Reflectors and lights
Gear and accessories
Under the Highway Safety Code, all bicycles must have one white reflector in the front, one red reflector at the rear, one reflector attached to the spokes of the back and front wheels and one amber reflector on each pedal. In addition, cyclists who ride at night must equip their bicycle with one white headlight and one red taillight. These should come installed on your bike when you purchase it. But just make sure it’s all there – after all, your safety depends on it!
A mirror is a practical accessory that saves you from having to turn your head around to see if there’s a motorist or cyclist behind you. It is particularly useful on city streets, where constant vigilance is key to navigating through heavy traffic, and when cycling with children, to make sure they are close by and riding in single file. Both handlebar- and helmet-mounted models are good choices – it simply comes down to a matter of preference.
Start by looking for a helmet that suits the shape of your head. That will make it easier to adjust. Make sure both straps fit around your ears and snap snugly, but not too tightly, under your chin. A loose or unstrapped helmet is useless in an accident. Your helmet shouldn’t wobble side-to-side or front-to back, and it should rest just above your eyebrows (no higher, no lower). Recheck your straps regularly and readjust as required.
A mud guard is indispensable for keeping your clothes clean, especially while cycling in the city. And mud guards are actually quite in vogue right now!
With a chain guard, you can keep your right leg as clean as your left leg! But since most bikes don’t come with one, a metal or Velcro pants clip can do the job nicely instead.
Bag racks, baskets and panniers
These handy items will save you from having to carry a backpack or hang a bag from your handlebars. Backpacks can be cumbersome, not to mention hot in the summer – and can even throw your balance off if they are too heavy.
Rubber bike pedals offer better grip for street shoes, especially in wet weather.
A bell lets other cyclists, pedestrians and motorists know you’re nearby and thus helps minimize the risks of a collision.
You can easily cycle in your everyday clothes, as long as they give you plenty of room to move. And when the colder weather hits, remember that several lightweight layers are better than one heavy one. In other words, instead a heavy coat, try a windbreaker-fleece combo, for example. As the season progresses, you’ll want to add gloves, a hat and a scarf. And on rainy days, you’ll need a waterproof jacket and pants to make sure you arrive at your destination nice and dry. If you have the proper gear, you can cycle in practically any weather – especially considering that heavy downpours tend to pass quickly. If you’re worried about taking your bicycle on a day they’re calling for precipitation, remember you can always opt for public transit or a taxi later on if need be. And if the sun does peek out from behind the clouds at the end of the day, you’ll be happy to have your bike!