There should be no question when it comes to the necessity of wearing a helmet. Although tragic incidents have shown that in the worst of scenarios and at high velocity, a helmet is not able to save your life, it still serves a purpose in protecting your head. The protection a helmet will offer you is better than nothing. Your helmet should fit securely without being tight and should offer ventilation. Seek advice from your local bike shop.
Racks and panniers
For longer distances, fitting a rack or buying a pannier for your bike is a much better option than carrying a rucksack which can damage your back. Racks with triangulated rear sections tend to be strongest and when fitting the rack, make sure it doesn’t obscure your brakes. Choose a pannier with multiple compartments to organise your belongings and be warned that fabric ones will not keep your things dry when it rains! It is a good idea to opt for one that is completely waterproof.
A compass is less likely to fail you than an electronic device such as a GPS; it can quickly help you to determine if you are heading in the right direction and are useful for when maps are unclear.
Not essential but a good idea, especially if you’re touring for a week or two. These are available to buy, or it is possible to just get a waterproof cover for the maps you may already have.
Communicative device – mobile phone/walkie talkie
Although not essential, a mobile phone or similar is a good idea in case of emergencies. However, do not use it whilst you are on the bike or you could be accused of careless cycling which carries a maximum fine of £1000.
Protective padding might seem like a chore to wear but modern day technology means that you can find softer protection that fits comfortably and can be worn all day. Depending on the level of cycling you choose, you may not need protective padding but it should definitely be considered for the more adventurous of cyclists.
Even if you are not cycling at night time, some form of reflective clothing for yourself and your bike is a must. A cyclist can easily be obscured against background clutter of the shade of trees; hi-vis clothing makes a massive difference to how quickly other road-users notice cyclists.
The way your bike will be most secure is to always have it in sight but for when this is not possible, have a small steel cable and combination lock with you. These cannot be broken without the aid of tools and will greatly minimise the risk of theft. If your bike is very expensive, it is essential to make sure the cost of is covered under your insurance. Our gold level of cover can cover sports equipment up to £600; if your bike exceeds this, then see if it is covered under your household good insurance.
Puncture repair kit
In addition to a trusty pump and a basic puncture repair kit, it is a good idea to take the following items with you. It isn’t possible to cover every eventuality but these will put you in good stead: an allen key set with extension handle, an adjustable spanner, a penknife/swiss tool, a Topeak alien multi tool, plastic cable ties (general repairs), duct tape, a tube of epoxy resin (strong glue) and a handful of safety pins. Your local bike shop should be able to advise you more on these items.
When cycling, you will constantly be exposed to UV rays, even if the sun is not shining through the clouds. Sunburn has the potential to ruin your trip so make sure you apply plenty of sunscren of SPF 30+ 15 to 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Reapply often and don’t forget your lips!
Cycling long distances burns calories so it is important to fuel your body by eating an