Let it rain

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”

In New Zealand we are fortunate that we can cycle year round.  For most parts of the country, our winter temperatures are reasonable and our weather challenges consist of rain and wind.  Deeper south there are snow days to contend with, but they are the exception rather than the rule.  Elsewhere in the world winter means months of snow and ice, and not seeing grass until spring.

winter cycling in copenhagen by Mikael Colville-Andersen
Afternoon Traffic – Winter in Copenhagen by Mikael Coalville-Andersen

Continue reading “Let it rain”

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Kid Carrying Considerations

Baby seats, trailers, cargo bikes … How to choose between them and find one that really suits you?  As you research your options, consider each in terms of your needs for flexibility, ease of use, safety, parking, and cost.  If you are worried about making the wrong choice, remember there is a strong second hand market, making it easier to sell an item that is unsuitable or outgrown. Continue reading “Kid Carrying Considerations”

Let there be Light: Bike Lights

A good set of lights will have you happily cycling all year round!  Lights vary from tiny little LEDs to powerful rechargeable systems for nighttime off-road riding.  You can even get rear lights with in-built cameras.  In my house the general approach to lights is that more are better!  We prefer a mixture:

  • Little battery powered lights, front and rear, kept on the bike at all times. We use ones that attach via built-in elastic bands
  • Powerful front lights when it is dark or gloomy, with long lasting rechargeable battery packs, enabling us to see as well as be seen.

Remember: White lights to the front.  Red to the rear.  Go for powerful lights but try not to blind anyone!

NZ Consumer (www.consumer.org.nz) have tested bike lights and can recommend some good ones.  Greater Wellington Regional Council also offer some great advice at http://www.gw.govt.nz/be-safe-be-seen/

We found adding lights to kiddie trailers to be a bit tricky and ended up using a LED lit reflective chest strap, designed for runners, attached to the rear handle of the trailer.

What’s in the bag?

One of the interesting thing about having children is that – at least for the early years – each time you leave the house it is like preparing for a space mission.  Spare this, spare that, stuff to make mess, stuff to clean mess, just in case stuff, and absolutely necessary stuff, and importantly, food stuff.  Yep, your days of travelling light are over for a while.  But as they get older you reach the magical age where even the spare undies can be given the boot and you are free to leave the house unladen.

Well almost…. when you leave the house on your bike there are a few essentials you should have with you.  Storing them on your bike will make that effortless.

Minimum Equipment List #1

Here is the minimum that I take for a quick short trip: round the block, to the local playground, dairy (corner shop) etc.

  • Helmet
  • Phone
  • Injury covering device: handkerchief, tissue, bandana, sticking plaster.

Minimum Equipment List #2

These are things I always keep on the bike or always have on or near my person.  If you use your bike for everyday cycling like I do, keeping these items on your bike (or in your pocket) mean you can just pick up your bike and go.

  • Items from list 1: Helmet, Bike, Phone, Injury cover
  • Bicycle Pump
  • Spare tube and/or puncture repair patches
  • Tyre levers

Boy scout (“be prepared”) add-ons

Except for the lock, these items fit into the underseat bag on my bike, and I feel better having them there.  As I use my bike for everyday errands (like dashing to the shops or library), I need to be able to lock it up when I get there.  I hate that sinking feeling of getting to my destination and realising I can’t lock up my bike, which is why I keep the lock on the bike.

  • Bike lock
  • Multi Tool (bicycle tool in the format of a swiss army knife that helps you do up any loose bits on your bike and helps anyone who comes to your rescue and knows what they are doing to fix your bike if you have a mechanical problem)
  • Emergency cash (for catching a bus or taxi, or calming coffee)

Where to keep it?

On your bike.  Here are some options:

And of course if you are lucky, there a beautiful bike baskets too!

Let there be Light

If there is any chance you will be out on your bike during dawn, dusk or darkness then you will need lights on your bike.  Silly not to really.

And always take your smile!

What is your approach to equipment on your bike?  Do you wing it or carry the kitchen sink?