5 accessories you need with a new bike purchase

Special thanks for the inspiration behind this post go out to my friend Rob who’s just become a cyclist and the helpful chap in Camden Cycle Surgery.

The essential bike accessories

Lock, lights, helmet, track pump and lockable skewers.

1. Bike lock

Suggestion: Kryptonite New York 3000
Price: £65
In-store or online: In-store (Cycle to Work = 40% off woo!)

What came first? The bicycle lock or the bike. It doesn’t matter, because unless your bike looks like you’ve just hauled it out of a canal then its going to get stolen. The first thing you’ll need therefore, is a decent lock. It doesn’t get much more decent than the Kryptonite New York 3000. It’s a lock that will resist all but the most persistent attacks.

2. Bike lights

Suggestion: Knog Boomer and Blackburn Flea
Price: £25.49 and £21.99
In-store or online: Online (Probably don’t have these in store)

Even if you the thought of repairing a puncture makes you run and hide under your bed covers you’ll still be able to install the Knog Boomer and Blackburn Flea. Both are beautifully simple to install and with USB charging you’ll save a bundle from not having to replace batteries. Plus they both provide plenty of light and look great.

3. Helmets

Suggestion: Bell helmet
Price: £31.49
In-store or online: In-store (Cycle to Work = 40% off woo!)

I hear gasps at the back? I’d be hearing even more gasps if I didn’t give a shout out to the bicycle helmet. Long a point of contention – to wear one or not to wear one? I’ll leave the choice up to you. I’ve written about bicycle helmets previously. The Bell helmet I recommend is a bit of an “out there” choice for those that want to look cool on their bikes.

4. Track pump

Suggestion: Topeak Joe Blow Sport
Price: £24.99
In-store or online: In-store (Cycle to Work = 40% off woo!)

Life before buying a track pump was tenuous. My mini-pump, try as I might, could barely ever reach the required tyre pressure. The track pump on the other hand makes light work of empty tires and means I can cycle without wasting energy due to flat tyres. I highly recommend the Topeak Joe Blow Sport.

5. Lockable skewers

Suggestion: Pinhead Four Pack Locking Skewer Set
Price: £53.99
In-store or online: In-store (Cycle to Work = 40% off woo!)

You may have mistakenly believed the fifth item I’d mention is mudguards. You can’t have the pleasure of road muck spraying on your back if someone’s run off with your wheels, saddle and handlebars. That’s exactly what the Pinhead system secures and it is worth having if you are riding an expensive bike.

Bike accessories for a later date

Bottle cage, basic tool kit, waterproof jacket, mudguards, shoes and bike mount.

As things progress with your cycling you’ll probably want to grab a couple of extra bits. A bottle cage for one is useful for staying hydrated. A basic tool kit is good for that inevitable puncture on the way home in the rain. Cycling specific waterproof jackets keep you dry and at the same time not too sweaty.

You may also eventually transition either to clip in shoes or power grips. This gives you extra power especially when heading up hill. Do be aware you will fall over often as you get used to them.

A final item I can’t close this post without mentioning is a bike mount. If you’ve got a modern Android or iPhone mobile phone then these are a game changer. No longer will you be getting lost all the time as you can follow your route on your phone’s screen. Here at London Cyclist we love them so much we even sell one ourselves!

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25 Responses to 5 accessories you need with a new bike purchase

  1. Dave42W 26/09/2011 at 10:36 am #

    I don’t understand.

    Why would anyone buy a bike for transport that didn’t come with mudguards and hub dynamo lighting system?

  2. Biggsy 26/09/2011 at 11:15 am #

    A hub dynamo adds extra cost*, weight and complication* that may not be justified for those who don’t ride much at night or just prefer other lights.

    * Including replacing or rebuilding the front wheel if the bike doesn’t have a dynamo in the first place.

    • Dave42W 26/09/2011 at 10:12 pm #

      re Hub Dynamo

      Cost: Yes, but not so much when included in the original bike as most Dutch bikes have

      Weight: Ah the British obsession. Does not matter if a Bike is practical so that it gets used and lasts for years as long as it is light. I ride a cargobike most days, weight is not the big issue for daily use. Practicality is

      Complication: I agree having lights that are permanently fixed to the bike, come on automatically when it gets dark, require no maintenance and work for years are definitely more complicated.

  3. Biggsy 26/09/2011 at 11:32 am #

    …As far as buying the bike in the first place goes: choice is drastically restricted if considering only those with hub dynamos. Another bike may be otherwise exactly what you want, and cheaper. Cost of batteries is a factor, yes, but modern LED lights can be cheap to run, especially when using rechargable batteries.

    Mudguards: I agree it’s silly not to have them in the UK for a bike not exclusively used for dry weather or sport. I recommend a rack as well, when practicable.

    Also get a pump, puncture kit, spare inne tube and a small set of allen keys on day one

    • Dave42W 26/09/2011 at 10:17 pm #

      A huge choice of Bikes that are going to end up not being used is not so great. There are now a few shops in london that will sell entirely practical bikes (Velorution and BikeFix are two I know). By the time you have added all these extras that “cheap” bike won’t be so cheap.

      Dynamo Lights are not just about cheap to run but about convenience (always there) and power (you need to get a good exposure or similar light to get similar power and that won’t have a light beam that is designed to avoid dazzling other road users).

  4. Chris 26/09/2011 at 3:11 pm #

    Glasses definitely come before helmet – if your eyes are streaming because of 15-20 mph wind blowing grit into your eyes, then no amount of lid is going to help you.

    After a week of cycling without glasses, you’ll need a subscription to Optrex. Even a cheap set of shades will suffice.

    And, for me, an emergency kit (in a saddle bag) with essential tools comes way before lockable skewers. But then I have a safe place to leave the steed when I’m at work.

    FWIW, I can certainly live without hubs – virtually every AA & AAA in my house is a rechargable, so having a bike light that takes them is not a problem.

    • Mark 30/09/2011 at 1:15 pm #

      I cycle 100 miles a week from south london to north, yes your eyes will stream slightly at top speeds, or if there is grit in the air, but i have never considered glasses as being more important than a helmet. i wear a helmet every day of the year, i probably only wear glasses 5-10 days a year (ie if there is a lot of pollen about, or its summer!)

      • MCRcycling 01/11/2011 at 1:04 pm #

        I’d consider glasses of greater importance, but for me it’s due to tiny flies in the spring and summer months. I probably wear glasses on only 10 rides a year, but I wouldn’t bother with a helmet, I’m only riding a bike after all.

  5. el-gordo 26/09/2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Andreas – will the Tigra bike mount fit on the handlebars of a road bike?

    I bought the Ultimate Mobile one a few months ago, which works fine, but the bracket won’t fit my new road bike so I now need a new case.

    • Andreas 26/09/2011 at 3:30 pm #

      Running down stairs to double check that it does now..

    • Andreas 26/09/2011 at 3:34 pm #

      Yep it does. It uses an allen key screw mechanism that can fit even the fattest of road bike bars

      • el-gordo 26/09/2011 at 4:25 pm #

        Cheers Andreas, think I will have a look at one of those. Bit annoying as my other case is only a month old or so. Never mind, that’s what e-bay is for I guess!

        • Andreas 27/09/2011 at 8:30 am #

          Christmas in less than 90 days.. an expensive present for a cycling friend ;)

  6. Mark 26/09/2011 at 3:42 pm #

    I bought the Biologic iPhone case (for $20 plus postage from http://store.thinkbiologic.com/bike-mount-for-iphone-3gs.html) and it has to be one of the best purchases I have ever made. I’m a commuting cyclist (25 miles a day), and also recently started some longer leisure rides, which I’ve mapped into Cyclemeter and used the iPhone as a SatNav.

    Both case and app are bloody brilliant.

    • Andreas 26/09/2011 at 4:26 pm #

      That’s really good that it is only $19.99 at the moment. Good find!

    • el-gordo 26/09/2011 at 4:28 pm #

      Mark

      If you want to follow a pre-defined route I have found the easiest way is to map it out on iMapMyRide (on the website version), which is free to join. You can then save it and export it as a GPX file, e-mail it to yourself and then upload it into Cyclemeter – hey presto – a pre-defined route that you can follow on the GPS.

      I find it really useful if I want to do a ride of a certain distance for training purposes.

      • Mark 26/09/2011 at 4:40 pm #

        That’s exactly what I did! I used to use MapMyRide all the time until the recent update broke it. I still use it for mapping rides but have become a CycleMeter convert! Have so far used it both on rides on the North Downs and in the Peak District.

        • Andreas 26/09/2011 at 7:08 pm #

          You can also export KML rides from Google Maps I believe..
          You might need to save it as a MyMap first.

  7. Jozudave 30/09/2011 at 10:57 am #

    Can anyone recommend a front bike light (preferably blazingly bright, but not incredibly expensive – a big ask I know!) that fits on large handlebars?

    An unforseen problem of my new bike is that the t-bar handlebar is very thick so normal bike light fittings can reach around it.

  8. Jozudave 30/09/2011 at 10:57 am #

    *can’t reach around sorry.

  9. dave 15/10/2011 at 12:53 pm #

    hi, i am thinking of joining critical mass, but i am a little confused about the requirements. It seems to me that the whole idea of CM is to protest against the pollution caused by vehicles, and to reclaim the streets for themselves? If that is the case, and i do join, does that mean that i have to change my whole way of life, and my whole lifestyle, to avoid being labelled a hypocrite?

    You see, if i am going to complain about the number of drivers on the streets, then surely i should ensure that i dont, for example, eat any meat (since the food is transported on lorries around the country), or that i dont buy any clothes (since clothes are transported around the country to retailers by road of course), or that i dont use any modern appliances (since modern appliances are all taken around the country by road of course), or that i never buy any drinks or food from a pub (since pub grub is, yep youve guessed it, brought in by lorry), or indeed that i dont buy any goods from my local newsagents (yep, once again youve guessed it – their deliveries all come from vans using the ROAD!)

    Of course, i could go on and list hundreds more examples of everyday things that we ALL rely on ROADS and vehicles for.

    It seems to me that CM are only interested in protesting against people who are using cars when it is CONVENIENT for CM members to protest (i.e. when they are not personally, yet indirectly, benefitting from the road system!) Not when they go into the newsagent in the morning to pick up their newspaper (delivered by a van, or lorry driver, of course!) If CM members were to completely and TOTALLY change their WHOLE lifestyles so that they didnt rely on the road systems AT ALL, then i would understand their point of view. But no, ive yet to meet any of them who have done that! They all have their jolly cycle ride, inconveniencing people who just happen to be using the road system at that moment in time, and then where do most of them go? Down the pub to drink the drink that was lorried in by ROAD!

    If you truly want to get rid off all cars and lorries etc that use the roads, then you have to go right back to basics. The fact is that there are too many people being born these days, and the only way to service all of those people is with the use of a road strutcture and transportation. For example, how would you get your disabled mother to hospital for a life-saving op? Chuck her on the back of your bike? Its rediculous. Only when the world cuts back big time on the amount of people being born, and therefore needing to be looked after and catered for, can we ever seriously consider getting rid of cars, lorries, trucks etc.

    Until then, please do everybody a favor and stop holding everybody up only when it personally suits you, cos its extremely hypocritical.

    • Mark 16/10/2011 at 10:15 pm #

      interesting rant lol

      i would love to see this debate discussed more fully

    • MCRcycling 01/11/2011 at 1:11 pm #

      Interesting to equate road freight and the single-occupant personal motor vehicles which comprise the overwhelming vast majority of motor traffic, and which add to the inefficiency of road freight. Of course, road freight of part of the problems we have on the road network, the vast majority of it should be easier to transport more cheaply by rail, but it isn’t because we build roads designed for lots of fast motor traffic using money raised by general taxation, where the cost of rail freight is more fairly put on the companies moving the freight. If CM makes road freight that bit less competitive, it’s a bonus in my book.

      As for the people in private single-occupant motor vehicles, they’re already holding each other up every day more than CM ever could. Perhaps directing some rage towards the daily motorcar CM might be more productive.

    • Jozudave 01/11/2011 at 1:28 pm #

      I’ve not attended a Critical Mass event before but I don’t think their aim is neccessarily to banish all vehicles from the road forever. As you can see from a London CM website, everyone has their own reasons for joining: http://www.criticalmasslondon.org.uk/main.html

      I personally think it should be used to highlight safety for cyclists as well as simply being a fun celebration of cycling. And it’s not just cyclists who join it either.

      It is certainly temporarily inconvenient (for about ten mins in any given section of the route chosen, once a month) but in my opinion a lot less inconvenient than say, getting stuck in traffic when a football match is on (usually about 1-2hrs worth of disruption, weekly, all across the UK) or the inconvenience of people constantly parking in cycle lanes.

      What you’re attempting to do is conflate different issues together to prove your point (i.e. that anyone who attends CM is a hyopcrite and wants the world to go backwards ten steps). A bit like the negative press given to the current Occupy London protests which certainly do have a fringe element of anti-capitalists, but is mainly a demonstration against inequalities and injustice in our system rather than a plea to dismantle our entire way of life.

  10. Bhav 11/02/2014 at 9:03 pm #

    If safety is of prime concern, consider this:
    BLAZE LASERLIGHT!

    Just received their first production unit after backing the kickstarter project. Amazing unit, think Apple quality, fully waterproof and a laser that projects an image of a bike onto the ground ahead of you that warns others you are coming!

    Genius for my commutes in London!

    Check out my review here: http://youtu.be/EDLxZwR2GI8

    (Not for weight weenies!)

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