Whereas the re-emergence of dark, frosty, bitter and all around grim November and December mornings tends to mark a downturn in the number of cycling commuters; the beginning of the new year welcomes a spike in numbers, as we all try to stick to our new year’s resolutions, at least for a little while. When practical, cycling into work is a highly-recommended alternative to jumping in the car or taking the bus, offering: well-documented health benefits; a frugal aspect, especially with Cycle to Work Schemes; as well as some much-needed TLC for the environment.
So whether you’re looking to support and encourage the efforts of somebody else, or are wanting to make your own journeys more enjoyable, we’ve listed a few ideas which are tailored towards hardy souls who choose to commute by bike.
There are perhaps fewer more demotivating commuter experiences than exiting the office at the end of a long day, only to find an empty space where your ride home used to be. It’s a crushing scene, and a stark reminder why cycling security is so important for those who regularly commute. Striking the balance between practicality and effectiveness can be tough for cyclists travelling to and from work, and whilst we’d all love the option of leaving one of Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chains under our desks or locked to a cycling rack, it’s not always possible.
Leading cycling security brand, Hiplok, are true innovators and in 2011, released the first true wearable bike lock, the Hiplok Original. In the following years, the team has introduced several adaptations of their core idea, including a ‘clip and ride’ system for their wearable D-locks, allowing riders to secure their lock to a belt loop or bag strap.
A winning combination of strength and a lightweight profile makes the Hiplok Lite chain lock such a strong contender, with Hiplok’s trademark wearable design and the introduction of a hi-viz strip making the Hiplok Lite an ideal gift for cycling commuters.
If the sight of icy windshields and wing mirrors isn’t formidable enough, receiving the first blast of frosty air after you step out of the warmth, can definitely lay waste to the best laid schemes to ride into work. Staying toasty in the saddle is all about layers, and keeping the extremities both warm and dry.
Sealskinz need absolutely no introduction, with the brand being the ‘go-to’ for outdoorsmen, and those working outside in inclement conditions. Their products are 100% waterproof, and offer serious protection against the wind, all whilst remaining breathable - an ideal combination for any cyclist in the colder months, especially with the UK’s wonderfully unpredictable climate.
Sealskinz Cold Weather Heated Gloves are uncompromising, and deliver reliable warmth for 5-6-hours per charge, even in extreme conditions to allow you to remain comfortable and active for longer.
Whilst it’s tempting to throw on an old pair of trainers or work boots on the way out the door, a dedicated pair of cycling shoes can make a world of difference to your ride. Cycling footwear is often one of the most underappreciated aspects of cycling apparel, with many casual cyclists going without specialised shoes for years before realising the impact that they can have on both performance & comfort.
Scott’s Sport Crus-R BOA Reflective shoes are an excellent choice when it comes to urban commuting, adding a handy reflective strip to the well-known Crus-R BOA, which are praised for their durability, performance fit and comfort at an entry-level price. Both the Crus-R BOA and Crus-R BOA Reflective are available in both a mens and ladies version.
Equipping a bike with front & rear lights should be thought of as mandatory, whether riding before the sun rises, late at night, or in the midst of thick fog. Where there’s little visibility, be sure that your lights pack enough of a punch to light the way, and that your charge time will allow you to comfortably complete your trip. Knog bike lights are well known within the cycling industry for being outstanding choices for commuters and urban cyclists, and their Blinder MOB X lights put out a massive 200-lumens (front) and 100-lumens (rear), allowing you to be seen from a great distance.
Seeing, or not seeing, a shadowy figure riding in close proximity to other vehicles is always a worry, so as well as protecting yourself and others, you’ll also be winning over other road users and pedestrians, which can only ever be a good thing.