By Hannah Hughes published
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 Polka dot retreat backpack
£80, Herschel at John Lewis 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 Urban Cycle Helmet Sage Green
£79, dashel.co.uk 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.
New Loox Blue Stripe double pannier
£39.99, cyclechic.co.uk 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.
Urban Proof Retro Bicycle Bell
£8.99, Urban Proof at amazon.co.uk 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.
Kikkerland Leather bikecup holder
£9.99, Kikkerland at cyclechic.co.uk Ride your steam out into nature with this leather bike cup holder. The perfect gift to yourself, or a coffee loving loved one.
H&M Backpack with a flap
£24.99, H&M If you don’t want to splash your cash this stylish canvas backpack is perfect for short trips and has adjustable straps for comfort.
Goodmove Medium Impact Printed Sports Bra
£15, sizes 6-18, M&S Don’t forget that even leisure cycling is a sport so you’ll need to provide adequate support for your breasts. Depending on your size you’ll need a supportive sports bra for those bumps in the road. This non-padded medium impact will do us nicely.
Master Lock Weatherproof heavy duty biometric padlock
£129, Master Lock at Amazon 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.
Joules Poncho Showerproof Cover Up
£14.95 (was £24.95), Joules Perfect for our unpredictable British weather, this lightweight poncho will fold up small and will keep you dry in light rain.
LifeLine Bottle Cage Alloy
£4.99, chainreactioncycles.com 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.
Ortler Detroit women's candy red bike
£259 (was £307.99) bikester.co.uk 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.
Bern Brentwood 2.0 Helmet
£55.99 (was £74.99) Bern at tweekcycles.com 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.
Kandesent Sun Cap Feather print
£30, kandesent.com 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.
Vida Vida Leather bike saddle bag
£35, vidavida.co.uk 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.
Navy waterproof cycling poncho
£65, thepeoples.co 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!
Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Translucent
£34, Brush on Block® 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.
Hannah Hughes is Group Fashion Editor at Future Publishing. Her work appears in woman&home, Woman, Woman's Own, and Woman's Weekly magazines.
She is a fashion creative with over fifteen years of solid experience in editorial, commercial, and celebrity styling. She has an in-depth knowledge of the luxury, mid and high-street fashion sectors, which she developed over a decade spent as Fashion Director at some of the UK's most widely read women's magazines, including You Magazine and Look Magazine.
When she's not styling fashion shoots or pulling together shopping edits, Hannah is a caravan-loving hippy who's trying to hit the road as much as possible, while juggling the demands of being an eco-conscious mum.
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