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There are two types of people: those who spontaneously hop on their bike and ride off into the sunset, and those, like me, who prepare for a 30-minute bike ride an hour in advance. Even though I’m not venturing any more than a few miles from home, I, ahem, go the extra mile to ensure I’m equipped with the right gear to enhance both my performance and enjoyment of the ride.

If you’re part of the rising group of folks who’ve purchased a bike since the pandemic began, you’ll want to invest in a few other pieces to ensure the perfect ride. Here, our top picks to prime you for summer’s trendiest mode of transportation.

1. A top-rated helmet

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: You can't put a price on safety. Credit: Giro/LumosYou can't put a price on safety. Credit: Giro/Lumos

This one is obvious: a helmet can make the difference between life or death if you get into an accident. Our staff writer Sara Hendricks rounded up the best helmets you can buy this year, and noted that the Giro Register is best for everyday riders since it features a protection system designed to minimize the amount of head rotation that occurs after a fall, thereby reducing brain damage. Reviewers praise the helmet for how light and breathable it feels to wear for extended periods of time.

If you plan on riding at night, grab a bike helmet like the Lumos Gravity with built-in LED lights you can customize through their app. Boasting 1000 lumens of lighting at eye-level with up to 10 hours of rechargeable battery life, it doesn’t just increase your own visibility, but also that of others on the road. One customer says calls it 'Probably the best cycle helmet I have owned in over 55 years of cycling. Very well made, extremely comfortable, and gives a real feeling of security when worn. As for the lighting system...all I can say is that it is first-rate'.

Get the Giro Register MIPS Helmet from Amazon for £63.06

Get the Lumos Matrix Smart Bike Helmet from Amazon for £219.95

2. A water bottle and a water bottle cage for your bike

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: No need to lose momentum by finding the nearest water fountain. Credit: ProBike / Science In Sport / AmazonNo need to lose momentum by finding the nearest water fountain. Credit: ProBike / Science In Sport / Amazon

If your bike doesn’t have a built-in water bottle cage, installing one is essential for staying hydrated and maintaining your energy levels on long- and short-distance rides. One of Amazon’s top-selling water bottle cages fits most standard exercise water bottles so it’s likely to be the perfect fit for your bike—and your active lifestyle. The cage itself is made with sturdy metal that reviewers say is super easy to install and has enough give for larger bottles if necessary.  

Get the Pro Bike Tool Water Bottle Cage from Amazon for £14.99

Get the Science in Sport Clear Drinks Bottle from Amazon for £3.99

3. Bike shorts

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Credit: Lululemon/BeroyCredit: Lululemon/Beroy

Sure, you can totally rock a floral sundress on your bike with a matching bouquet at your handlebars, but it’s not exactly as aerodynamic an option as bike shorts that hug your body. The bike shorts to wear depend on the kind of ride you’re looking for: a simple pair of form-fitting moisture-wicking bike shorts from brands like Lululemon are fine for running errands, and look chic enough to wear off your bike. You’ll want some seat padding if you’re looking at an extended ride. Amazon’s Beroy bike shorts feature spandex and polyester to both absorb sweat, reduce odours, and optimize range of motion. A three-dimensional gel padding prevents chafing and pressure sores for a smooth ride all around, according to reviewers.

Get the Align Super High Rise Short at Lululemon for £48

Get Beroy Women’s Bike Shorts from Amazon starting at £29.98

4. A bum bag to hold your things

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Always come prepared. Credit: Eastpak / AmazonAlways come prepared. Credit: Eastpak / Amazon

I am such a bum bag truther that I really hope some celebrity wears one to a wedding one day making it “okay” for such occasions. Luckily, I get the most mileage out of mine when I’m riding my bike, so the tabloid announcement can wait. The Eastpak Springer Bum Bag—which has a 4.8-star rating from nearly 5000 reviews—includes an adjustable strap and is available in 34 exciting colours and patterns (many of them light-hued, which is a great way to get drivers and other riders to see you at night). 

Before you scoff at the potential discomfort of wearing an actual kangaroo pouch while you ride, remember my life hack: Go ahead and fill it up to the brim so that you’re forced to engage your core, lift your belly away from your knees, and keep your back straight so as not to squish your belongings. And there you have it—accidental perfect biking posture. For extra style points, wear it around your shoulders like a messenger bag.

Get the Eastpak Springer Bum Bag from Amazon for £16.95

5. Sunglasses

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Protect those peepers. Credit: Oakley/Ray-BanProtect those peepers. Credit: Oakley/Ray-Ban

I used to rely on that visor built into my helmet to protect my eyes from the sun, but the ensuing migraine was enough of an incentive to invest in a protective pair of sunglasses instead. Ever since I started wearing proper cycling glasses, I can devote more energy to staying safe on the road. The Oakley cycling collection includes many great options with features like wraparound lenses to prevent the sun from penetrating the side of your eye, as well as scientist-designed Prizm lens technology to enhance visibility and colour clarity. One reviewer says they “look awesome and perform even better. Very quality feel, firmly remain on your face when cycling at speed and in heavy wind.” Others note zero distracting fogging.

For a more laid-back ride—be it a sunny or overcast day—opt for lightweight sunglasses with 100 per cent UV protection from a trusted brand like Ray-Ban. Their Icon style, which is a welcome alternative to the classic aviator, features nose pads to prevent slipping (which would likely otherwise occur due to all that sweat). Their round shape helps provide additional coverage and customers who typically struggle to find sunglasses that suit their face find these universally flattering.

Get Oakley Sutro Shield Sunglasses from Amazon for £103.25

Get Ray-Ban Icons 50mm Round Metal Sunglasses from Amazon for £80.49

6. An easy-to-attach bike basket

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: It's not a shopping cart, but it'll definitely do. Credit: PedalProIt's not a shopping cart, but it'll definitely do. Credit: PedalPro

I have friends who swear by their bike crates for holding groceries or transporting items that would otherwise be too heavy to carry by hand. Amazon’s best-selling bike crate is detachable, so you can snap it off to bring into the shops, and pop it back on when you’re ready to bring home your purchases. The crate includes a mesh layer to prevent small objects from falling through the base, and measures 25 cm high, 32 cm wide, and 24 cm long. What makes the basket totally worth it is how easy it is to install and remove. Perhaps the most heart-warming benefit to this basket, which has over 350 reviews, is that customers report being able to comfortably fit their dogs in it for extended rides. Best riding buddy ever?

Get PedalPro Metal Mesh Quick Release Bicycle Basket from Amazon for £14.99

7. A sweat-proof sunscreen

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Healthy skin is good skin. Credit: CoolaHealthy skin is good skin. Credit: Coola

At some point, we've all underestimated the power of the sun on an overcast day and deeply regretted it. Fix your aversion to sunscreen by using an option you actually like, be it a scent or texture that works for you. I’ve been going through a healthy rotation of several non-greasy mists that provide even coverage, my favourite being Coola’s organic and fragrance-free take on sunscreen (trending editor Amanda Tarlton notes it’s one of the most popular sunscreen varieties on the market right now and stays put for up to 80 minutes). 

Get Coola Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 Fragrance-Free from Amazon for £22

8. Snacks

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Fuel is your friend. Credit: Primal Pantry/ AmazonFuel is your friend. Credit: Primal Pantry/ Amazon

There’s only one thing that makes me hungrier than fasting on Yom Kippur: bike rides. Since food is fuel, you’ll want to make sure you have something substantial stashed either in your fanny pack or basket. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy, so now’s your chance to cosplay as a triathlete by triumphantly announcing you are “carbo-loading” pre- or mid-ride. I’ve been obsessed with tracking down energizing and satisfying sources of plant-based protein that are high in satisfying carbs, and can safely say Lupii bites made of lupini beans are the most filling option I've tried that's tiny enough to fit in my pocket. For a standard granola bar that you’ll want every day for the rest of your life Primal Pantry Almond Cashew Raw Fruit & Nut Energy Snack Bars, satisfies every sweet tooth without the sugar crash, helping you ride harder, better, faster, stronger.

Get The Primal Pantry Almond Cashew Raw Fruit & Nut Energy Snack Bars, 18 Count from Amazon for £20

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.