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9 must-have items for cyclists

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Bicyclists face danger every time they hit the streets, even if they follow the rules of the road. But, Steve Maleski (pictured right), owner of Espada Bicycles in NoDa (3206-R N. Davidson St.), says you can bike safely and have fun while doing it. He recently sat down with CL and told us about nine items no cyclist should leave home without.

1. A helmet: "I'd rather buy a new helmet than relearn the alphabet," said Maleski. "They're lightweight, they're safe. Big vents, doesn't look too bad."

2. A light: "If you're riding at dusk or at night, you need some form of light. One, you're required by law if you're riding after dark to have lights. You can have a blinking or a [steady] light. They light up everything as well as a car. It allows people to see you. A lot more people than you realize ride at night. Some people are like: 'I have reflectors, and it'll be all right.' But, no, not so much."

3. A cell phone: "If your bike breaks [you can call someone] or if somebody runs you off the road, you can snap a picture. Just for safety purposes, you need a cell phone. I'm not condoning yakking on your phone while you're riding your bike. I'm just saying have a cell phone with you."

4. Pocket change: "Make sure you have some duckets," Maleski said with a laugh. "ID is always crucial, too — in case something happens. That way you're not John Doe or something."

5. Medical ID bracelet: "If you have any kind of medial condition, that's always kind of crucial."

6. A bicycle CO2 inflator: "You put the CO2 cartridge in [a mini pump] and it's a really quick way to inflate your tires. It's usually good for one, so carry a couple of cartridges with you. In case you go flat."

7&8. A patch kit and tire levelers: "These help you get the tire off easier," Maleski said of levelers.

9. An allen wrench: "You have to carry some tools. An allen wrench will basically fit all of the bolts on your bike. There are all sorts of small foldable tools that give you more leverage."

For more information, visit www.espadabicycles.com.

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