To keep yourself and your bike safe, secure and legal, there are some essential accessories that you’ll need.
You can carry quite heavy loads when cycling – whether it’s your shopping or just a change of clothes, you need to find the set-up that works best for you.
- You must have working lights on your bike if you’re cycling in the dark – it’s the law. A white front light and a red rear light – a flashing front light is allowed, but a steady light is recommended.
- Most lights are easily detachable, so remove them when you leave your bike
- A bell is an important safety item for signalling to pedestrians and other cyclists. Horns are also available – but they’re much louder, so it’s advised you use them sparingly and only in busy urban areas, not on quiet countryside routes.
- It’s worth investing in a good lock (or two) for your bike.
- Cable lock, padlock and chain, and rigid metal D-lock are the main types – often used in combination. Find out the most effective way to lock up your bike on our Bike Security page (the video is definitely worth a watch!)
- Keeping your tyres pumped up to the specified pressure makes cycling much easier; your bike handles better and you’re less likely to get a puncture.
- There are two widths of tyre valve, make sure you get a pump that fits.
Puncture repair kit
- Best to be prepared! It’s a small kit containing all you need to mend a puncture, available from any bike shop.
- A red rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors are a legal requirement, but these are usually pre-fitted to your bike by the manufacturer.
- To increase your visibility in the dark and in heavy traffic, you can add a white reflector on the front and spoke reflectors on the wheels.
- Being highly visible to other road users is the best way to stay safe, so check out our essential advice on reflective clothing.
Rucksacks & bum bags
- Ideal for carrying small loads – a bum bag can hold a few essentials, and a small rucksack is fine for a change of clothes, but can make you feel hot or a little restricted.
Bar bags & pouches
- Fitted on to the handlebars or underneath the saddle, they’re useful to carry smaller things like maps, money and tools. Make sure they’re detachable, so you can take them with you when you leave your bike
Racks & panniers
- These are best for carrying heavier loads, like your shopping. Panniers are specially-designed bags that fit onto a cycle rack, usually over your rear wheel.
- Front racks and panniers are also available, useful if you have a child seat on the back. Touring cyclists often have both front and rear panniers.
For longer journeys
- Cycling is thirsty work! Avoid getting dehydrated by fitting a bottle carrier to your bike frame. They don’t cost much and usually hold a 1-litre squash bottle.
Map & guides/ smartphone
- There are some great free apps around for maps and cycle routes, so a smartphone is very useful. However in case of poor coverage or no battery, a paper map or guide makes a good backup.
- Cycling is high-energy exercise, so you’ll need to take a snack or two with you on a long ride.
- Remember to take an extra layer of clothing with you, as your temperature may drop rapidly when you stop for a break.