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Commuting Essentials for Beginner Cyclists

Biking For Your Commute to Work? Remember to Grab These Essentials Before You’re Out the Door.

Maybe you read our blog on Why You Should Start Cycling in 2020 and you're ready to hit the ground running - or should that be pedalling? 

If you haven't picked up a bicycle, we recommend heading to your local bike shop. Whilst the main benefit of buying online is the price, a local bike shop will make sure that the type of bike is suitable for you, set you up and will be there when you’ve got questions or need a service. That kind of expertise and advice could save you cash in the long run. Plus, you might make some new friends and you’re helping out your local economy. Win, win, in our books. 

If you're based in the UK, make sure you find out about whether your company offers the Cycle To Work Scheme as you may be entitled to money off your purchase. 

Before you head to the store, you might want to have some idea about what you’re looking for when you first go along. What will you be using the bike for - commuting, or perhaps you might be interested in longer bike rides in the future? What’s your budget? Be realistic and don’t forget that you’ll need to spend a bit on some good quality accessories as well. 

Now you've got your hands on your first bicycle in years - it's time to get pedalling. If  you're based in the UK and you're feeling unsure about heading out on your bike, or you haven't had any experience cycling in the city, check out Bikeability who offer FREE bicycle classes to get you confident on your bike and the streets. 

Not only is cycling to work a great way to save money and get fit but it is also known to increase your happiness level and decrease stress and anxiety. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or just time for a change, get prepared to cycle to work with our list of commuting essentials. 

  1. Bike Lock

If you’re going to be locking your bike up when you get to work a sturdy and reliable lock is an essential. 

From the simple and sturdy U-lock to the high-tech Bluetooth controlled smart locks, it can be hard to know which one to buy. It does depend on the level of security you’re looking for and where you’ll be locking your bike up. The safest way to lock your bike is to use two locks (we know it seems excessive) - using one lock on each wheel, frame and bike rack - using two types of locks. You can combine a chain lock and a u-lock, or a u-lock and a cable. 

A popular example of a bike lock like this would be the Kryptonite KryptoLok Series 2 Integrated Chain Bicycle Lock - we like it because it looks sturdy and is surprisingly flexible. 

Remember to always lock your frame to the bike rack, keep your lock away from the ground (thieves can easily smash locks or use a bolt cutter) and make it difficult to access.  

  1.   Clothing

We all know how to dress appropriately for the weather but there a couple pieces that may slip your mind when you’re starting out on your cycling journey. 

Sunglasses are a great thing to have handy as a cyclist as there’s nothing worse than squinting in the sun when you’re trying to turn - even the winter sun can put you off when navigating the streets - so be sure to check the forecast before heading out. 

Biking gloves are another great accessory to have. In the summer they help your hands to grip and steer the bike, but they are particularly useful in winter. It’s important for your winter biking gloves to allow for maximum grip, are waterproof, and keep your hands warm so that your hands don’t get frostbite on a chilly day.

When you need something to protect your neck and face on cold weather days, it's better to opt for a circular neck warmer rather than a scarf that could easily blow away. If you’re a frequent city commuter, you know how smelly and smog-congested some areas can be. Here at CYCL, we teamed up with engineers and designers to develop the optimal air pollution face and neck guard. This scarf has a nanofiber membrane that filters out 99.9% of air pollutants and a nose clip that keeps the scarf secure to any face shape. Breathe clean and stay warm with this unique cycling scarf.

3. Safety Gear

This may seem obvious, but making sure you have the necessary gear to make it to work safely because it could possibly end up saving your life in the worst-case scenario. You may feel as though you have enough control to not have to wear a helmet when riding to work, but with such a variety of road users about, it's better safe than sorry. If you have nowhere to keep your helmet during work, check out the Morpher Folding Helmet. Fantastic for space saving as it folds down to fit into your backpack but also great if you choose to take a bike sharing option to work. 

4. Lights

A front white light and back red are essentials to have. We recommend detachable ones that are USB-rechargeable, especially if you're leaving your bicycle outside during the day. They can be found online or at your local bike shop. 

Amplify your hand signals and ensure your turning intentions are clear with our range of WingLights, bicycle indicators. WingLights fit into the end of your handlebars and produce a bright flashing light when activated with one touch and can be seen from all angles, at any time of day. The 360 models can act as sidelights for a permanent light function which can make the width of your bicycle visible to other road users. These are especially useful in low light and darkness when you may be less visible to other road users and help avoid close passes. 

5. Water Bottle

When you’re making your commute early in the morning, the only thing on your mind is getting your coffee fix. However, nutritionists have proven that it is much better for your health to drink water before you drink a dehydrating drink like coffee. This is especially true when you’re exercising on your bike. Make it easy to grab your water while on the go with an attachable water bottle holder for your bike. 

6. Smart Watch / Fitness Tracker

This product is not the most important or necessary essential for your ride to work, but if you enjoy a daily sense of self-accomplishment and keep track of your activity, you may want to invest in a fitness band If you’re cycling to work and back every day, a fitness band such as a Fitbit or an Apple Watch will keep track of how far you went, how many calories you burned, and your heart rate throughout the ride. Whether you’re looking to lose some weight or you want to improve your exercise routine in some way, fitness trackers can help you hit those personal goals. 

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