Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting out, this is what we recommend you buy to make sure you’re safe and ready for anything.
The benefit of having a folding bike is the ability to take it anywhere but sometimes you’ll need to lock it up. Folded up and in the suitcase storage on a train, outside a shop that won’t let you take it in etc. So make sure you get a lock if you plan on going anywhere that might involve you leaving the bike. I recommend steering away from the numerical locks, because they’re actually easy to break into. (Nothing better than the face of someone who’s brought their bike in and has witnessed you break into their numerical lock) I’m not going to go into why they can be broken into, don’t want to give people ideas but I believe padlock/keys are the way forward. As for the cable itself, avoid anything that isn’t more than 10mm thick. They’re ridiculously easy to cut through when they’re that thin. A chain can also work, but be sure to factor in its weight, and that its got some sort of covering/coating to avoid scratching your paint. I recommend folding the bike up and locking it through the wheels and frame, meaning they can’t remove parts to slip the lock off. Onguard and Kryptonite are regarded as some of the best bike lock brands out there.
Lights are absolutely essential items to have on your bike. Even if you never really plan on riding in the dark, you’re only a foggy day away from a near miss or a fatal collision. Now you can go cheap here in battery powered ones if you think you’ll never really need them. However, if you intend to commute or ride late/early, invest in the best set you can. USB charged is the way to go now, meaning you can charge them at work, and you get better brightness as a result. Aim for 250 lumens or more up front, this will give a beam that can light up the path ahead of you. The higher the number, the brighter it gets. Avoid the cheap ones from eBay where it’s offering 10000 lumens for a tenner with some big clumsy battery pack. They can and have been known to set on fire whilst charging. Pick a branded name such as Serfas, Cateye, RSP, Lezyne, Moon etc. If you’re buying a decent front light, normally they come in packs with a decent rear light too. Try to pick one of these packs up if your budget allows, it means you get a decent rear that matches the front. Now rear lights, I’m gonna say it – if a driver pulls up next to you and calls you a tosser, your lights bright enough. (yes, this has happened….multiple times) so bare this in mind. Some rear lights can be adjusted like the front so you can avoid dazzling drivers if you’re riding on the roads. Same with the front light, show some courtesy and keep it pointed towards the road.
Now in the UK, its not law to wear a helmet. I know in a few countries it is, however. You should definitely have a skid-lid on your bonce, end of. No one looks stupid wearing one, in fact its painfully obvious to cyclists like myself when you don’t wear one. They’ve saved me a cracked skull in the middle of winter a few times (icy paths are not forgiving) and saved thousands of lives across the world. Even a cheap helmet has to meet certain requirements so you don’t have to break the bank for one. Here’s an example of a helmet doing its job and saving someone’s life –
4. Pannier Racks & Bags
Nothing has been used more on my Tern than the rear rack. Everyday, commuting to work it’s had a pannier or two on. Change of dry clothes in the rainy season, my footy gear for 5-a-side after work, my lunch, work laptop etc. I’ve carried a whole camping trip in pannier bags. Some bikes come with a rack as standard, others you may have to purchase one. But trust me, you’ll never regret having one.
Ever had a bolt come loose on you? It ain’t pleasant, especially if that bolt is holding your handlebars in place. Being able to make minor repairs at the road side means not having to spend cash on a taxi/bus home. Win-win.
And there you have it, 5 essential items you should purchase for your bike. I hope this comes in use and most of all, stay safe.