That famous song: “Here comes the sun” by George Harrison seems almost mocking in London when you stare on grey skies and ask yourself: When is summer coming?
As Londoners we love to complain but we also hold a deep optimism. Surely, this year will be better than last?
Aside from your shorts and t-shirt, what other bits should you think about getting hold of for a sunny day’s bike ride?
Let’s start at the obvious. Whether you are a factor 15, 30 or 100 kind of guy, make sure the sunscreen is at the ready. That lobster look is unbecoming and should be avoided.
Whether you use a nifty hydration pack, a sporty bottle or a simple bottle of water bought from the corner shop, make sure you’ve got the H20 ready. A bottle rack is a good addition to your bike and it makes it easier to grab a drink while you are stopped at the traffic light.
Whilst you’ll be looking cool with a pair of Tom Cruise style aviators, they have been known to take a leap when riding too fast over an unseen pothole.
Look for a pair of cycling specific sunglasses like the ones shown above. They’ll fit more comfortably around your nose and ears and they won’t come over no matter how much of a speedy daredevil you are.
The next big area to tackle is storage. We all like to put way too much stuff in our bags so having a good way to store them is important. We’ve reviewed the DHB cyclist backpack in November. Of course there’s no reason to even spend that. There are good bag options from sites such as Brantano.
An alternative option is a good set of panniers. Your back will thank you for it.
Ah, the classic cyclist mistake of being caught out without your pump – lots have done it … not many admit to it! Getting a puncture in the summer is definitely preferable to a winter episode (Rain? Snow? Cold?), but neither are great if you haven’t got a repair kit and pump. If you’re using your bike for the first time in ages, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve enough air in your tyres to make your cycling efficient. There are tons of pumps on the market, Koo Bikes sell all kinds but, in a nutshell, hand pumps are easier to carry but require more work … foot pumps are the reverse.
Fingerless cycling gloves
Full finger cycling gloves get really hot, a nice pair of fingerless gloves will mean a good grip even if your hands are sweaty.
To flip flop or not to flip flop?
Every summer I always go cycling with my flip flops and immediately think I should have worn something a little more appropriate. The problem with flip flops is that it’s easy for your feet to slip and hard for you to push down on the pedals. If you are happy with a slow pace in return for breezy feet then by all means go for the full summery look!
Wine bottle holder
It’s summer. What is greater than the simple pleasure of a bottle of wine, a patch of grass in a London park and a good friend to chat to. These wine bottle holders are designed for just that occasion. Of course, they are far from a necessity, but a quirky accessory none the less.
With sunnier days ahead of us, don’t forget to grab your copy of the London Cycle Routes eBook or app which will guide you to the best cycling routes in London.
What other essentials are you looking forward to bringing out for another summer of cycling in London? Leave a comment below.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.