We like reviews and gear here at London Cyclist and we tend to review a lot of things that are specifically made for cycling. However, there are many things that can be used whilst riding a bike that do not have that function in mind. Then there are the things that are designed with cycling in mind but can be used in other walks of life too. Then there is regular stuff, like jeans, that can be used pretty much for anything.
Whilst it may come as a shock, dear readers, I have to break it to you that I do not spend all of my time on a bike. Surprising I know. I just recently went on a hiking and camping road trip in the American South West and ended up taking some of the bike orientate things that I have been reviewing recently here and it made me think about all the other little pieces of technical gear that lead multiple lives.
Having things that perform in multiple environments and situations can save you money and space, so I thought it was worth mentioning a couple of the things I have found to be particularly useful in the last few months – note pictures are not of the products in other uses because I don’t take photos of myself on holiday – I reserve that strictly for London!
This hoodie got a mention in our Christmas list at the end of last year. Made by London brand Huez*, the hoodie looks like a standard black hoodie, but it actually packs a bit more of a practical punch. The fabric is a Schoeler softshell, meaning it is highly water repellent and windproof. It also has some reflective material on the hood and the drawcords.
The hoodie is plenty warm enough for keeping an evening chill off. As it blends in so well in a city, it is great for travelling when you want something which keeps the elements off but doesn’t stand out.
It is admittedly not the cheapest jumper out there, but if you think of its multiple uses, you can get so much wear out of it that it ends up being worth it.
We also included this light in our Christmas gift post. It is a bright front light that doubles as a head torch. Therefore, you can use it for any kind of cycling you are doing, but you can also use it as a handy torch around the house or out in the wilds. It will need a head strap if you wish to strap it on, but these are easy to buy. It is very easy to adjust the angle on the move as well, so you never have to worry about the light pointing in the wrong direction.
The seriously bright beam of light is focusable so if you want to flood an area while riding you can, or you can make a concentrated beam. This is also great while camping or hiking. Another great feature for use in the great outdoors is a red led. With this you can see where you are going without damaging your night vision for star gazing, particularly enjoyable given how few stars you can see whilst inside the M25.
A final bonus is that it can run on regular batteries, or the usb rechargeable pack it comes with. This is great if you are venturing off on a trip as you can limit your battery wastage by recharging, but if you are in the wilds and it runs out, then carrying backups is easy.
Messenger bags are of course most comfortable when on a bike. However, they also make great bags for traveling due to their ease of access. The Mission Workshop certainly works well for traveling, especially as the large front zip pocket can fit my laptop so I can get it out easily at a security check point without having to dig through the bag.
As the bag is practically waterproof, there is no risk that my clothes will get damp whilst travelling, either from a downpour or from putting my bag on a wet surface. Speaking of clothes, it easily fits enough for a week of light travelling. It doesn’t stand out as much as a backpack, so it blends into a city better, and I was less likely to hit people when turning round in crowded trains. The only downside is it is a little less comfortable for walking long distances, but if bike hire is in your holiday plans, your quids in.
This is not actually a cycling specific jacket, so it should come as no surprise that it is useful when hiking, travelling and hanging out in town. However, it is a very good layering piece and has everything you would want for whatever level of active exertion you intend to attempt.
As it is so lightweight, it is great for carrying around in a small bag in town, it could even be shoved in a jersey pocket if needed for road cycling endeavours. It blocks most wind and keeps light rain off, but is not too sweaty if layered under a heavier shell. On my recent camping trip this was my go to jacket when temperatures started to drop in the evenings, and it lived in my backpack while hiking. It is now possibly my favourite jacket ever, simply because it is so useful for pretty much everything I do, be it on two legs or two wheels.
A poncho is an awesome thing to keep in your bag for all kinds of wet weather adventuring. The People’s poncho is great for general wear as it is long so offers lots of protection but it packs down into its own little bag. I took mine with me to the States – putting up a tent in the rain with water running into the gap between your jacket and trousers is not fun, I know this from experience.
It is long enough that I don’t have to worry about my legs getting wet and it also goes on over my backpack. This stops the straps getting wet so I don’t get wet shoulders when it stops raining. Finally, it keeps the wind off when sitting around in the evening and can allow you to make a little warmth cocoon! Then, if you do happen to take to a bike you can use it for this too.
What are your favourite multi-use items? Do you have kit that you brought entirely because it could be used for multiple activities? Let everyone know what your favourites are below!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.