Top gear to keep you safe, warm and dry on your bike
Don't let the cold temperatures and dark mornings put you off cycling to work. These great accessories will see you through your journey, come rain or shine
With a new year upon us, our roads are about to get busier with keen cyclists who are resolving to get on two wheels in 2018. If two of your big resolutions for the coming months involve saving money and getting fitter, it's probably dawned on you that you can kill two birds with one stone.
It's no secret that cycling your commute has numerous benefits. It will put some petrol money in your pocket, help you to shed pounds and you'll arrive at work feeling energetic, fresh and prepared for the day ahead.
So, what could be the downside? Well, there's the small matter of freezing temperatures, dark mornings and constant drizzle here in Northern Ireland.
But don't fear. Finding the motivation to take to the saddle could be all down to investing in some hardy new kit that will keep you warm, dry and safe during the winter months.
Here are a few essential accessories to invest in...
Beeline Smart Compass
You'll have no more wrong turns with this minimal sat nav, which sits on your handlebars and discreetly points you towards your destination. Simple and fuss-free, the mounted device works like a compass, using a single arrow to navigate your way. Never again will you ruin your ride by having to stop and fiddle around with Google Maps on your smartphone.
Brooks Pickwick Backpack
Who said a cycling bag couldn't be a thing of beauty? This canvas roll-top looks as good as it feels to wear, with 13 litres of space inside and a chest strap to keep everything in place. Handily, it's made out of a sturdy water-resistant cotton that will keep electronics dry during showers. Brooks have been in the business of making bags since the 1880s, so it's no surprise that their urban-inspired Pickwick bag is already strapped to the backs of many city cyclists.
Bell Stratus Road Helmet
With so many cycling helmets on the market, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. This one from Bell Stratus offers affordable, aerodynamic protection to the amateur cyclist. It's super lightweight, with an 'Overblow Ventilation' system that pulls cool air through the front and pushes it through an air-channel matrix, reducing overheating and limiting dreaded 'helmet hair'.
From £44.99, wiggle.com
Sportful R&D Light Jacket
One of the problems with winter cycling is that you never quite know how the weather is going to act. This long-sleeved jersey from Sportful has all your bases covered. It's warm enough to keep you toasty in ice-cold temperatures, while still retaining an element of breathability to stop you from overheating.
Abus Granit Extreme 59 Lock
You've invested in an expensive road bike; now you need to keep it safe. This hulking number is one of the toughest locks you'll find, with an amour of hardened steel and a key mechanism that offers one million key variations to thwart any attempts at picking.
As well as lighting up the road in front of you with a brilliantly blinding 300 lumen LED light, the blaze laserlight has a smart function that sets it apart. Cleverly, it beams out a laser image of a bike onto the road, making you visible in blind spots, junctions and situations where you're otherwise unseen.