What to Wear Cycling
Whether you ride to work or you're a keen road or mountain biker, you need cycling-specific clothing. Jerseys and shorts just won't do if you're embarking on a journey to become a serious cycler. Comfort and safety are key and you need the right equipment to keep cool in warm weather and warm you up in colder temperatures. From base layers and leggings to waterproofs and helmets, we've listed everything you need to get started when you go cycling.
Unless you're going for a casual family cycle, an ordinary cotton t-shirt just won't do. You need something that will retain body heat if the temperature drops and will keep you cool when you start to work up a sweat. When it comes to tops, layering is key. So, be sure to pack something warm and a light waterproof jacket.
A short sleeve jersey t-shirt is probably suitable for a short journey, but when you start to work up a sweat, it just won't do you any favours. You need a cycling jersey that is breathable, absorbs moisture and is tight-fitting to make you more streamlined. You should opt for a lycra cycling jersey with zip guards so it doesn't rub or pinch, pockets large enough for your valuables and something that fits like a glove.
Again, something close-fitting is ideal here. That way, you can easily layer up if it is cold and wet by wearing a waterproof jacket on top. You should look for something breathable, windproof and waterproof for light showers. Bright colours and reflective patches are always recommended so you can be seen easily.
For a long bike ride, you need to be comfortable and wearing the right gear on the bottom half will make for a smooth ride. You need something flexible that doesn't dig in and provides optimum comfort. So, go for padded bottoms in a lycra material so it hugs in all of the right places and doesn't get in the way while you're cycling.
Perfect for summer cycling and warmer spring and autumn days, cycling shorts are streamlined and padded shorts mean extra comfort. Bib shorts with mesh straps are breathable and if you can find a pair of cycling shorts with a non-slip material around the thigh this can prevent chafing and stops them from riding up.
Again, if you're on a long bike ride, padding will be your best friend and increase comfort along the way. If you're new to cycling, baggy trousers or tight jeans could become your worst enemy. So, invest in a good pair of close-fitting cycling leggings to keep you warm or cool, whatever the weather so you can enjoy your ride.
Weatherproof Cycling Clothes
Come rain or shine, travelling by bike may be your only option. So, you should invest in some extra weatherproof layers so you don't get caught out in the cold or in the middle of a storm.
When the cold weather hits, you may need to consider adding some base layers. So, look for a long-sleeved jersey and leggings made from merino wool. Not only is merino wool a great insulant, but it is also soft, breathable and can resist odours. This is exactly what you need to keep you warm during the cooler months. Leg or knee warmers are also a great option to keep you warm during those chilly morning commutes, even in the summer months.
Water Resistant Layers
We all know that the weather in the UK can turn in an instant. So, you should always be prepared and pack waterproof layers when you head out on your bike. Waterproof cycling jackets usually have longer sleeves than your average waterproof jacket which keep more of your arm dry when you're leaving over the handlebars. Cycling trousers or overtrousers are a good choice for keeping your legs dry and are easy to slip on over your shorts or leggings so your muscles don't become cold and wet.
While you should always wear suitable clothing for cycling, you certainly shouldn't forget about accessories. And no, we don't mean fashion accessories to make you look cool. We're talking about accessories which can increase your safety and comfort while on the road.
Perhaps the most important item of your cycling attire is your helmet. They are the most effective way to protect your head in the event of an accident. You will want something that is comfortable, well ventilated and, if you are a keen road cyclist, you should go for something aerodynamic that has undergone rigorous safety tests.
Not just ideal for cold weather, cycling gloves can improve grip on the handlebars in wet weather and also help to prevent blisters on your hands. Fingerless gloves are often preferable for the summer months but as the weather turns cooler, full gloves are probably more suitable. You will likely have a choice of padding, ventilation and waterproof gloves, depending on your preference, but you should always opt for gloves with good grips on the palms and fingers.
If you're only going on a short journey, a pair of trainers may suffice. When coupled with shoe covers, this can be a cost-effective option to keep your feet warm and dry while still allowing you to grip the pedals. However, if you're becoming a serious cycler and are starting to focus on your performance on the road, then it's time to invest in a pair of cycling shoes. There is plenty of choice for different budgets but you should look out for the sole, cleat system and the fit.
It's always a good idea to have some sunglasses with you in case the weather brightens up, but you should also consider wearing glasses, even for duller days. Not only do glasses protect from the glare of the sun but they can also act as a barrier from the wind, rain or snow. It is also worth investing in a pair with interchangeable tinted lenses to accommodate different weather conditions.
So, whether you're on a mountain bike, road bike or a city bike, you should always think about what to wear cycling before setting off. Plan for changes in the weather and put your safety and comfort first. If you're travelling further afield for a family bike ride or cycling holiday, make sure you have a secure bike rack to carry your beloved bikes. Why not consider investing in a towbar so you can use a towbar mounted bike rack and load your bikes up with ease.