Whether you’re a professional cyclist or a keen amateur like me, what you wear matters. Not only can it keep you comfortable and improve your performance, it can also keep you safe while you’re out on your road bike. That’s why I’ve made this short guide to what to cycling clothing – so you know exactly what to wear and when.
Summer Cycling – Coping with The Heat
I live in the middle east, so I can’t say there’s too many days where I’m struggling to cope with the heat. But when we do get the very occasional heatwave, I want to be prepared and able to get out on my bike as soon as possible to make the most of it.
A short-sleeved jersey is an absolute must, of course. But before you buy anything, make sure you check what material it’s made of. You want something that’s breathable and designed for summer riding and if your jersey has mesh areas in sweat hotspots – so much the better. These are one of my favourite features of summer cycling jerseys as they provide extra ventilation for the back and armpits, the areas that tend to sweat the most on hot summer rides.
Winter cycling – Keeping Warm When the Temperatures Drop
If you’re a keen enough cyclist, the cold won’t stop you getting on your bike. Over the years I’ve found that as long as you layer up, you’re absolutely fine once you start pedalling. But the key to warmth is getting the layers right. I always find that a good base layer is a solid start. The wool keeps your core warm and dry but the material isn’t too thick and hugs your body so it’s comfortable to wear under a jersey.
I’d also invest in a good cycling jacket to protect yourself against the elements. Up here in Scotland you never know when you’re going to get caught in a downpour or battered by the wind, so a windproof and waterproof jacket is an absolute essential.
No cyclist wants to get hit by a car or a lorry. That’s why if you’re a road biker like me, it’s absolutely essential that you make yourself visible to drivers. Forget how you look – personally I would rather look uncool than be dead.
When it comes to choosing the right colour clothing, use your common sense – the brighter, the better. If you go out wearing blue or black, chances are you’ll be completely invisible to drivers once night falls. White and yellow are two of the best colours to wear and nowadays jerseys come in a variety of colours and designs so it’s fairly easy to pick one that will keep you visible and stylish.
Choosing the Right Helmet
Last but not least, having the right helmet is one of the best ways to stay safe and improve your performance. A fitted bicycle helmet will be the most comfortable and provide the best protection; the more of your head it covers, the better, and a properly fitted helmet should reach halfway down your forehead and cover a large part of the back of your head.
Helmets with plenty of air vents will help to keep your head cool but I’ve learnt over the years that you need to find a happy medium between lots of air vents and enough padded protection for your head. Find the right balance and you’ll have a great multi-purpose helmet. And remember that lighter and brighter coloured helmets will make you more visible on the road; these days you can even buy helmets with lights on the back strap!