As cycling to work has become more popular in the past decade, biking gear is getting slicker and more stylish. After contending with almost every possible combination of weather that a British summer can throw at us – from clammy heat to pouring rain – we’ve rounded up the gear that will see you safely to the office without compromising on style.
We've chosen this gear with commuting in mind, though most the inclusions will work for any two-wheeled weekend trips.
1. Weathergoods Urban Tote Bicycle Bag: £79.99, Cyclechic
This pannier by newly established Swedish brand Weathergoods is cleverly disguised as a stylish and sturdy handbag. Only the hooks, hidden by a flap, reveal that it is actually designed to be quickly snapped onto the side of a bike. Made with waterproof, faux leather, it is fitted with pockets inside and out, including a cushioned slot for a 15-inch laptop or tablet device. It can be carried using the strong, handles or a detachable shoulder strap. It can carry up to 8kg in total, and sits tight when you are in transit.
2. Protected Species Waterproof City Walker: £165, Protected Species
The smart, laser-cut Walker by Protected Species – a firm founded by women with the dreary UK weather in mind – isn’t bulky and, frankly, ugly, like so many other outdoors jackets. The Walker’s soft fabric is most importantly completely waterproof and windproof, and will keep the top half of the body dry even in the most ferocious rain with the help of its sealed seams. The button at the cuff is used to tie the sleeve tight so rainwater doesn’t travel up your arm as you cycle. Another feature that sets it apart from many other jackets is the flap beneath the front zip which eradicates the need for velcro to keep rain out. As the Walker is cut at the hips and can be tightened with a drawstring, it doesn’t get in the way of pedalling. When the sun is out, the hood can be easily be zipped away into the collar. This jacket comes in both black and white.
3. Morpher Folding Helmet: £117, Morpher Helmet
Few things are more annoying than lugging an enormous helmet about in your bag, particularly if you’re heading out after work. This helmet flattens out into a half-moon shape that can easily be packed into a rucksack or tote bag. It is clipped open on either side of the helmet, and is disassembled with the press of a button. The Morpher, which was crowd-funded after the makers saw statistics showing that the size of the helmet is what puts most people off wearing one, comes with a drawstring bag to protect it on the go. It’s currently available in red, black and white.
4. Adidas Climachill Jersey: £69.95, Adidas
This jersey’s breathable, panels of polyester double-knit and mesh-like fabric makes it less sticky and cloying than regular cycling gear in the heat. On the back, a pocket with a zip can be used for easy access to credit or ID cards. A strip of reflective grip on the back prevents the hem from riding up during longer rides. It’s also ideal for using for longer leisure rides on the weekend.
5. Rapha Women’s Classic Wind Jacket II: £145, Rapha
Made with thin, breathable, water-repellent fabric, this jacket is great for wearing on warmer days in case of a light shower. The elasticated sleeves ensure the arms stay put when riding at speed and keep out the rain. Updated from previous designs to make it 30 per cent lighter, it’s easy to ball up and keep in a bag without being cumbersome. Reflective strips on the back and arms ensure the jacket is visible in the dark. It would also work nicely as a windbreaker when running or walking.
6. Lock-Chain Combination IVEN Chain 8210: From £40.11, Amazon
Unlike a D-lock, this chain lock easily snakes through bike stands and can be looped around the bike seat post while travelling. The chain, by trusted cycling brand Abus, is covered in a durable, soft mesh sleeve meaning it doesn’t scratch bike paintwork. The 8mm links which make up the chain protect against theft, and the lock is built to protect against picking.
7. Deuter Superbike 18 Exp Rucksack: £69.99, Evans Cycles
This backpack is equipped for almost every eventuality when commuting or during excursions on the weekend. It is made of a water-resistant, nylon weave which stands up to the elements. What sets it apart are the numerous pockets and extras especially designed for cyclists including a section for wet clothes and a fold-out helmet holder and wind vest. A padded metal frame in the back keeps the bag and its contents in place when riding, and creates an airflow to prevent sweating.
8. Jack Wolfskin Gravity Flex Tights: £100, Jack Wolfskin
Ideal for all sorts of outdoor activities including running, these trousers are particularly nifty for summer and spring commuting thanks to the water-resistant material on the front, stretchy back, which are both odour-resistant. Fitting snuggly to the body, these tights stay put while cycling but aren’t restrictive. The zips at the bottoms make it easy to slip them on and off without the need to remove shoes.
9. Lezyne Smart Energy: £24.29, Evans Cycles
For anyone using their smartphone as a sat-nav to not only get from A to B, but to C, D and E, a mount is a must. Unlike other mounts, it doesn’t involve fumbling about with a phone case but instead features a see-through case suitable for most phones. It easily and safely fits onto the handlebars with three adjustable Velcro straps. This also protects the phone from the elements. A section beneath the phone is used to store other bits and bobs, from cards to keys.
The Verdict: Women's cycling gear for commuters
Our pick of this lot is the Weathergoods bag. Thanks to its clever design, which disguises its bike clips, this is foremost a beautiful handbag and a pannier second, making it excellent for commuting.
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