Stay safe and comfortable with this winter cycling kit
Hitting the road on your bike in the cold, dark weather? Abi Jackson takes a look at eight must-have items
With the right kit, winter doesn't have to mean an end to your two-wheeled commute or weekend rides - just make sure you're prepared for the weather and, crucially, the dark, as the days draw in.
Here's some of our favourite cycle kit - all ideal for the colder months - to buy right now...
1. Proviz REFLECT360 Men's Performance Cycling Jacket, £99.99 (provizsports.com)
When it comes to reflective outerwear, the Proviz range is hard to beat. New to the line-up this season, this men's performance jacket features the great specs (soft-touch, moisture-wicking mesh lining and superb visibility) you'd expect from previous versions, but now comes in a sporty, slimline fit for improved comfort and reduced drag.
2. Blinkers Blinker Set, €169.99 (approx £151) (blinkers.bike)
Want to take your safety on the road to the next level? These smart lights come complete with indicators that you control via a wireless remote mounted on your handlebars. They also feature automatic break lights, to let road-users behind you know when you're slowing down, plus a circle laser light (to remind drivers to keep a safe distance), and come with 20hr-use rechargeable batteries.
3. Bikehut Backpack Signal, currently reduced to £20 from £25 (Halfords)
Alternatively, this Bikehut indicating lights system attaches to your backpack - simply tie on with the bungee straps supplied, then operate via the wireless handlebar-mounted remote. As well as indicating left and right, you can switch to flashing red light mode, and automatic speed sensors will kick in to trigger a break light function too.
4. Liv Zorya Wind Jacket, £99.99 (liv-cycling.com)
If you're not already acquainted, Liv is the first ever all-female cycling brand, created by women for women - and what this basically means is a range you'll love for its top-notch comfort and aesthetics, as well as all the technical specs you'd hope for. This super-fine Zorya jacket takes up barely no bag space, but does the job of keeping wind chill at bay - and the cosmic-esque print is a joy.
5. Liv Signature Knickers, £129.99 (liv-cycling.com)
For a bit more coverage now the cold weather's arrived, these three-quarter length leggings are worth the investment, with a wide-cut high waistband that sits comfortably in place and luxurious-feel soft touch TransTextura(TM) fabric for just the right mix of breathability and compression. Liv's Procomfor(TM) chamois padding designs don't disappoint, either.
6. Boardman Men's Baselayer, £24 (Halfords)
Layering up is key for cold rides, and if you don't want to spend a fortune, this super-lightweight baselayer helps regulate temperature with quick-drying fabric that's both thermal and breathable.
7. Liv Rev MIPS Women's Road Helmet, £119.99 (liv-cycling.com)
In the market for a new helmet that ticks all those crucial boxes - and looks and fits great? MIPS technology (that stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System) makes this one from Liv an ace choice, with its sleek, streamlined look and 'bacteria-inhibiting' super-wicking padding to help keep sweat drips at bay during strenuous rides. Bonus: Liv's handy head-measurement guide means you can be sure of an ideal fit.
8. Altura Neoprene Gloves, £30 (Halfords)
One of those people who always has cold hands? Invest in a good pair of winter gloves, pronto. This neoprene pair keeps out draughts and, with a suitably thick spongy texture, they're designed to be super warm and comfortable, yet also stretchy, so they shouldn't feel bulky and cumbersome. A silicone print on the palm helps with grip too.