Every bike needs a bell. There, I said it. Every bike needs a bell just like every car needs a horn, there are times you need an audible way to alert somebody to your approach. For decades I went with the "pardon me!" approach, but often that fell on deaf or ear plugged ears as I attempted to negotiate a narrow bike path or dirt trail along the forest floor. I went decades this way because I hated how the bells usually look.
Lets face it, the ubiquitous chrome bell may do the job, but it has no place on a modern road or mountain bike. It's big, it's bulky, and it's ugly. A single season of riding would have it's cheap chrome finish rusting and it's internal mechanism gummed up. They also do not fit on road bikes and they are in the way on a kitted out mountain bike. Definitely not something you want to meet on your way to face planting on the side of the trail, I do not need a bell shaped bruise along with the road rash.
I simply do not know why bicycle shops keep pushing this kind of junk.
Then I found this: The "Oi Bell" a lovely piece of kit from down under that clips neatly to your bars and has a nice adjustable sound depending on how hard you pull down the striker.
Now I have a bell on my bars that I barely know is there until I need it. With it's ability to cut through most conversations and music yet still not startle horses, this little piece of gear is exactly what every bike needs
When it comes to negotiating the back roads, the urban jungle, or picking your way through an overgrown trail, the only thing keeping you moving and not planting your face into the foliage, are the tyres. Even the best rider cannot force a bad or badly chosen tyre navigate safely across the earth.
While slicks are great on the street, they are dangerous off the road or even on streets with a bit of sand on them, on the flip side, knobby tyres are just plain exhausting to ride on unless you are traversing their intended terrain, both will wear badly is misused. What is needed then, is a compromise between the two, a tyre that can pick it's way across the forest floor and grip the asphalt with enough authority to make good time.
The Race King by Continental is just such a tyre. It's small knobbies can handle the loose stuff on trails and fire roads and it's low rolling resistance makes it a breeze to get up into the tall gears and put on the miles. One of the first upgrades I did to my Trek, these tyres have done thousands of miles and are still not showing much in the way of wear, but I fear they are beginning to dry-rot, so I will be replacing them this spring with another set. I can only imagine there is no better endorsement?
Travel requires storage. In order to carry things with you, you need a place to carry them. My bicycle already had a decent aluminum rack (that I stole from my previous Mountain bike) that would soon carry a sizable bag to hold things like my wallet, phone, lock, airpump, and the like. While I prefer to travel light, there is always some stuff you need to carry.
This bag (pictures taken from Amazon) is a nice upgrade from the original Schwinn bag I had on my previous bike. With the fold down panniers, it holds more than you might expect.