Many of us are rediscovering our childhood passion for cycling during lockdown.
Riding a bike is a great way to stay active, look after your mental health and make every-day journeys. Now more than ever, cycling has become a preferred mode of transport. Quieter roads, combined with enforced time at home mean that cycling is up by 70% in some areas, according to the UK government.
Local cycling is helping people fall in love with their towns and cities again. The ease and speed of wheels (combined with less traffic) means many of us have discovered a new found love for our surrounding areas. Plus the saying you never forget how to ride a bike is certainly true – and it has its health benefits!
Since the lockdown began, bicycle manufacturers and shops across the UK have reported a boom in demand, and many expect a further increase in sales as people consider resuming journeys to work when restrictions ease. Brompton, the UK’s largest bike manufacturer, producing almost 50,000 folding cycles a year, has seen a fivefold increase in online sales since the start of April, and Halfords has reported a “strong performance” and a 23% increase in share price.
But you don’t have to be a Tour de France fanatic to get on your bike. We know not everyone wants to don lycra or invest in expensive gadgets so we’ll leave that to the cycling experts.
However if you want to dust off your pedals and achieve that sense of freedom you felt as a kid all, you really need is some simple gear to make your journey more comfortable – and don’t forget stylish.
Here’s our pick of the best (non pro) cycling gear
Herschel's pretty polka dots are the perfect blend of retro mixed with modern design. Fully lined, with adjustable padded straps and a handy padded 15" laptop sleeve, this brand is well known for its quality and ability to last. They might be a little on the pricey side but its worth noting they have a limited Lifetime Warranty. Available in seven other colours.
Dashel make some of the most stylish headgear and this new helmet comes in four colours, including this pretty sage green. It’s slim and lightweight with 5 air vents. Dashel’s signature air vents wick away sweat and are machine washable. Made in the UK.
It’s hard not to feel like Dorothy or Audrey Hepburn when cycling with a basket, but that’s not a bad thing! We love the retro feel of a wicker basket. This one comes with a quick release bracket for easy removal so perfect for those grocery shops.
Panniers are great for carrying a larger load without needing a bag. These stylish Bretton striped beauties are made from water repellent polyester and have reflective strips at the side to keep you visible. Perfect for grocery shopping, picnics or commuting. Note you’ll need to fit a pannier rack if your bike doesn’t already have one.
Make yourself heard or just annoy your socially distanced partner with your ting-a-ling-ling! These guys do a lovely range of retro printed bells.
If you have a rucksack and don’t want to wear a high vis vest, these are a great option for safety, plus its waterproof so ideal for commuting. Packing down to roughly the size of a tennis ball it comes with its own tiny pouch for easy storage.
Ride your steam out into nature with this leather bike cup holder. The perfect gift to yourself, or a coffee loving loved one.
If you don’t want to splash your cash this stylish canvas backpack is perfect for short trips and has adjustable straps for comfort.
You might not be ready for cycling shorts but leggings are a great option if you’re using your bike to exercise. This stylish pair have a side pocket and are stretchy, breathable, quick-drying.
Don’t want to be caught out with a forgotten code or lost keys? Master Lock's new heavy-duty padlock can be set with up to 10 fingerprints.
Perfect for our unpredictable British weather, this lightweight poncho will fold up small and will keep you dry in light rain.
Many cycling bottles are made from plastic but we advise avoiding cheap harmful plastics and investing in a cool stainless steel option. Plus, it keeps your drink colder for longer! With a straw quench cap and scratch resistant powder coated finish this is the perfect cycling refreshment.
One thing is for sure, you’ll need a lot of liquid in this heat. If you want to avoid a heavy bag, a bottle holder is a great option. This lightweight version comes in six cool colours.
More style, less fuss! This Dutch manufactured city bike has been deliberately designed for everyday use and not overburdened with complicated parts. Glide down the roads in comfort on a lighter weight frame and choice of three colours. Perfect for riders between 1.55-1.85m.
Another strong contender in the helmet style stakes Bern’s women’s summer helmet has a chic fabric visor. Super lightweight with a crank fit liner to give a customizable fit. Also available in teal and black.
Hats and wind don’t blend, which is why pro’s wear a cap. Kandesent designs cycling performance wear cut for women, check out their stylish range of cycling tops and foam padded shorts if you're after some quality high tech gear.
Pimp your ride with this cute water repellent seat cover.
We're all familiar with saddlebags, but perhaps not this type! If you don’t want panniers but need a little chic storage then a saddlebag is for you. Beautifully hand made this one's perfect for keeping small essentials such as your phone, wallet and keys. Available in tan and black and can be personalised for that little extra touch.
If you’re planning to commute on your bike then a hardier poncho will be needed. This highly waterproof style has a waistband to prevent it from flapping up in the wind, straps to fit onto handlebars so legs are protected and an adjustable peaked hood. With high-vis piping and two reflective panels its ideal for safety too. With a handy long strap storage bag, they really have thought of everything!
This handy pocket sized sunscreen has 5* customer reviews and is perfect for on the go.
Suitable for all skin types, this mineral sunscreen is incredibly easy to re-apply without having to touch your face and offers fast, effective UV protection.