Loyal cyclist fans are really put to test with the changing of seasons. One day you’re happily riding beneath the sunshine, the other day you find yourself rolling over in bed rather than rolling the wheels. It doesn’t have to be like that! Carefully chosen clothes and accessories will keep your wheels moving no matter the weather, or the season, or time of day.
Being fully and properly kitted out with protective clothing and gears can make all the difference in enjoying your time in the saddle. Whether you’re considering commuting to work by bike, moving into a more serious brand of cycling, or you just want to keep yourself comfortable, it’s worth figuring out what to wear on a bike ride. Here’s a lowdown on everything you need and why, plus useful tips to come out swinging at every temperature range.
What to Wear When Biking in Sunny Days?
Pretty much everyone agrees that summer is the best season to be a cyclist. Whether it’s racing or casual riding, there are some amazing technical clothing available to keep you riding in comfort and happiness all summer long, with no problems at all!
Short sleeve base layers
A short-sleeve or vest-type base layer is a must have for summer riding. They come in polypropylene material which helps control core temperature of your body by evaporating sweat from bare skin and keeping you dry. In case you don’t have shower facilities in your office or place of work, buying a base layer will keep you cool and dry.
A pair of shorts is a sound investment for your summer cycling clothing. They feature various styles and designs to suit everyone’s needs. Not only do they offer cushion and make you ride more comfortable, but they also reduce moisture and feature an appealing combination of stylish design and modern comfort.
For ultimate comfort and mobility, go for padded shorts or bib shorts. Padded shorts work amazingly well if you plan to hit the trails as they come with a padded crotch that maximizes breathability and prevents your body from drenching with sweat as you head up hills. Bib shorts are the best choice for touring and road rides. They feature elastic fabric which wicks away the moisture and makes it easier for you to pedal and be in the saddle for longer periods.
Jerseys made specifically for cycling aren’t a prerequisite but they sure give you the most comfort while riding on a warm day. They come in a wide range of styles and designs and are gender-specific. Top of your priority when choosing a jersey should be functionality and breathability. Jerseys must be breathable and snug-fitting, possibly made of Merino wool or Lycra. Cycling pros will opt for close-fitting jerseys because of their functionality, but if you’re riding just for the fun of it, baggy models work just fine as long as it’s moisture-wicking and you feel comfortable in it.
Useful tip: Consider a jersey with pockets to stow essentials such as cash, snacks, or even a hand pump.
Summer riding calls for cycling glasses. Besides protecting you from the sun, they also prevent your eyes from getting irritated by dust and wind and keep out bugs and insects. There are also cycling-specific sunglasses that fit well with your helmet and have additional lenses for providing good clarity even on foggy days. All in all, they give you a far more pleasant ride ensuring the best vision at all times.
What to Wear When Biking in Rainy Days?
Fall and rainy days often feel like a funeral march mourning a bike season just gone, amirite? No way, Jose! A little rain shouldn’t scare you off. We’ve got tips and clothes to keep you wrapped up even if it’s raining pitchforks and hammer handles out there, as the old folks used to say.
When it’s immense darkness of drizzling or downpouring, a waterproof jacket will spring to your defense and give you the confidence to face it. Although any waterproof jacket is fine as long as it keeps you dry, cycling-specific jackets are further optimized to be breathable, preventing you from being soaked in your own sweat. They are also comfortable for easier maneuvering and compact enough to be stowed in your panniers or pocket in case rain stops. There are also some specific waterproof jackets for road riding which usually come in bright colors and reflective panels to increase visibility in traffic.
Waterproof rain pants
Waterproof rain pants are especially useful for commuting long distances in the rain and especially if you’re not using mudguards. Just like with waterproof jackets, a good pair of cycling pants provide the necessary insulation to trap your body heat while not being bulky or restricting your movements. What’s more, cycling pants have zipped legs allowing you to take them off and on with relative ease, without having to remove your shoes.
Once your feet begin to shiver, there’s not much you can do to warm them up. Fortunately, waterproof shoes are specifically designed to keep your feet happy and wet-free. They are a great addition to prevent the rain and puddle splashes from reaching your feet. They are typically made of neoprene and waterproof fabrics for rain protection. Cycling-specific shoes are designed to fit right in with your clipless pedals and can be easily clipped in and out, which can be highly practical when you need to frequently stop and start during riding.
What to Wear When Biking in Winter?
Riding your bike in winter takes real dedication. There are not too many people who put on a brave face and bike outside all winter long. But those who do will go with the right attitude and the right winter clothing.
A winter jacket is like carrying your own heater with you. You don’t have to wear all those excessive layers to keep the cold out, a winter jacket will do the trick. A good-quality winter jacket is both water and windproof and has high insulation and breathability. Additionally, they come with a high neck and long sleeves, a front wind-resistant fabric, and comfortable ventilation. All these elements keep you warm and make you ride comfortably no matter how cold it gets.
Headwear and neckwarmers
Keeping your head and ears warm is important to improve your focus while riding. Headbands not only keep your head warm, but they also fit perfectly under the helmet allowing the air to move freely and without letting the cold penetrate.
Neck warmers are also a good choice if your winter jacket doesn’t have a high neck. They are breathable and cover your neck and even your chin when it gets really cold. Make sure it’s not very tight though, as it can cause irritation and make you uncomfortable.
Gloves are absolutely essential during winter riding. They are waterproof, keep you dry and warm, and are practical. There are many different types of gloves you can choose from. Winter gloves with heavy insulation can make it difficult for you to control brakes and operate your gears. However, lobster gloves, split fingers into two sets, allowing you to easily operate with your gears and keep you warm at the same time.
All this clothing won’t do much good if your feet are cold. A pair of winter boots provide extra protection and warmth as they come with insulation and a water-resistant shell. Cycling-specific boots are great for those who are actively riding during all winter, otherwise, normal winter boots work just fine.
Nothing can be more frustrating than not being prepared with the proper clothes for the weather. Carefully chosen clothes when biking go a long way in keeping you cozy, snug, and happy.