If you’re new to cycling and have signed up to cycle for charity, you may be wondering whether it really is necessary to don all that luminous lycra, just to get out on your bike.
However, once you start your training certain you will realise that style is not the reason people wear those crazy outfits, they are functional and can make a massive difference to your performance, safety and comfort when out on your bike. Cast aside your preconceptions, fashion persuasions, and follow our guide to the essential cycling clothes.
First of all, visibility is critical. Luminous and reflective outer clothing makes you easily spotted by drivers, which is critical if you’re out on the roads. Reflective strips act like cats eyes at night, glowing in the glare of headlights. Bear in mind that you may want to strip off when you get hot, so while black may look cool it may not be the best choice. When trying on cycling clothes, remember you will be wearing them whilst riding your bike. Sounds obvious, but you’ll need longer arms than you think, and also a longer length top to keep you covered.
Close fitting lycra is the cyclists clothing of choice for good reason. It keeps you streamlined, and there’s no risk of baggy clothing flapping around and getting caught in your chain. It also wicks sweat quickly and dries it fast to keep you warm and comfortable. Finally, it’s stretch means that you can pump away on the pedals without even noticing.
What about those weird looking cycling shorts with all the padding? Well, no one wants a saddle sore, and padded shorts will, ahem, protect your most delicate area! If you’re not convinced yet, we’ll ask you again after your first few training rides!
Cycling jackets are great if the weather is cold or wet. They’re lightweight and typically have a longer section at the back, to keep you covered as you bend over the handlebars. Aside from the obvious hiding a builders bum, you’ll be glad of the extra coverage if it’s pouring with rain and you are staying dry!
Finally, a good pair of sunglasses will keep road glare, and flying insects/muck out of your eyes. Always shop around, cycling clothing and jackets can be very expensive so it pays to surf the internet and wait for sales, it could save you lot's of cash that you could then donate to your charity.