Getting started with cycling is as easy as riding a bike, literally. But before you jump on your bike and start pedalling away, it’s important to ensure that you’re correctly attired.
Trust us when we say that if you’re serious about cycling, jeans and a T-shirt simply won’t cut it. To give you a good idea of what you should be wearing when riding, we’ve put together this handy list of essential cycling apparel.
First things first, you’re going to need some protection for your noggin. No matter what else you choose to wear, your helmet is the most important piece of cycling kit you’ll ever invest in.
Helmets come in all kinds of colours and designs, and you’re the one who will have to wear it, so make sure that you pick a design you prefer. That being said, the brighter the colour you choose the easier it is to be seen.
There are various sizes available, and most helmets have an adjustable fitting inside so that they can be scaled to fit all head shapes. A correctly fitted helmet should be comfortable yet sturdy; it should sit level on your head and fit snugly so that it doesn’t move more than an inch.
Once you’ve properly secured the helmet on your head, be sure to adjust the chin strap so that it’s a snug fit and doesn’t pinch the skin.
Simply put, these are shorts specifically designed to make riding more comfortable. Tight fitting shorts are useful for longer rides, as they help dissipate heat and prevent chafing, whilst also considerably reducing wind resistance.
Baggy shorts on the other hand are much more popular with mountain bikers, as they tend to feature extra padding and plenty of pockets to store all the necessities for the journey.
Before you start, we’re not talking about the fluorescent woolly warmers that should never have outlived the 80s. No, body warmers for cyclists consist of skin tight thermals that fit under your clothes.
We already mentioned the benefits of close fitting clothing above, but the truth is that if you’re serious about cycling then you’re going to have to develop a love for spandex. You don’t have to go all out straight away and purchase a full body suit, but arm and knee warmers are definitely a must, especially when the weather is not so hot.
The best warmers are anatomically shaped to fit your body perfectly whist still allowing you maximum movement.
Jackets and Gilets
Vest-like Gilets and lightweight jackets are practical outdoor wear that bring a much needed extra layer of protection to cyclists. Whilst they probably won’t protect you against the bumps and bruises from falling off the bike (it happens to the best of us), they will help keep you warm and dry, with the windproof and waterproof material keeping out the chill.
They’re also versatile and thin enough to be taken off and easily stored away, plus there are plenty of fluorescent options available for those who like riding when it’s dark out.
One thing you’re sure to notice when you begin cycling is how cold your hands can get. If left exposed they have to bear the brunt of all the elements whilst steadfastly gripped to your handlebar. With this in mind, it’s of course well worth purchasing a quality pair of gloves to keep your fingers from going completely numb.
There a number of types of glove available, in both fingerless and long fingered varieties, each with multiple options for levels of thickness. Cycling gloves tend to be relatively thin and come with grip prints to help you keep a firm hold on those bars. Once again, the colour and design depend on your preference.
Cycling specific shoes will have threads built into their sole so that cleats can be bolted on and you can keep your feet attached to clipless pedals. If you’ve only got regular trainers to hand, it’s worth going out and purchasing a specialised pair for riding, but in the meantime you should look to wear footwear with stiff soles, so that your feet don’t get sore against the pedals.
So that’s it for our collection of essential cycling wear, but if you’ve got any items you’d recommend or you think we’ve missed anything off the list, feel free to let us know in the comments below.