Gearing up after Cycle to Work day success?

I hope you all enjoyed cycling to work yesterday and feel inspired to make cycle commuting a regular part of your day. If you are thinking about cycling to work on a regular basis, there are some basic items that will make your experience a lot better. Once again we have Chain Reaction to give us a starting nudge in the right direction.

Photograph: Adrian Brown/Gett

Photograph: Adrian Brown/Getty

If reports of frolicking on bikes yesterday have made you wish you took part, you can check out a post from last week on how to clean and prep your bike and which simple maintenance items you might need. Make your very own cycle to work day next week.

Whatever your primary reason for cycling into work is, there are a few things that you need to make the experience better, other than a bike that goes of course! (Check out our tips archive for less material advice as well).

Clothing

As much as we may be in denial about it, the weather is changing. The nights are already drawing in and it’s generally getting a little cooler and wetter. The best way to deal with this is, obviously some kind of jacket. Duh. Sometimes it is best to not break the bank straight away so may we suggest two options, the Endura Flash jacket for women and the Oneten Element jacket for men. They are both pretty lightweight but could see you through autumn and happily into winter if you layer up underneath.

Women's jacket

Mudguards

With changing weather come damp roads and puddles. Mudguards make life better when commuting to work. For those with road bikes, this Crud Road Racer set is perfect. They are pretty easy to put on and dont need any screws so will fit all kinds of skinny-tyred tarmac swallowing beast. It really is nice to not have a wet butt when you get into work. They also help keep your feet a little dryer and cleaner.

Lights

Bike lights are a must for every commuter. London streets are pretty well lit, but if you want something a bit more robust and rechargeable than the Femto’s from out last post, how about this KTV drive set? They are USB rechargeable with a built in plug so you can just pop them in your computer. They have a decent output and can be seen from the side as well. Further, they are really easy to attach to your bike or person, meaning you can put them on and off quickly.

Rack and panniers

Sometimes it is nice to not carry things on your back. Panniers let you do this. For a slightly different take on traditional panniers, Topeak make an expanding pannier that means you can gather things on during the day and still make it home. Of course to add a pannier you need a rack. There are many out there, but it is hard to find one that fits with disc brakes. If you have a bike with disc brakes (great in the rain) then take a look at the Topeak Supertourist DX.

Lock

You will be wanting to ride home again in the evening, and for that you will need you bike to be where you left it. A high-rated, Sold Secure standard lock is what you need, and a cable to make sure the wheels are there as well. We have reviewed many locks in the past, and this Abus one is a worthy contender and a bit of a bargain.

A full bike rack

In addition to the product categories above, it might also be worth looking into cycle training if you are about to embark on a regular cycle commute. I did it a few months ago even though I have been cycling around cities my whole life. It was useful, and free.

There are lots of other products you will end up with, you will probably even have more than one option for each category. We have a lot of product reviews already online, and we will be building this section of the site in the coming months, starting with some clothing reviews and, my favourite, bags! We will also be covering various aspects of cycle maintenance.

What are your product recommendations and tips for people new to cycle commuting? What did you use to survive your first few months and what do you wish people had told you when you started out?

UPDATE!

To make it easier to get the gear of your dreams, Chain Reaction have an offer for our lovely readers: £10 off a £75 spend.

Enter the code ‘LC1’ at your basket and you will receive £10 off a £75 spend

– Limited offer ends 30/09/2015 at 2pm

– UK only

– Orders containing excluded brands are not valid for this promotion: Endura, Cube, Mavic, Gopro, 100%

– Promotion cannot be used to purchase bikes, GPS, gift vouchers.

– General T’s&C’s apply: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/customer-service/terms-conditions

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9 Responses to Gearing up after Cycle to Work day success?

  1. Vincent 04/09/2015 at 11:15 am #

    Suggestions:

    1. Get a rain cape. It’s easy to put on, doesn’t take much space in your bag, and keeps you dry above the thighs. For the lower part, get some waterproof shoes, and possibly a pair of gaiters if you want to be totallly dry from head to toe.

    Good rain capes: Vaude, Fulap, and Carradice. Get a high-visibility model.

    If you’re willing to spend €120/£100 on a rain cape, Nooc makes more stylish items : http://www.nooc.fr

    2. Get a rack, and put your stuff in a clip-on waterproof bag à la Ortlieb:
    http://www.ortlieb.com/en/produkte/radtasche/

    3. Lock. Don’t bother with a cable: Just replace the quick-release skewers on the wheels with antitheft skewers (Zéfal Lock ‘n Roll, Pitlock, etc.), and get a compact U lock to leave as little space between the frame and the lamppost/bike rack.

    http://www.zefal.com
    http://www.pitlock.com
    http://www.atomic22.com
    http://www.pinheadcomponents.com
    http://www.ixow.com
    http://www.vis-antivandale.com
    http://www.sphyke.com
    http://www.deltacycle.com/components/hublox-security-skewers

  2. Ree 04/09/2015 at 4:10 pm #

    I really want sallopettes for bikes to be invented! Soggy knees are not pleasant! Any advice welcomed.Thank you!

    • John 04/09/2015 at 5:02 pm #

      Do you mean just waterproof trousers? Or warm & waterproof? You can get both (loads of the former) and, for the latter try looking at hiking shops.

      Alternatively you can get leg warmers which are good for autumnal cycling & generally keep you warm & dry.

      • Ree 05/09/2015 at 10:15 pm #

        Ooh, sounds good. I’m your classic cold female cyclist, anything that keeps me warm makes me happy! Thanks John!

        Rainlegs sound interesting too, will definitely Google those! Thanks Huey!

  3. Huey 05/09/2015 at 10:54 am #

    Ree, try Rainlegs.

    Mudguards also make it less unpleasant for those following behind.

    Disc brake compatible racks are getting more prevalent, but if you are looking at buying a bike to start up cycling to work, look for one with disc brakes (all-weather consistent braking) with the rear caliper tucked inside the rear triangle of the frame – that way you get the pick of all of the racks and don’t pay a premium for a disc compatible one and the issues that they also come with.

    H.

  4. Linzi Clark 06/09/2015 at 12:09 pm #

    Love the rain jacket featured here – never easy to find something that is waterproof, breathable and stylish, thanks for the tips.

  5. Dave 10/09/2015 at 8:50 pm #

    I try never to leave my bike locked anywhere but if I have to I use a heavy motorcycle covered chain and padlock

  6. Jonathan 14/09/2015 at 8:19 am #

    Love my SLICKS (www.slicks.com) backpack: for the last couple of years, has been my must-have companion for cycling to work. Great to carry & organise your change of clothes (including a full suit!), extra shoes & all your other gear. Includes a handy pop-out rain cover! A new SLICKS EXPANDED version is going to be launched soon, with added ability to carry a shirt crease-free, along with a laundry bag & wash bag – maybe its time to upgrade mine ?

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