Accessories

Lights

You need lights at night because it’s polite not to be completely invisible to other road users, and it is also the law. Fortunately LED lights are small, pretty cheap (about £12 each), and batteries last for ages. Get some.

Every year, the police run a check on whether cyclists have lights. If you don’t you will be stopped and fined. But – and this is the nice bit – they waive the fine if you turn up at the police station with some new lights and a receipt.

Baskets

If you use a bike to get around, you will soon find you need some way to carry things. You can ride with a rucksack on your back, but it doesn’t help your balance, and you’ll find it’s more comfortable to carry the weight on the bike.

There are specialist bags available, but a basket is easiest. This lets you use any convenient bag and gives you somewhere handy to put your lock. Wire baskets are readily available; wicker baskets if you look around. You can get baskets that simply attach to the handlebars, or they can have a simple u-shaped frame that supports them underneath, or you can have a proper carrier fitted.

Helmets

About 1% of Dutch adult cyclists wear a helmet; about 3% of Dutch child cyclists. They think we’re mad to bother with helmets. Car passengers and pedestrians have more head injuries than cyclists, and nobody seems to think they should wear helmets.

Cycle helmets are probably a good idea for children when they’re at the stage of doing something silly and falling off, but they’re not much protection if you’re hit by a car. Better to keep your eyes and ears open, and get used to spotting and avoiding problems.