My Cycle To Work Scheme – safety first. 

When you cycle in to the office, if you’re a gentleman who is proud of the hair on top of his head, the choice of helmet can be tough. Not only does wearing a helmet squash your tidy hair do, it also traps in the heat, making your head sweaty, further endangering what you’ve just spent a good half hour preening.

For a lady who has longer hair, the challenge can be doubled, more hair equals more heat. That’s a mathematical equation which will have you scratching your follicles over which helmet to buy and why.

The answer, of course, isn’t not to wear one, if you’re on a bike you need a helmet. The answer is getting the right one. It needs to look good, be light weight, breathable and if possible be able to enhance your hair do – side note, no helmet will enhance your hair style.

I’ve been very lucky, because the chaps at Bern sent me over their best-selling commuter helmet,the Bern Watts. So over the next few paragraphs I’m going to proceed to tell you about it.

  • I’ve heard (or not heard) of Bern, why are they so popular?

It’s easy to see why so many people like the Bern helmet, its got simple style, it’s very functional and it doesn’t empty your bank balance or compromise on function over form.

They appear to be the commuters helmet of choice and over the next few paragraphs in going to try to explain if that is the case…

bern-watts-mens-bike-helmet-satin-grey-6417

  • What’s so good about this helmet then?

Well, kind of, everything, really…

What’s more, it’s lightweight because it’s a thinSHELL, meaning protection is not compromised as weight it dropped. 460 grams this helmet weights, just a shade over a pound in weight, or a bag of sugar.

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There’s that thinSHELL label and the dial at the back helps you adjust the size.
It also means that the helmet is no bigger than it needs to be, so you don’t look like you have a huge eight ball on top of your head as you cycle down the street.

But weight is not all, the helmet is also well ventilated, reducing heat under your lid, reducing sweating and hopefully meaning you haven’t wasted that half an hour in front of the mirror this morning.

The ventilation on this helmet makes it the perfect summer commuter helmet.

 

The peak at the front of the helmet is not only stylish but helps keep the sun out your eyes and also the rain if the weather were to change.

  • So it’s good for the summer, what about the winter?

Well, funny you should ask that question, it’s almost as if I teed it up in the closing sentence of my previous paragraph.

The good thing about the Bern helmet is that you can add a winter lining. No need to wear a wooly hat under your helmet as you can fix one securely in place on this helmet.

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You can see where the lining can be replaced by the ‘popper’ style buttons on the summer lining
So not only do you get a helmet for all four seasons but you can just pop the lining in and out when you feel it’s too cold on your top two inches.

  • How much does it cost and is it worth it?

Whether or not you’re willing to part with the cash depends on how much you value your life, or hair do.

The Bern Watts costs £54.99 and for a helmet which you can wear for four seasons, that’s a right steal!

Personally, I think it’s a right good price. I’d much rather spend the money on this than wear a £20 Bell helmet from five years ago.

  • Why should I choose this one over the rest?

As if I haven’t gushed over this helmet enough, jeeze.

In short, the colour combinations are great, it’s functional, lightweight, not overly pricey and it suits the commuting style.

The ventilation is enough to keep you cool but not too much that if it were to rain you’d need an umbrella, not that they’re much use when you’re cycling anyway.

I really do think it’s the perfect commuter helmet, from the moment you put it on, it just feels right.

  • The links

You can buy a this Bern Watts helmet here

Follow my Cycle to Work blog theme by looking at my review of the G-Tech e-Bike here

You can read my other blog posts here

Follow me on twitter

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My Cycle To Work Scheme – GTech Electric Bike

My first attempt to bust the daily commute is by cheating, just a little. The chaps at G-Tech sent over their sports electric bike. 

It makes sense, doesn’t it? To use an electric bike to help cut down your effort, meaning that you’ll arrive in greater comfort and less of a sweat. Let’s have a little look then shall we…

They’ve got two options of electric bike, Sports and City. I still want to get to work with some sort of street (cycling) credibility in tact and for a gentleman, the city version is a little too classic lady.  

It’s not a sports model in the car sense, where everything is stripped back, any excess weight is sliced away and often compromising on comfort. This bike has some cool tech added, it’s heavy (16kg) and has some great finishing touches to help you arrive in relatively less discomfort. 

  • How does the bike look?

Let’s all think of an electric bike, what do you think? Answers in the comments, please. 

Do you think if you saw it at the lights you would know it’s electric?

When I think of one, I think of a big bulky heavy metallic purple thing. I used to this exact bike going the opposite way to me on my way to work, every morning through the park. Their legs moving very slowly but the bike flying along and a very smug looking older lady sitting on it as she scooted along past other cyclists. 

Let’s have a look at the G-Tech Sports Bike though, and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s very, well, average looking. Looks distinctly like a bike, doesn’t it? 

I quite like it but I do find its bright white colour a bit stand out. Thick round tubes and big tyres with wider handle bars than I’m used to. Be under no illusion, it’s no sports bike, much more of a tourer. 

The battery is a black water bottle look-a-like. It is very descrete for an electric bike battery. Gone are the old days of a really bulky battery somewhere between your legs making you cycle like John Wayne. This is quite a powerful little thing. 

  • I’ve mentioned the battery so I’ll carry on…

Sitting on the down tube right where the water bottle holder usually is is a large, black, water bottle sized battery. 

This is a lithium-ion battery that will give you enough charge for 30 miles of riding. Ideal for me as I’ve only a short commute and don’t ride this bike everyday, so a full three hour (quick) charge, once a week is handy. Usually plugging in at work and forgetting about it until home time, even though it only costs 4p to charge it fully, apparently. 


The battery has a few cool features too, it comes off for one. Really easily too. You just pull the little green tab up and move the top towards the seat tube and, click, off comes the battery. Meaning once you’ve parked up on the street, at work, at home or you need to charge it, you can unclick the battery and walk off with it, saves someone else walking off with it! 

Easy to remove. Easy to replace.

You can even lock it in place with a key, so when you’re riding no one just pulls it out, or it doesn’t pop out over bumpy terrain, or just the pot holes streets. Handy. 

Turning it on and back off again is even simple, you push down the big green button until you see the lights on the battery come on. Lights indicate charge, so if all four of your lights are on, 100% charge.

the lights aren’t too clear in the sunshine

But look here, the battery has two functions. Yeah, I know, two functions! By pushing the one button once and seeing all four lights lit up, this is maximum assist. Press the big green button twice and see the lights pulsing, this is partial assist. Like I say, clever tech, it’s more than just a battery but a computer too, after all it’s not just the battery that makes you go, it’s a motor too…

  • Got a new motor?! 

The motor on this bike sits in the rear wheel. It really has been designed with maximum thought in to the minimum amount on show. You really wouldn’t think that in that rear hub is a high torque motor, capable of propelling you up to 15 miles per hour! Yeah, 15mph! 

The first initial hit of power from the motor is really powerful, it propels you up to speed no issue what so ever, it’s quite a kick, meaning you’ll beat pretty much anything or anyone off the lights.

A very powerful motor!

Then comes the smoothness, once you’re away at 15mph the motor will drop in if needed to maintain you there. You really feel this on the hills. So much so you think a little ghost rider behind you is pushing you along, you almost want to go slowly so the motor just glides you up the hill. It’s a nice feeling to get to the top and not be gasping for air… 

  • But what’s it like to ride? 

The electrical boost takes a bit of getting used to, if anyone is in front of you when you’re looking to go, with the motor kicking in you have to judge things well, or pedal bit by bit. After that it’s just like riding a bike. 

The wheels are large, the frame is bulky, the full aluminium frame offers nothing in the way of suspension so you feel the bumps. 

The bike handles well enough, it feels a bit slow through the corners, fairly well balanced but remember this – it’s s commuter for sure. Don’t get hung up on the sports handle its given. While it’s fast, it’s not made to go racing against the lycra on carbon fibre. 

Braking is adequate, it’ll slow you down but with a 16kg bike going at 15 miles an hour, they’re a little spongy for my liking and I tightened them up straight away. For out the box brakes though, they’re good enough and will see you home. If I were to keep it though, I’d upgrade them to something a little sharper, mainly for the reason I’m cycling around central London and like to be able to stop instantly when needed. 

  • The end result

I’m torn you know. I think the boost is fantastic and when I’m floating up the hills and shooting away from the lights I think it’s great. 

When I’m half way up the climb I feel like a mechanical doper. I have to tell myself that I’m riding this bike to help myself arrive fresh to and from work. It’s not a bike for fitness training, it’s a bike to get to and from on, nothing more. 

The carbon drive belt is quiet and no chain oil on your calf! Win!

That’s where it loses a bit of its soul, it feels like I’m riding a robot… That I’ve had to charge up, a dirty little secret that only I know, I’m on an e-bike. That’s why I arrive in comfort and not breathless. 

Then I look at it and think, ‘you’re fantastic!’ It would be the perfect bike for an elderly person to scoot about on. With such little fuss, still getting the fitness in, you can do a 30 mile ride getting the heart rate up and have a helping hand home too. 

I’d heavily consider buying one… But I think the £995 is a little too rich for my blood. I’d rather spend the money on a Boardman or something like that where I could get out on a good long ride on. However it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t recommend it if asked by someone in the market for an e-bike. 

Well done G-Tech. 

  • The links! 

You can buy a G-Tech electric bike here

You can follow my Twitter here