It's easy to understand why people are put off commuting by bike in Winter. For starters the weather is more than a little unpredictable. But for those who do battle through the odd bad day and persevere with year-round commuting by bike are generously rewarded.
It not only saves you money on transport and gives you freedom to go wherever you like, it’s also one of the easiest ways to get fit. You are also one of the lucky few to make the most of those crisp, bright winter days, incredible sunsets and big bold full moons that are easily missed during the colder months.
So what better way to start the New Year than to get on the bike and cycle to work?!
If you've been thinking about commuting to work for a while, we’re here to help and have put together all the information you need to know, from what bike to choose, which kit to buy and what important things to consider when on the roads.
So come on, let us show you how to start commuting by bike and how to make your commute as safe, dry and comfortable as possible! We promise you will not regret a winter of commuting by bike!
Choosing the right bike
If you are planning on using a bike you have already, it is imperative you give it the once over to make sure it is in tip top shape, especially if it has been living at the back of the garage for quite a while! You can do a couple of essential checks and tweaks at home but if your bike maintenance skills are not up to much, it might be a better bet to bring it down to your local shop.
If you have decided to invest in a new bike, be sure to check out the Cycle Scheme. It gives you the chance to get a bike tax-free, with 42% off any type of bike and necessary accessories up to the value of £1,000.
There are plenty of bikes you can choose from for your commute, you just need to find the right one for you. Take a look at these options which should get you to grips with what bike's best for what type of riding:
Now you've decided on what bike you think is right for you, you now need to have a hunt around for the right model...
- If you like the sound off the folding bike to you from A to B, take a look at our folding bike buyer's guides, for both the Under £500 and Under £1000 price points.
- If the hybrid sounds more up your street then the best place to start is to take a look at our best urban bikes for Under £500 and Under £1000 to see if any take your fancy. And if you're looking to find the best pedals for commuting on your hybrid, we've got you covered here.
- So, the Classic/Dutch style bike took your fancy. Check here for the lowdown on some of the most wanted dutch bikes and if you're not wanting to break the bank, take a browse at the Under £500 models.
- The road bike is what you've chosen to get to start commuting by bike. Take a look at the best models you can get for Under £1000 and for something cheaper there are some great buys to be found in our Under £500 bracket.
And if you haven't spoted anything in your price bracket here, our 10 Commuter Bikes Under £300 make take you by surprise.
Getting your clothing right
Clothing is the key to comfort on the bike. A lot of cyclists chose to cycle in the ordinary sports clothes which is totally fine but if you want the all-time perfect commute, listen up!
The Practical Commuter:
One of the most important items of clothing to keep you nice and warm and dry is a commuter jacket. Choosing a waterproof jacket is your best bet, but making sure it's also reflective is key. They don't need to be specifically made for commuting, a good road cycling jacket will also do the job just fine.
[related_articles] Investing in a good jersey is also a smart idea when you start commuting by bike, we've got both cheap and the very best winter jerseys covered for you. Then there's your downtstairs, finding the perfect padded tights is essential. Take your pick from either 10 of the Best: Three Quarter Length Tights or 10 Of The Best Winter Tights to keep you nice and snug throughout your journey.
If you're unsure of what to wear on your feet for your commute, check out our guide to the best city cycling shoes. And don't forget to invest in some overshoes to keep your toes dry and toasty on those extra-cold days.
Accessory wise, a helmet, lock and bag is all you will need when you first start commuting by bike (you'll soon be hooked on buying new accessories for your ride all the time, just like the rest of us).
The Stylish Commuter
If you're looking to commute in style, you've come to the right place. We've hunted far and wide to get you to grips with the most stylish bike wear for urban commuters to get heads turning with every pedal stroke you take:
- The Best Women’s Specific Cycling Jeans
- 8 of the Best Alternative Commuter Jackets
- 7 of the Most Stylish Casual Winter Cycling Jackets for Women
- 8 of the Best Trousers for Commuting on your Bike
Staying bright on the bike
The key to staying safe is to stay seen on the bike. Investing in a reflective commuter jacket is a great idea, as it's something you can pop on over all your clothing which will also shield you from the inevitable British weather. We tested seven of the best reflective jackets on the market, so take a look and see which one suits you best.
Popping on a high vis back pack or backpack cover is great for heightening your visibility from the back, but if you're looking for fun and stylish options, these will help:
- Fashionable Reflective Leggings for on the Bike
- Reflective Cycling Accessories to Rock your Ride
- Be Sure to be Seen: The Most Stylish Reflective Clothing
- 10 Fun Alternatives to Builder Style High Vis Vests
Reflectives on their own are not enough though so be sure not to forget about a good set of bike lights:
Hints and tips
Now you're all geared up and ready for your ride, there are a few things to consider to make sure your commute is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Preparing your bike for winter is a good step to take to ensure your bike has good grip on the road and that your back stays mud spray free when the wet weather strikes. Something else to consider is how confident you feel cycling on the roads, so if you feel a bit weary of it, then check out our Top Tips for Cycling in Traffic for advice on how to plan your route and avoid the busiest road areas.
And last but not least, brush up on our 8 Essential Tips for a Safe Cycle to Work before heading out. These are great pointers for you on the road and will help to prepare or refresh your memory on the simple things to remember during your commute.
Check out Unbound's 5 dos and don'ts of city cycling here.