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The travel kit list: essential winter cycling gear for 2021

The changeable conditions of British winter can make for exhilarating bike rides — if you have the right kit. Stay warm, dry and visible whether you’re hitting country lanes, mountains trails or city roads.

Published 8 Feb 2021, 08:00 GMT, Updated 10 Feb 2021, 10:52 GMT
Bern Hudson MIPS bike helmet; Hydro Flask Standard Mouth (532ml); Rapha Pro Team winter jacket.

Bern Hudson MIPS bike helmet; Hydro Flask Standard Mouth (532ml); Rapha Pro Team winter jacket.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller (UK)

1. Bern Hudson MIPS bike helmet

Winter brings crisp vistas and emptier trails, but it can also serve up reduced visibility and slippery conditions. A state-of-the-art, lightweight Bern helmet not only offers a snug fit (it comes in three adjustable sizes) but also a detachable and water-resistant USB-charged light with up to 10 hours’ power. Keen cyclists will love the removable cap visor — a chic addition that aids aerodynamism and protects the eyes during rain. RRP: £109.99.

2. Hydro Flask Standard Mouth (532ml)

Fluid intake is essential on all expeditions, and there’s no need to sacrifice taste or temperature by using an old plastic bottle. Hydro Flask stainless steel bottles are an excellent cycling companion. They fit neatly into a bike bottle rack, keeping hot chocolate warm for up to 12 hours and water ice-cold for up to 24 hours. The powder coating makes for easy gripping, too, even with gloved hands. You’ll want to pair it with an Insulated Sports Cap (£9.50) for sipping on the go. RRP: £29.95.

3. Rapha Pro Team winter jacket

This devilishly stylish, close-cut jacket comes from Rapha, the specialist cycling brand with a growing following of devotees. Part of its elite Pro Team collection, this insulating outer layer is a worthwhile investment for eliminating the chill that can quickly curtail cold-weather rides. Crafty designers have weighted the fabric heavier on the chest and more breathable in the rear, and pockets, zips and reflective panelling have been engineered with the needs of riders in mind. RRP: £180.

Jack Wolfskin Atlas Tour jacket; Adidas Five Ten Trailcross XT mountain bike shoes; Sealskinz waterproof all-weather glove with Fusion Control.


4. Jack Wolfskin Atlas Tour jacket

Celebrating the brand’s 40th birthday, the outdoors enthusiasts at Jack Wolfskin have developed the Bike Collection for Summer 2021. A key piece in the new range, this waterproof shell jacket comes in highly visible colours and features tough, eco-friendly materials. It’s got clever design details, too: the hood is helmet-compatible, the jacket is cut longer at the back and over the hands so wearers can lean into the handlebars, and it features reflective strips so other road users know to steer clear. RRP: £150.

5. Adidas Five Ten Trailcross XT mountain bike shoes

Heading off-trail? Backcountry biking can require hardy kit, and these durable kicks will stand riders in good stead. A rubber outsole provides high-friction grip for maximum pedal power, while strategically placed drainage ports allow puddle water to exit for quicker drying. Its design seals out debris and offers a cushioned feel, too. RRP: £130.

6. Sealskinz waterproof all-weather glove with Fusion Control

Come wind, rain, snow or sleet, Sealskinz’s activewear accessories are designed to protect your extremities. These sturdy gloves (which can double up for skiing and boating, among other sports) offer 100% windproofing and waterproofing, plus excellent grip, dexterity and breathability. The patented Fusion Control technology involves four layers, with a merino wool inner lining sitting next to your skin. RRP: £65.

Darn Tough socks; Oakley Sutro cycling glasses; Aquapac DockSystem waterproof phone case; Albion burner.


7. Darn Tough socks

Warm, dry feet are essential for an enjoyable wintry ride, whether you’re sporting clip-ins or trainers. Specialist athletic socks like Darn Tough’s Prism Crew Light Cushion might give you an edge: they contain moisture-wicking, naturally antimicrobial merino wool (meaning less rubbing and fewer blisters) and come with a reinforced sole cushion for extra comfort and durability. They’re an investment, but they’re made to last: every pair is guaranteed by the company for life. RRP: $21 (£15.50).

8. Oakley Sutro cycling glasses

A pair of bold ‘shield’ glasses helps bikers cut through the wind in winter, keeping their visibility crisp and clear. Oakley’s envy-inducing sports eyewear reaches its pinnacle with Sutro. The fully customisable design (pick your lens, frame and other features from a multitude of colours) features contrast-enhancing lens technology, and offers impact protection, too — even in high-velocity situations. Designed for biking, they’re lightweight and will stay in place as you sweat. RRP: £135. 

9. Aquapac DockSystem waterproof phone case

Keep phones dry and safe with this case from the waterproofing experts at Aquapac. Whether mapping a new route or tracking speed on the Strava app, cyclists today need their tech handy. Attach this ‘use-thru’ case to the bike with the DockSystem rail and handlebar dock (RRP: £11.99), which can be attached tightly without tools. Once docked, the holster can be rotated to any of seven positions. It’s easy to release, too. RRP: from £29.99

10. Albion burner

Professional riders used to pack their vests with discardable newspaper, but dedicated cycling outfitter Albion offers an upgrade with this recycled-nylon burner. Simple yet innovative, this ultra-light insulating bib is the perfect piece of kit for kicking off a cold-weather spin on the bike. Worn under a jacket, it’s easily packed away into a pocket-sized pouch once you’ve warmed up. Like all Albion products, it’s covered by a lifetime of free repairs. RRP: £35.

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