Beginner’s Gear Guide: Two easy, cheap upgrades to make riding your bike better

red black bike outside bike to work riding bikes

If you’re considering biking to work, start here. If you need to know what basics to get started with and how to avoid helmet hair, start here. If you want to affordably pimp your ride, keep scrolling!

Finding a new seat

Getting a new seat since arguably has the biggest impact on how comfortable it is to ride your bike. I had a regular, generic bike seat. At the risk of giving you too much information, my downstairs was feeling very….smushed when I was riding. It was getting so uncomfortable that I didn’t even want to take short rides around my neighborhood.

If you don’t want to spend a ton of money (over $50) you’re going to have to choose between “anatomic comfort” (aka a cut-out for your lady parts) and level of cushion in the seat. Due to the aforementioned smushing issue, I prioritized finding a seat that would first and foremost alleviate that.

I ultimately settled on this one, Planet Bike’s A.R.S. Standard bike seat. The reviews specifically mentioned alleviating smushing (yes, that’s the technical term) and I’m happy to report that has absolutely been the case. I could have gotten a seat with more cushion, but I wouldn’t want to trade that anatomic comfort. If you do opt for a more cushioned seat, make sure the cutout is actually for your nether regions and not just for airflow.

Installing a new bike seat is surprisingly easy and only took me about 15 minutes (because I put it on backward first). Serious bikers call the seat a “saddle” so don’t be confused if that comes up in your search results. All you need is a screwdriver and the ability to follow directions (included with the seat)!

cell phone holder on bike handlebars

Phone holder for your handlebars

Securing my phone to the handlebars of my bike has been the best safety upgrade I’ve done (well, after getting good lights). As I try to bike more and drive less, I don’t always know where I’m going. I want to have Google Maps on but I can’t hear her if my phone’s in my pocket, and I don’t want to have headphones on for safety reasons.

Enter a phone mount! For $12, I got this mount from Amazon that enabled me to hear the Google lady and glance at the map while riding. It also has the recreational benefits of making it easy to play music while you ride (hello, Friday bike rides home).

The mount was super easy to install (and remove if you’re cleaning your bike) and required no tools. I mostly love it because it fits any phone and holds it VERY securely. I’ve biked over super bumpy pavement, come to a screeching halt, and straight up dropped my bike while parking it and my phone has never come loose. Plus, the mount has a 360-degree swivel on it so you can adjust it to the exact position you’d like.

Upgrading your seat is the easiest way to make biking more comfortable no matter how cheap (or nice) your bike is. Adding a phone mount makes it safer to ride your bike in new places and adds a little bit of fun when you’re out for a casual ride and want some tunes.

The more comfortable and safe you are, the more likely you are to ride your bike places. I’m consistently one of the few women I see out there biking, so ladies, if you’re worried about finding your way…or just want your lady parts to not be so dang uncomfortable, these upgrades are for you. See you out there!

Published by Laura Cardon

Laura Cardon moved to Colorado as an adult and quickly realized how difficult it was to get started exploring the outdoors in a state full of experts. She founded Outdoor Beginner in 2014 to fill the gap in beginner-friendly content for camping, hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities. In addition to Outdoor Beginner, she coaches beginner trail runners and works at Runners Roost in Golden, Colorado, where she lives with her spouse and toddler.

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