The Beginner Triathlete’s Biking Gear Guide

1. A bike: If you don’t already own a bike or don’t know anyone who you can borrow a bike from for your first triathlon, don’t fret! You do not, I repeat, do not need an expensive carbon fiber bike as a beginner triathlete. There are lots of inexpensive options to choose from that are under $200! Also, you don’t necessarily need a road bike for your first triathlon either; a hybrid or even a mountain bike will work just fine for a Sprint triathlon. {However, I’d save the beach cruiser for the beach!} And before you start peddling away, watch this video to make sure your bike is road ready. {Click here to read about how Jess found a bike for her first triathlon.}

2. Bike shorts/pants {optional}: While bike shorts are optional, they are definitely worth it in our opinion. What makes bike shorts different from regular shorts or spandex is the fact that they have a lovely layer of padding right where you need it. However, we don’t recommend running in these puppies because it feels like you’re wearing a diaper. Alternatively, you could also buy a bike seat cushion if you’re not too crazy about the spandex. Since your first triathlon will most likely be a Sprint triathlon or a shorter distance race, padded bike shorts are not 100% necessary. Honestly, as a you begin your triathlon training, your butt is gonna be sore whether you get padded shorts or not.

3. Bike jersey {optional}: These shirts look really cool, don’t they? Bike jerseys usually have a little pouch in the back which can hold small items like car keys or chapstick. We have never purchased bike jerseys and are completely fine without them.  Just make sure you wear a tighter fitting shirt because a baggy shirt will fill up with air as your speed increases.

4. Sport sunglasses: Just like when you drive, the sun can obstruct your vision when you are biking outside. You can wear a pair that your already own, or get a sporty pair, but it is important to wear sunglasses for your safety as you train for your first triathlon.

5. Speedometer: These little gadgets are awesome! As a beginner triathlete, a speedometer is very useful to track your mileage, speed and even calories. As you train for your first triathlon, it can be helpful to know your average speed and how fast you are actually going when if feels like you’re peddling really hard. This is also a great tool to track your progress!

6. Bike gloves: Especially for longer rides, the extra padding in these gloves makes such a difference! They also help you grip the handle bar better, especially when your hands get sweaty. Plus, they make you look like a pro cyclist!

7. Bike tire pump: A bike pump is especially helpful if you get a flat tire. In order to prevent getting a flat tire, it is important to make sure your tires are inflated to the proper PSI before taking your bike for a spin, hence the air pump.  Check out this video to learn how to change a flat tire. You can also read Jess’s story about getting a flat tire while training for her first triathlon here.

8. Small bike bag: Ladies, this is a must {and men too}! This small bag fits perfectly under the seat. It is small enough that you won’t even notice it, yet big enough to hold important items like your keys, ID, your bike adjustment tool {see #9}, and even a snack! It easily attaches to the frame via a velcro strap.

9. Bike repair/adjustment tool: This inexpensive tool is worth its weight gold! It’s small and lightweight and makes adjusting your bike or fixing a flat tire a breeze. As a beginner triathlete, this tool is invaluable and can save you a lot of stress and money. Watch this video to see how to correctly adjust your bike.

10. Water bottle: Duh.

11. Bike lock {optional}: A bike lock is always nice to have, especially if you learn that you love biking! Instead of only training for your first triathlon, you may want to use your bike to commute to work or to the store. So, if you plan to bike around town, make sure you lock it up!

12. Helmet: It is 100% necessary to buy a helmet for your first triathlon! Make sure you get a helmet that fits correctly. It should comfortably sit on the top of your head and it shouldn’t obstruct your vision or feel too tight. Adjust the straps so that you can shake your head without it falling off or sliding to one side or the other. If your helmet is too big or too small, it won’t protect you effectively. In other words, don’t use your children’s bike helmets! Safety is a priority when training for your first triathlon! As a beginner triathlete, you might fall… and that’s perfectly ok… especially if you have a good helmet!

Happy biking!

*Check out The Beginner Triathlete’s Running Gear Guide

*Check out The Beginner Triathlete’s Swim Training Gear Guide


About Author

Trainer DaveyTrainer Davey is an Orange County personal trainer at heart, but has since moved to Nashville and taken on the new challenge of triathlon training. Of course, he misses his home of Surf City...but Music City ain't so bad either!View all posts by Trainer Davey →

  1. Skerrelvetage

    Hello! Just want to say thank you for this interesting article! =) Peace, Joy.

    • Jess

      You’re welcome! Glad you found it interesting! Thanks for reading!

  2. Jeffory Dodson
    Jeffory Dodson03-21-2013

    Thanks for the nice layout and tips. Appreciated.