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What kit do I need to cycle in London?

You don’t need spend much to cycle in London, but here's our guide to the essentials

The Basics

You don’t need a lot of kit to cycle in London and if you are just starting out then you might want to borrow as much as you can to see what is right for you. You can spend a lot of money on bikes, cycling clothes and kit, and there is a lot of good stuff out there, but when starting out there are just a few essentials you will need:

  • A bike
  • Bike lights so you can cycle at night
  • Clothes appropriate for the weather – you do not need any special clothes and your everyday clothes will be fine for most short trips. A waterproof coat, hat and gloves will be are useful, though!
  • A good cycle lock

Make sure your bike is roadworthy before every trip[link to roadworthy page ]. Your bike should fit you and you should be able to put your feet on the ground and reach the brakes. See this video for a quick overview

You do not need any special clothes and your everyday clothes will be fine for most short trips.

If you don’t have your own bike borrow, buy or hire one

If you don’t currently own a bike, you’ll need to buy or hire one. Our membership page lists online and retail shops where you can try and buy bikes. It’s important to get the right size frame, then tweak saddle height, handlebar set-up too. Any good shop should be able to help you do this, so we recommend buying from somewhere you trust and where you’ll be happy taking your bike back for repairs and maintenance later.

Or, if you don’t want to buy, there’s shared hire bikes from eg Santander/TfL or Lime. You’ll need to sign-up to unlock the bike via apps which also show you where the nearest bike is.

Do I need a cycle helmet?

It’s not compulsory to wear a helmet‚ but if you choose to wear one‚ make sure it’s the right size and the strap under the chin is a close comfortable fit.

Do I need to buy special cycling clothes and kit?

There are no laws about what you have to wear to cycle in the UK. Some people choose to wear high visibility clothing. Reflective materials (rather than bright colours) are the most effective at night.

You should wear what you feel comfortable in – there is no need to buy any special kit for short cycle journeys. The main thing to remember is to keep any loose clothing away from the moving parts of the bike in case they get caught. However, it’s advisable to have a waterproof jacket with you‚ given the unpredictable weather. And, for longer rides, many people find shorts with a “chamois” in far more comfy than jeans.

Prevent your bike getting stolen

Bike theft is a real risk in London and you should make sure you lock up your bike securely using good bike locks. See out section on cycle security for more details [link or it is in post grid]