Saddle green

Appropriately timed after yesterday’s post about saddle covers, this lovely bicycle was spotted on a day trip to the sea side in Brighton. Its apple green saddle cover may not have been fending off a downpour in the midst of this heatwave, but it is ever at the ready and gleaming brightly like a granny smith.

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Saddle Cover

How do you keep the rain off your saddle? It can be pretty gloomy when you come back to unlock your bike and realise that you will need to perch on a wet seat, but this savvy cyclist has a strikingly chic solution – a gloriously moustached saddle cover! With its velvety coloured frame this bike wouldn’t be out of place in the Tweed Run.

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Spotted on Peckham High Street, SE15

If you are looking for a saddle cover, you can have a look online and keep a look out for offers like the bargain cover that was being sold at Cath Kidston in March. Alternatively, you can do as I did and just opt for a shower cap! Here are two incarnations of my shower-cap saddle covers.

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Both were purchased through ebay, but sadly the disco ball had to be replaced when the fabric wore throughl. I then opted for a sturdier plastic shower cap bearing a cute cat face and including pointed ears! My cat doesn’t look too impressed though.

 

I thought that this would be a good opportunity to see how other cyclists have protected their saddle: there’s everything from shopping bags to laminate…

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Spotted in Covent Garden [source].

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Spotted on Neal Street, Covent Garden [source].

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Spotted on The Strand [source].

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Spotted on Great Windmill Street, Soho [source].

Pannier

If you’re on the lookout for a chic and unique pannier bag, then you need look no further than Loeffler Randall. You’d be fooled into thinking that this is an ordinary satchel, but their beautiful leather panniers transcend the usual stereotypes of functional cycle gear, and give savvy cyclists a bike bag that translates seamlessly from bike to high street.

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The designs vary from the elaborate black and white pictured above, to plain coloured or even studded. At £315 ($495) they don’t come cheap, but if you have the cash to spare, you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth. Browse the Loeffler Randall Rider Bag range [here].

How to…

…Stay safe in the door zone.

The easy answer to this ‘How To’ is that you cannot be safe in the door zone. I have previously written about this subject [here], and it important to reiterate that being ‘doored’ is one of the great unmentioned cycle risks as this rather graphic video shows:

cyclesafeI came across the image above today, and after getting my head around the differences in road layout (driving on the right!) and trying to imaging the traffic chugging along to my left instead of my right, was reminded of the two images below. These should be relatively familiar to you: on the left is the poster publicised by TFL to discourage cyclists from ‘undertaking’ HGVs, and the image on the right is the same poster but with the addition of the very recognisable Cycle Superhighway blue road markings.

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Generally people assume that the cycle lane is the safest place, but as you can see, between blind spots, the door zone and the simple fact that not all motorists indicate their intentions when they plan to turn left, it is sometimes far safer to take prime position in the centre of the lane. What happens if there is a pothole in the cycle lane and you lose control? You should always allow yourself enough space to manouevre, and although curb hugging may feel comforting, it’s an illusion of safety. Unless there is enough space to allow for a vehicle to safely overtake you, you should discourage them from doing so for your own welfare. This is particularly true at traffic lights, where motorists will often creep into the Advanced Stop Zone, forcing you aside as they zoom off ahead of you.

Remember, it’s better to take abuse for blocking the lane than a wheel across your skull if something goes wrong.

Savvy visor

Any bespectacled cyclist will be familiar with the dilemma presented by rain: a downpour doesn’t only mean that you will arrive at your destination looking bedraggled, but the likelihood is that a large portion of your journey will be completed with limited vision as the rain gathers on your specs. Well now I say to you: fear no more! It is time to revisit decades long-gone and invest in an accessory that should otherwise have remained gathering dust in attics or at the bottom of the charity shop bargain bin. No, I don’t mean bum bags, I’m talking about visors!

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I picked this polka dot visor up in the ASOS sale last summer as part of a wacky thought process… I can’t imagine how this trendy(!) gem ended up in the sale. Regardless, with the addition of a beanie hat I have made it home from work with a dry face and full vision. Plus it’s compact enough to keep in my handbag in case of unexpected showers, whereas a waterproof coat would be far more cumbersome.

For those voting Yes in the great helmet debate, I have in the past been able to force my helmet on over the top, but the thick fabric band on this visor model doesn’t sit as well as a lighter, smaller model might. If you’re shopping for a visor you should take this detail into account.

So what do you say? It may not be the most fashion forward accessory but it certainly does the job!

What tricks do you have to keep dry in the torrents?