9 essential accessories for winter cycling
Battling the elements to cycle in winter can be tough but the right accessories for you and your cycle can make it so much more hassle-free.
Here is our guide to the essential winter cycling accessories that will keep you safe, warm and ensure you have fun on your rides.
5 essential accessories for your cycle
Shorter daylight hours make it more likely you’ll be cycling in the dark so a good set of lights for your cycle are essential.
Lights can cost between a couple of pounds for the very basic ones, through to over £100 for flashier brands. However, you can pick up a decent set that will serve you well for around £5 – £7.
Cycling on wet and muddy roads and paths can lead to getting splattered with unpleasantness flying off your wheels. Protect yourself with a set of mudguards to catch the spray.
You can buy a good set for both front and back wheels for around £10 – £20.
#3 Winter tyres
Surfaces can get slippery in winter. Ensure that your tyres have enough grip to help you stay in control. There are plenty of options to choose from, but you may want to opt for a wider, more puncture-resistant set.
Winter tyres can be reasonably priced, and you can pick up a serviceable set for around £20 – £25 per tyre.
#4 Cleaning kit
Salt and grit can wreak havoc on your chain, brakes and gears so it’s especially important to keep your cycle clean in winter.
You can do this using household cleaning items but if you want to take extra care may want to opt for a dedicated cycle cleaning kit. These retail at about £20 and usually include degreaser, spray lubricant and cleaning tools.
#5 Pannier and saddle bags
Winter journeys take a bit of extra preparation. You might need spare clothing, waterproofs and even sunglasses, depending on the weather. Make carrying additional kit that bit easier with pannier bags to hold larger items and a saddle bag to hold little essentials.
You should easily be able to buy a saddle bag for under £10 and pannier bags for about £15 – £25 each.
4 essential clothing items
#1 Gloves and hand warmers
Cold, numb hands prevent you from maintaining a good grip on your handlebars so gloves are a winter must. If you want maximum protection, go for ones which are wind and/or waterproof. A good quality pair may set you back between £20 – £30 but you will get the use out of them.
Another helpful item is hand warmers to chase away the cold when you stop for a rest or reach your destination. Hand warmers are small packages usually containing sodium acetate, dissolved in water. These can be activated on demand to release heat. Reusable options are available as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative. These tend to cost about £10 for a multipack.
#2 Light base layers
Wearing layers instead of piling on your heaviest jumper will allow you to better control your body temperature when cycling. Start with a light, breathable base layer and build up as needed.
You don’t have to go out and buy dedicated cycling clothing, you may have something suitable already in your wardrobe. Just check the label to ensure your choice isn’t made of cotton as this traps moisture and can leave you clammy.
If you do choose to buy cycling base layers from a retailer, prices start at around £10 per item or less if you can find suitable items in your local charity shop.
A waterproof jacket is essential for surviving a Scottish winter on wheels, but you may also want to consider waterproof trousers to protect your lower half on very wet days.
Quality is key here and when it comes to waterproofs you generally get what you pay for. You will get far more wear out of a good quality piece though, so try to think of it as a long-term investment.
#4 Neck warmer
Scarfs can be dangerous when cycling as they have the potential to get snagged on your cycle. Keep your neck and the lower half of your face warm this winter with a neck warmer or snood instead.
These provide a barrier from the cold winds but are light enough that you can breathe through them if you need to pull them up over your face. The cheapest options for these will do the job just fine and retail for about £6 -£8.
Cycling in the crisp winter air can be a wonderful experience and we hope you follow our advice and get out there to enjoy it.