A bike is just one of the things you can get with your Cyclescheme certificate. You can choose accessories as well – or accessories only. Maybe you already had a bike, or perhaps you got one through Cyclescheme last year?
Accessories-only packages work the same way as packages with bikes. The difference is that the package value must be at least £100. And as with bike-and-accessory packages, all items must come from the same retailer, whether the retailer is online or on the high street
‘Accessories’ doesn’t just mean items such as lights, luggage, locks, and mudguards. It also includes cycle clothing, tools, and components such as drivetrain parts and tyres. If it’ll help keep your commuter bike’s wheels turning, the chances are you can include it. With the autumn and winter ahead, it’s time to invest in equipment you might have done without during the summer.
While the clocks don’t go back until the last Sunday in October, the nights are drawing in. Front and rear lights are a legal requirement when you cycle on a public highway after dusk (or before dawn). Rechargeable lights are more expensive to buy but quickly pay for themselves when you’re commuting. You’ll want 300-400 lumens or more to light your way on dark lanes, while 100 or so is enough for a front light to be seen under streetlights. Multiple lighting modes adds versatility.
Featured Item: Lezyne Macro Drive 1100XL/Micro Drive 180 set
Cyclescheme Price: £82.50*
Whenever the roads are wet, as they increasingly are in autumn, dirty water will be sprayed over you and your bike by the wheels. Mudguards are essential to keep clean and dry. Full length guards that attach to the frame with metal stays are the most effective, but not all bikes have the tyre clearance and frame eyelets required to fit them. For road bikes, however, it’s an issue that manufacturers such as SKS have solved reasonably well.
Featured Item: SKS Raceblade Long
Cyclescheme Price: £41.24*
The windchill from cycling, especially when it’s wet, means you’ll need full-finger gloves long before you would when walking. Mittens and two-finger ‘lobster’ gloves are warmest in deep winter but lack dexterity and may struggle with gear levers, zips, etc. Whatever style and level of insulation you choose, look for wind and rain resistance, plus reflectivity so your hand signals stand out at night. Some thinner gloves are designed so you can still operate touchscreens.
Featured Item: Gore Wear C3 Urban Gloves
Cyclescheme Price: £26.24*
Perhaps the most important item in the cycle commuter’s wardrobe, a breathable, waterproof cycling jacket will keep out rain and windchill without making you sweat buckets. Make sure it’s described as waterproof and not just showerproof, with sealed seams and a hydrostatic head rating of 5,000mm or more. To keep out the elements and not flap about, you want close-cut style with adjustable cuffs, hem, and neck. Bright colours and reflective chevrons help you be seen at night or on gloomy days. If you commute in normal clothes, you’ll want waterproof trousers too.
Featured Item: Endura Luminite II Jacket
Cyclescheme Price: £74.99*
In summer, any bag that accommodates your commuting essentials will do. For year-round riding, it’s much less hassle to protect your laptop/work shirt/sandwiches from the rain by using luggage that’s waterproof in itself rather than stuffing things in plastic bags. If you’ve got a rear rack, panniers take the weight off your back. Backpacks and messenger bags work fine for shorter journeys, however. Make sure there’s an auxiliary chest or waist strap to stabilise the bag while pedalling. Look for wide shoulder straps, padding on the back of the bag, and rugged construction.
Featured Item: Ortlieb Velocity
Cyclescheme Price: £54.74*
Puncture resistant tyres
Punctures are more common in the autumn and winter. Rain washes more detritus onto the roads, farmers are free to cut their thorny hedges (they’re not allowed to between 1 March and 1 September), and water lubricates your bike’s tyres so that sharp objects penetrate more easily. The toughest air-filled tyres have a thick layer of springy rubber under the thread and have the word ‘plus’ in their model name. But don’t confuse them with extra wide (rather than extra thick) road or mountain bike tyres, which are known generically as ‘plus tyres’.
Featured Item: Schwalbe Marathon Plus
RRP: £41.49 each
Cyclescheme Price: £31.18*
Bike cleaning kit
Even with mudguards, your bike will get dirty over the autumn and winter. By periodically cleaning and lubricating it, you’ll minimise the likelihood of mechanical problems and make them easier and less messy to deal with when they occur. Pay special attention to the chain and the rest of the drivetrain.
Featured Item: Muc-Off Ultimate Bicycle Care Kit
Cyclescheme Price: £48.74*
* Based on minimum savings of 25% inc End of Hire - many save more. Check your personal savings here.
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