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Cycling toolkit - things to get you started

Advice on buying and maintaining your bicycle and safe cycling in London

Shop local

Online deals may look appealing, but your local bike shop will be able to offer tailored advice on bike size and fitting.

When your bike eventually needs servicing, the local shop will be your first point of call, so it's worth getting to know them from the start.

Right tool for the job

There are many types of bikes to accommodate the wide variety of uses they can be put to.

Be clear about what you want to do with your bike and the local bike shop will be able to help you choose.

Most bikes are versatile enough to be used in a variety of situations, but a little thought about what you want to do, will help narrow down the choice.


'You get what you pay for' is very true when it comes to bicycles.

A reliable new bike that will last and be comfortable to use can be bought for about £200. You can spend more money to get lighter, better engineered or more specialist components.

Second-hand bikes are available from bike shops and online. A bike shop will know where the bike has come from and hopefully have serviced it as well.

If buying online, be aware that you are buying the bike 'as seen' and always check the frame number at BikeRegister and Immobilise to make sure the seller actually owns the bike.


There are a great many products out there aimed at cyclists, not all of which are essential. Here is a brief list of the most useful ones:

  • lights - it is a legal requirement at night to use white lights in front and red lights at the rear 
  • trouser clips to keep your trousers clean and prevent them from getting caught in the chain or pedals, which can cause a fall 
  • mud guards to keep your clothes clean 
  • chain guard to cover the chain so you don’t need trouser clips (a standard part on traditional city bikes but available as an add-on too)  
  • rack and panniers to carry your things on the back of the bike instead of on your shoulders - it’s much more comfortable and you can carry more 

Published: 15 December 2020

Last updated: 4 February 2021