May I pick your brains?...

So, I have been bitten by the bug.

I picked up a CB Explorer 100 for a bargain price from amazon after my doctor advised me to exercise in an effort to stave off a form of cancer that seems to be quite fond of the male members of my family. I began by exchanging bus rides for bike rides and the odd leisure cycle and have now progressed to completing 'The Guild Wheel', a 20+ mile cycle lane circuit in my dreary home town of Preston four to five times a week.

During this progression I have been lurking on this site and rooting through the archives learning as much as I can. However I have got to the point where any questions I have are specific to me, along with a couple of other bits and pieces that I am still puzzled by. I would be delighted if the more experienced members of the board would have a look at them.

1. I worry that as a beginner I may fall into the trap of spending loads of money on useless junk. Are there any brands/suppliers that are notorious for one reason or another? Is there any gadgetry that newbie consumers end up purchasing that always ends up gathering dust in the garage?

2. Are components for bikes universal? So, for example if I picked up some new pedals online, is it a certainty that they will fit my bike? Or rather do you always need to have a certain 'scheme'; ie. If the cycling shoes are Shimano, will the pedals that they are to attach to have to be Shimano too and so on?

3. For future health considerations, I have little in the way of option when it comes to keeping this activity up (thankfully I really enjoy it) so as winter draws near I am beginning to worry about the weather. As I mentioned earlier I live in a near-shanty town in the damp, drizzly north west. During a surprise storm I cycled wearing a waterproof top that I kept in my backpack and the result was sweating in what could only be described as an un-holy manner. Is there specialised gear to combat this, or do I have to choose between being soaked in rain water or soaked in sweat?

I would be grateful for any advice.



gary in derby

Well-Known Member
Hi Dan
will do my best though, others more knowledgable than i are sure to be along soon.
1, always lots of shiny stuff to buy, i tend to look at it as have i needed it to date/ will i need it.
2, i tend to stick with same makes, though there are compatable makes around, just ask at your LBS.
3, eyh up lad not made of sugar are we? but seriously unless you want to spend big bucks, you do have a choice of boil in the bag types(sounds like yours is one) or go for something that will keep the wind out.(my prefered option.)
keep up the good work and hope you stay well.



Started young, and still going.
Morning Dan, Taking your questions in order--There are many gadgets that collect dust and it can get expensive. Decide what you want first. Lights are a must when the autumn/winter comes along, Would you really need a bike computor to keep tabs on your milage? If so get a basic one to start with so it shows your total/ average milage, you won't need an all singing all dancing gps/ heartrate monitoring yet.

2/ Most, not all components are compatabl,It looks like the pedals can be swapped, most makes will fit. If you are going 'clipless' then shimano pedals will fit shimano cleats ect, the bits that attach to the bottom of cycling shoes, the actual shoes do not have to be Shimano, but make sure the cleats fit the type of shoe you buy. The bike shop will advise you. The cleats come with the pedals.

3/ Get good waterproof/ breathable jacket as it will keep you warm in the winter, and wick away most of the sweat, also a beanie hat to wear to keep your head warm and some decent gloves.I would advise you to get mudguards fitted for the wet winter months. They really do keep a lot of the road crud away from you when riding. Hope this helps.


Senior Member
For lights over the distance and times per week you are doing I would go with dynamo. B&M Cyo T and a shimano hub dynamo with decent wheel like Mavic Open Sport, you will buy it once and never replace it. Essential if you ask me for winter training as the bike is always ready.

Bike computer, simple one with distance, cadence, av.speed, time etc. I have previously posted my preference for the wired specialized one from cyclestore as it is a bargain.

You don't really need much more, track pump is helpful, and I assume you have the essential on bike repair kit and pump.


Oaf on a Bike
Welcome :cheers:

1. On a budget youll find that if you shop around for parts and accessories you can usually find what you want discounted online if youre not overly fussed about which exact model. After the minimal repair kit (and maybe a powerlink or equivilent), a track pump is a pretty decent investment, some full mudguards (as uncool as they look) and some lights.

2. Lots of things are near universal, but others arent as frame tubes, wheels, gearing systems all vary so parts that fit onto them do too.

3. No idea on the jacket really, on leisure rides I just avoid going out when its cold and raining otherwise just cycle in regular clothes with a coat - not ideal though, if its warm then just get wet.
1 - you can spend as much money as you want - the skill really is not spending it!:whistle:

3 - on the jacket side of life. I sweat a lot as well, always have done. I ride with a very thin merino wool top on underneath a decent waterproof in the winter. You will (and should) be cold for the first 10-15 minutes but you will warm up very quickly once you are going and this is what you need to dress for, not how you feel when you step out of the door. I have 2 options for waterproofs (simply because I use some of my mountaineering equipment) and have recently cycled through seriously bad weather (-15C in Turkey last winter, and had ice forming on my waterproof, helmet, gloves and every available surface on my bike and panniers in Serbia, also last winter).
Waterproof - invest for comfort BUT do not buy anything that does not have pit zips (under arm zippers). I ride with my pit zips down most of the time. You can get expenive mountaineering tops or winter cycling waterproofs that have them. I found the wiggle DHB own brand cycling tops excellent for cycling in in autumn/winter/spring etc.

Ironically in the really cold weather, especially down hill, ski gloves have been the best option (-15C) but they do leave you with slightly more limited hand movement and are a pain to put on if you also need to get them underneath your waterproof top if it is raining, but they are very effective in very cold weather.

A skull cap under cycle helmet is also useful as is a neck buff which can be pulled as high or as low as needed, as are thin merino wool glove liners which can usually be used with waterproof cycling gloves.

My experience includes cycling to uni in Preston for 3 years (:whistle: )
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