We think your cycle to work should be a breeze. Long-time cycle commuter and Wiggle content manager reveals her essential kit that she won't leave the house without.
If you're new to cycle commuting, working out what to take with you, as well as how to pack it, can be a matter of trial and error.
Divide and conquer
Keeping things separate in your bag not only helps you to find what you need but it also helps to protect them. look for a commuting backpack that has lots of compartments to help you organise everything.
If you need to carry a laptop, make sure it's away from food and drink. Think about where you'll keep things you'll need to access frequently like your phone, keys and work pass.
Depending on the length of your journey, you might want to take a set of clothes to change into and you might even be lucky enough to have access to a shower. Don't risk ruining clothes and towels with spilt packed lunches or leaky shampoo bottles. Protect them by keeping them in water-resistant bags.
Prepare for the unexpected
Don't risk letting minor setbacks like unexpected weather or punctures leave you flustered. Keeping just a few standby essentials zipped away in your backpack will help you out of most sticky situations.
Punctures always seem to strike when it's least convenient and can be more common in built-up areas where you're more likely to encounter potholes and glass on the roads. Make sure you carry everything you need to fix a puncture and that you know how to use it. If you're unsure, make sure you check out our guide and practice at home where it's warm and dry until you're confident.
It's also worth carrying a lightweight waterproof so you're not caught out should the heavens open. Look for something with reflective or high-viz details so you stand out as the skies cloud over. Keep your belongings protected by pulling a rain cover over your backpack too - some packs come ready-equipped with one.
Start every day refreshed
There's no need to worry about turning up at work feeling windswept and dishevelled. Pack smart and carry all the essentials without feeling weighed down.
A washbag with compartments like the Osprey Wash Roll Travel Bag lets you organise cosmetics and toiletries so you can find what you need quickly. Decant products into small travel-sized bottles to save space. If you're lucky enough to have access to a shower, a compact quick-drying towel like the Sea To Summit Pocket Towel Large packs down a lot smaller than a regular bath towel.
Don't worry about your bike
Unfortunately, bikes make very tempting targets for thieves. However, you can minimise your risk with the right lock.
If you're really fortunate, there may be somewhere inside your place of work where you can keep your bike, in which case you could get away with minimal locks.
If you have to leave your bike somewhere a bit more exposed, give yourself peace of mind and look for a lock that has been rated 'Sold Secure: Gold.' This means it has been independently tested to provide the highest standard of security.
Team up a D-lock with a cable so that you can lock both of your wheels and the frame to something sturdy like a Sheffield stand.
The essential kit list
The perfect size with a place for everything. A generous main compartment easily fits your clothes and lunch and an additional organiser pocket can be used for spares or stationary.
Keep your laptop safe and separate from anything that might spill or leak in a separate compartment.
Foam pads with a mesh overlay provide an air gap so your back doesn't end up hot and sweaty.
These tough little bags weigh next-to-nothing but allow for extra compartmentalization in your backpack.
The largest of the three is perfect for keeping work clothes pristine and protected from any spills or leaks.
Large grab handles and smooth, siliconized fabric make it easy to slide these bags in and out as you need them.
The ultimate washbag for commuting or travelling. There's a compartment for everything and there's even a credit-card-sized mirror for on-the-go spruce-ups.
Hang it up by the integrated pop-out hook for easy access to everything you need. When you're done, simply roll it up and stow it away. Mesh pockets and wicking fabric allow for airflow so you don't need to worry about putting things away if they're slightly damp.
Don't spend the day worrying about whether your bike's still going to be there at home time. If you're keeping your bike somewhere that's publically accessible, make sure you use a lock that's up to the job.
Many bike locks carry a 'Sold Secure' rating of bronze, silver or gold, with gold being the highest standard. If you have bike insurance, your insurers might even stipulate the minimum standard you should use.
This D-Lock from Abus has a plastic coating to protect your bike frame and an illuminated key for those late finishes.
Don't get caught out without lights.
If you're regularly riding after dark, it's a good idea to have front and rear lights that are a bit more high-powered than this pair. However, if you lose your main set, or forget to charge them, lightweight lights like the Knog Niner Blinders can be a lifesaver.
They're also great to keep on hand for those days when plans change and you find yourself riding home later than usual.
You can plug them directly into a USB socket to charge them so you don't need to think about carrying a charging cable. They're small and light enough to keep in a pocket just in case.
Be prepared for anything. This lightweight waterproof can be stowed away in your commuting backpack ready for a rainy day.
Not only does this dazzling jacket offer complete rain protection, but it also comes in a choice of high visibility colours to help you stand out when the clouds roll in. 360-degree reflective panels have been strategically positioned where drivers will see them which means you'll be hard to miss after dark too.
Essential tools and spares
Unexpected punctures and mechanicals happen at the worst of times. Stay on track and arrive unflustered by carrying some basic spares so you can get yourself back up and rolling.
A small, lightweight pump is a must. Check whether your bike uses inner tubes with Presta or Schraeder valves and get the correct pump. Some pumps can do both which is great for those with more than one bike.
Don't waste time at the roadside trying to fix a puncture. Carry a spare inner tube that you can quickly swap over, then worry about patching up the punctured one on your brake or when you get home.
A sturdy pair of tyre levers like the ones from Park Tools will make it a lot easier to see to punctures.
Whilst it's normally quicker and easier to swap out a punctured inner tube, it's not unheard of to suffer more than one puncture in one day. Carry a repair kit as a backup so you can patch up tubes on-the-go.
Featuring the most commonly used Allen keys and screwdriver heads, this handy multi-tool has everything you need for minor roadside repairs and adjustments.