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28 October 2014

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Bike equipment and cycle routes
An off-road cyclist in the right gear!
Get the right gear for your type of cycle ride!

This section of our guide to cycling in Cambridgeshire looks at the different equipment available to cyclists such as lights and clothing. Plus, we list some of the best cycle routes in Cambridgeshire.

  see also  

Cambridgeshire Traffic News

Cycling in Cambridgeshire Message Board

Travel, Traffic and Transport Message Board

  internet links  

Cambridgeshire Constabulary Recovered Cycles
An Aladdin's Cave of cycles which have been recovered in the Cambridge area.

Drive Safe, Cycle Safe
Information from the Department for Transport to make motorists and cyclists more aware of one another.

National Cycling Strategy
The NCS aims to increase the use of bicycles for all types of journey.

Cycle Maps Directory
A UK directory of official council cycle maps on the web.

An independent, community-run site for cycling news and information.

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign
Provides a voice for cyclists in our area.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

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Cyclists in protective gearThe Right Gear
You don't need to spend a fortune on special equipment for your bike, but it's worth getting some basic gear to make sure you're safe and comfortable while you ride.

Buying a bike

  • Choose a type of bike that is best suited to the majority of cycling you'll be doing.
  • Try bikes out before you buy.
  • Seek advice from your bike shop on the right size and position.
  • Adjust the seat and handlebar positions to suit you.

Dealing with different conditions

  • If you're cycling at night use lights and wear reflective clothing.
  • If you're cycling in wet weather wear bright clothing and consider using your lights. Use waterproof clothing and check your bike (especially brakes, tyres and gears) more regularly.
  • If you're cycling in very hot conditions wear cool cotton clothes and use suntan lotion. Drink plenty of fluids.

Bike lights
Front bike lightIt is a legal requirement to use lights meeting a certain legal standard while cycling at night. You must have a white front light, a red rear light, four amber pedal reflectors and one red rear reflector.

You can get various types of bike lights ranging from halogen, LED, dynamo compatible and standard bulb. Halogen lights tend to wear the batteries out quickly and LED lights do not meet the legal standard, so are best used in addition to your main lights.

In recent years there has been a huge drive to get people to wear helmets to protect against head injury. However, increasingly people are arguing that wearing a helmet actually has little effect on the risk of head injury. If you do decide to wear a helmet, here are some tips on getting the right one from the BBC Sport Academy:

  • Find a shop that has a good selection of helmets and try on plenty of types and makes until you find one that fits perfectly.
  • If you are able to move the helmet backwards and forwards when the chin strap is fastened then it is too big. If the helmet is too big it will be uncomfortable and it will also give you much less protection and may even slip off.
  • Tighten the chin strap until you can just barely open your mouth all the way. If the fit is right, the helmet will sit quite low on your brow but high enough not to obstruct your vision.
  • Helmets for children tend to be relatively larger than adult ones in order to be fully effective. This means that your helmet may look as if it is perched on top of your head!
  • The protective foam polystyrene becomes less effective as the helmet becomes older. So it's wise to replace any helmet that has been damaged in an accident, however slight.

Extra equipment

  • Spare batteries for your lights
  • Tyre pump and puncture repair kit
  • Waterproof rucksack or panniers

The Right Route
Whether you cycle to work, or you cycle for pleasure, there's a cycle route for you!

Cambridge Cycle Routes Map
A guide to getting about Cambridge on a bicycle.

Peterborough Millennium Green Wheel Map
A map of the cycle network through and around Peterborough.

Grafham and Rutland Water provide beautiful settings for a family bike ride. Take your own bike, or hire one from the cycle centre. Rutland has up to 23 miles of mostly traffic-free cycling along the water's edge, riding through woodlands and open countryside. Grafham Water has a slightly shorter route of 10 miles - ideal for families.

The villages of South Cambridgeshire
Feeling adventurous? Try this 30 mile cycle through the villages south of Cambridge starting and finishing at King's College.

The Fens Cycle Way
Feeling really adventurous? Explore the unique landscape of the Fens by bike! The whole route takes 2-4 days, but you can always just try a small section of it! Phone Wisbech Tourist Information Centre on 01945 583263 for more details.

MoreFind out the benefits of cycling - from better health to a cleaner environment »

The benefits of cycling »
Road safety tips and training »

Defensive and assertive cycling
Keep your bike safe »
Cycle marking
Cycle message board »

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