Getting Back On Your Bike: Cycling Essentials Part Three

Words by Jane Bedford McLaren and Jonathan Keenan.
Image by Lucy Sykes.


Now that you have sorted your bike, you need to think about what sort of accessories you will need. As I have said in Part One of this series, you don’t need loads of expensive gear, so this part is pretty short.

These are crucial things you need:

  1. Lights. It is not legal to ride without lights when it is dark. There is no set time when you should have your lights on – as a rule of thumb, if the streetlights are on you should have your lights on. Reflectors come with bikes, but these are not lights. You need a white front light and a red rear light. A bike with a dynamo will usually have lights fitted too.
  2. A good quality bike lock.

Things that might make your life easier:

    1. Mudguardssee Part One of this series!
    2. Handlebar phone mount if you need your phone for navigating.
    3. A bell – or you can use your voice.
    4. Trouser clips to keep your trousers away from the oily drive train. You can just fold them up or tuck them into your socks though!
    5. Bottle cages (these are mounted on the frame) and bottles that fit in the cages.

There is a whole range of innovative cycling gadgets and it is tempting to buy all of the things. I would recommend getting the basics and then riding regularly for a few weeks before getting anything else. It will soon become apparent what additional kit you specifically need.

This piece is aimed at covering the basics. As you progress, you may want to consider adding the following:

  1. Stuff to change an inner tube if you get a puncture – spare inner tubes, tyre levers and a mini pump.
  2. Multi tool so you can make simple adjustments whilst out and about e.g. saddle height.


The current circumstances we find ourselves in are scary and unusual. I find it reassuring in these times to see those helping and supporting others. I thought about what I might be able to offer. As an experienced cyclist seeing loads of new and returning cyclists out and about, I thought I might be able to give some simple tips on making your cycling experience easier and more comfortable. I have collaborated with Jonathan Keenan of Walk Ride Greater Manchester on putting this blog series together.

The main thing to remember is that cycling is a simple pleasure. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. If you have a bike that you like and feel good riding, then read no further!

But if you are wanting some pointers on either improving your cycling experience or are looking to start riding, then I hope this series is helpful.

About the writers:

Jane Bedford McLaren – is solicitor acting for vulnerable road users at Leigh Day and also rides a bike regularly. She cycles to work and likes to ride bikes at the weekend with her local women’s cycling group, Team Glow, of which she is ride leader coordinator. She also gives her time and voice to Walk Ride Chorlton.

Links: Leigh Day website profile / Twitter: @JaneB_M / LinkedIn profile

Jonathan Keenan – is a freelance photographer based in his Northern Quarter studio and living in Chorlton. He’s a secret petrolhead and occasionally drives for work but it makes him very grumpy. He took to cycle touring as a youth, including organising an expedition to cross Iceland long before that was somewhere anyone went. Interest in architecture, regeneration and urbanism came together with his interest in cycling when kids came along and it became obvious how much their independence and freedom was stifled by our car-centric design and planning, so he became an activist for better cities through the medium of cycle infrastructure. He now has an unfortunate inclination to suggest a bike is the solution to any and every social problem. Because it is.

Links: JK Photography website / Instagram (@jkphotography_work) / Instagram (@JonathanKeenan) / Twitter @JonathanKeenan

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