stop a few times to re-apply so that your face, ears, neck, and arms don’t get burnt. We also suggest spraying on some insect repellent, particularly before going on a trail ride.
Now that you’ve got all of the essentials, you’re ready to roll! We hope that you have fun and stay safe while exploring Ephrata’s beautiful biking areas.