No matter what cycling gear you are purchasing -- whether it’s gloves, pants, or a jersey -- the gear should make you feel comfortable, confident and safe on all your rides. Below are the musts for dressing for cycling.
Start with a good, well-fitted helmet. It should be your first major cycling purchase, and fit is the key to both comfort and safety. A trip to your local bike shop for a professional fitting is recommended. Don’t be afraid to ask the shop personnel for advice on the fit.
Cycling gloves provide both safety and comfort. In the summer, gloves provide the cyclist with a better grip, cut down on friction, and help avoid blisters. They should be tight enough to avoid slippage and keep the padding in the necessary areas.
Selecting a jersey should also be done with safety in mind. Start by looking for a jersey with plenty of reflective tape. Reflective tape helps make sure you can be seen by motorists and is especially important in the northwest where short days and inclement weather make it harder to see bicyclists.
Modern technical fabrics have the ability to breathe and wick away moisture, allowing you to stay cool and comfortable throughout your ride. Also, they have antibacterial properties to reduce unpleasant odors. Look for fabrics that also have UV sun protection!
In this day of distracted drivers, a helmet is no longer optional. It is your most important piece of cycling “apparel” and regardless of the law, should never be considered optional.
A comfortable, practical jersey is well worth the money spent and will last you a long time. If you buy low-quality items, you will end up with a lot of bargain pieces of clothing in your drawer which you may only wear once! You’ll wear the quality, well fitted items over and over because they perform for you and were designed with the cyclist in mind.
Don’t buy a jersey just because it is cute and you saw someone else wearing it. It’s important to choose a jersey that fits your specific body. When you’re on a ride for hours at a time, you don’t want to be focused on what you’re wearing or a jersey pinching your sides. Choose clothing you feel comfortable wearing into a coffee shop or wherever your ride takes you. Confidence starts with your appearance!
The traditional belief that cycling apparel has to be tight and form fitting is a issue getting a lot of discussion these days. Originally, bicycle racers wore skin-tight jerseys to reduce drag and increase speed. A flattering fit that moves with your body like the jersey made by Tonik cycling for women is perhaps a better choice for recreational cyclists. A jersey that is slightly longer in the back will keep you covered when you are riding. Gripper tape along the hem helps to hold your jersey in place. A mid-length zipper allows for plenty of ventilation and also avoids creating more bulk at the waist.
How you dress for cycling is about having the correct type and fit of clothing for your body type and ensuring you have the best equipment to keep you safe. These things will allow you to be safe and comfortable on long rides, as well as feel confident wearing the gear during breaks or after the ride!
More expert advice about Cycling
Photo Credits: Provided by Mary and Lisa; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com