Safety should be a key concern of yours when planning a trip and some safety items should be considered essential items that you will need.
The bike routes are varied which means at times you will be cycling along traffic free cycle lanes (mostly in Holland) and at other times you will be cycling on busy main roads with heavy traffic.
The key to being safe is to be as visible as possible to drivers and also wear good quality protective gear.
A helmet is a must have. Everyone cycling this trip shouldn’t even consider leaving home without one. They are designed to prevent head injuries during crashes and if you have ever fallen off your bike and been left with a cracked helmet you are instantly grateful that it wasn’t your head.
When choosing a helmet the most important point to look out for is that the helmet has a European CE EN 1078 sticker. This means that the helmet has passed a big selection of safety tests.
You also want to make sure it’s the right fit for you, if you have a helmet that’s too big or small it won’t offer the right level of protection. The best way to do this is measure the circumference of your head and match it to helmet size guides.
If you are a woman another consideration is whether you want to cycle with your hair tied back or not. If you do then make sure you opt for a helmet with a special gap at the back for a pony tail, otherwise it can be quite uncomfortable.
Cycle brands such as Bell, Giro and Specialized also do helmets in various colours so that you can match the colourings on your Specialized bike.
The best way to make yourself visible to traffic is to literally light yourself up with bike lights. As a minimum you should have a front and rear light as these are required by law.
When choosing the best set of bike lights you can choose from lights that make you seen to traffic and lights that help you to see.
The difference between these two options is down to budget. The more money you are prepared to spend the brighter your lights will be. The brightness of a bike light is measured in lumens with the higher lumen number the brighter the light will be.
Another important consideration is battery life. If you are likely to be cycling for quite a few hours in darkness then you should spend some money buying a light that can remain on a bright setting without running out of battery.
For a decent set of bike lights be prepared to spend at least £50 to £100.
The other area you can increase your safety is to purchase high-vis clothing. This is often slightly more expensive than standard clothing but will really increase your safety when cycling at night time.
We recommend a reflective waterproof jacket, reflective tights and a high-vis rucksack cover.
The most popular waterproof jacket year on year is the Altura Night Vision Jacket. This is bright, has plenty of reflective strips, is waterproof and the advanced version even includes a space for a flashing light in the back. Next time you are cycling in winter take notice of other cyclists – most of them will be wearing this jacket.