Counting the cost of cycling
You can choose any price for the bike you like, but its’s worth paying extra for security and safety
You have to expect rain sometimes and while you can buy rain gear for less than €20, it will not stand up to a downpour. Photograph Nick Bradshaw
Making your bike impossible to rob is impossible so you just want to make it harder to rob than the bike next to it. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images)
While cycling is cheaper than almost any other mode of transport – with the obvious exception of walking and running – it is not entirely free. You can spend anything from less than €100 to well in excess of €2,000 on a bicycle although it is always worth remembering that the more you spend on a commuting bike, the more attractive you will be to thieves.
Helmets: The topic of bicycle helmet is surprisingly controversial as Pricewatch once discovered when we suggested they were a good idea and there is a significant cohort who say helmets do little to protect cyclists from cars. Our measure is would we allow our children cycle without a helmet and the answer is no. Bicycle helmets costing from €10 to €35 can be found in the likes of Argos while cycling shops sell helmets with prices topping €200. Once a helmet has the CE safety mark it should be okay.
Lights: Cateye loop lights are bright, neat and fit easily into a pocket or bag. They are fitted with powerful LEDs that are visible from many angles and are looped around the front or rear of a bicycle, so no brackets are required. They can by bought in any bike shop for about €13. Mounted cateye lights are also popular. Typically, these lights have wider beams and will run for as long as 80 hours on constant mode and up to 320 hours on flashing mode. Some can be recharged through a USB cable while you sit at your desk.
Locks: Do not spend a tenner on a lock that a bike thief will be able to snip in less than a second – you are just wasting your money. Making your bike impossible to rob is impossible so you just want to make it harder to rob than the bike next to it. Look for brands such as Abus and Kryptonite. And be prepared to spend at least €40 on a lock. Ideally, you will have two locks – a D lock and a coil lock. A casual bike thief might have a bolt cutter – to snip coil locks – or hammer or angle grinder for a D lock, only the most serious bike thief will carry both.
Pump: You can buy a good bicycle pump for €10. A mini pump – which will do the same thing as a regular pump while taking up less space – costs in the region of €14 while a stand-up pump will cost about €25.
Clothes: You have to expect rain sometimes and while you can buy rain gear for less than €20, it will not stand up to a downpour. An Endura Gridlock Waterproof Jacket costs €65. It is breathable and made with a lot of fluorescent material for enhanced night time visibility. Endura Gridlock Overtrousers are available in most good bike shops. They are easy to get on and off, have zipped pockets, reflective elements and are very waterproof and breathable. Be prepared to spend at least €50 on a pair of trousers.