A good bike is a must and more specifically this should be a women specific bike. Brands such as Giant and Specialized spend a lot of time and money understanding our bodies and building bikes that really work for us.|
This entry level Giant Aeryn Women's 2011 triathlon bike will set you back around £1,494.00 from TriUK but you could complete a triathlon with any good road bike (or mountain if your route is off road).
Rigid soled shoes make cycling a lot easier and although they aren't mandatory you may find they improve your final time.
Whether you use cleats (pedals that clip into your special cycle shoes) or toe straps is up to you.
Cleats mean that even your upward pedal puts effort in, so it's not just the downwards stroke that matter.
You have to wear a helmet in triathlon events and it has to be free from cracks and other damage.
This Giro Stylus is £59.99 from TriUK
Don't scrimp on the helmet - hopefully you'll never have to find out why a good helmet is a good investment but it's not worth the risk!