Essential accessories for when you start cycling

Mudguards protect you from roadspray and mud in the wet Credit: Adrian Lewis


The bike you choose might come with mudguards, which protect you from spray and mud in the wet (and protect the cyclists behind you too).

These can be added to many bikes afterwards, but some bikes don't have the necessary fixings.

Rucksack, panniers or rack

You might also want to invest in a rack and one or two panniers, which make it easier to carry things around with you.

Lots of people are happy with a backpack, though this can make your back sweat.


It’s not compulsory to wear a helmet to cycle in the UK, but some people choose to.

If you do choose to wear a helmet, be aware that wearing a helmet doesn't prevent collisions. There is much debate about the effectiveness of wearing a helmet; read both sides of the argument here and here.

If you do buy a helmet, it's essential that it's the right size (as well as being comfortable, of course).

Make sure you buy from a shop where the staff can help you get a good fit.

Theft insurance

It’s a good idea to get theft insurance for your bike before you start cycling because theft is a major problem in Greater London.

We've campaigned in recent years to improve the situation: find out more here, and we also offer great deals on theft insurance via our Urban Cycling Insurance.

When you buy from us, remember that you're supporting our campaigning.

It's worth checking first whether your bike is covered under your home contents insurance.

Even if this is the case, read the terms and conditions carefully - it might still be a good idea to get specialist insurances because some home policies don't offer the same features, such as not covering accessories on the bike.

How to lock your bike

Find out more about how not to lock your bike, and how to lock it well.


You don't have to wear cycle-specific clothing, and lots of people ride in stilettos, a suit, or jeans. 

If you ride longer distances, then the benefits of tailored clothing and specialist materials become more obvious as they wick away sweat and help avoid sore patches.

Bright or reflective clothing is a good way to increase visibility, though it's no guarantee that a motorist is more likely to avoid your path.

A waterproof jacket is very useful, and one that packs into small space is more likely to be carried.

Gloves can protect hands, which are exposed to the elements on a bike and vulnerable in the unlikely event you fall off.

Winter gloves are naturally much thicker than summer ones, which are often fingerless.

Our team frequently reviews the latest products on the market - find out more here.