A Canadian just won the Giro D’Italia. The Tour de France starts on June 30 and runs to July 22. And of course the Olympics begin shortly after on July 27 with the first road cycling competition the very next day.
Needless to say, cycling season is upon us. If you’re getting into the summer cycling season, make sure you’re prepared.
- Invest in some proper cycling attire.
- Outfit your bike.
- Learn basic bike maintenance. (This is something I MUST learn how to do this summer!)
Although the last change the pace was about biking, I thought I’d do a mini series on the topic. This one will focus on road bike attire.
Of course you can hop on a bike in any athletic wear and ride. It may not be comfortable or functional, and more importantly it may not be safe.
Some factors to consider when choosing clothes for your ride are where you are riding and how long you plan on being out there.
Comfort-wise, the best item you can invest in is padded shorts. I own two pairs- one with thick padding and one with a thin chamois. They may not be attractive, but you’ll regret not wearing a pair!
I wear the thick ones on the bike trainer and at the beginning of the season when I’m building up again. I wear the thin ones on all my short rides, on long rides once my butt is more adjusted to the seat, and for any races. My favourite shorts are Pearl Izumi Elite tri short.
The second most important aspect of proper attire is colour. Bike shirts are loud for good reason. When you’re cycling on a busy highway you want to be seen! Try to find jerseys, vests, and jackets that are bright, patterned, and/or have reflective strips on them.
Lastly, most cycling jackets and jerseys have awesome pockets on the back. They are so handy to carry your favourite fuel, your cell phone, and any extra cycling equipment you need to carry. If you’re looking for a new top, check to see if it has sufficient pockets to carry everything you need.
You’ll also want to accessorize. Helmets, sunglasses, and bike gloves are essential. Go to a bike, triathlon, or sporting goods store and talk to them about finding the right helmet for you.
For riding, I wear Oakley Jawbones sunglasses. They are a bit bigger, which is good to block wind. They are vented to prevent the glasses from steaming up. And they have strong impact protection to prevent the glass from breaking if a rock hits you on the road. (Or a bee- those things hurt if you’re cycling fast!)
On any given spring or summer day I wear cycling shoes, dri-fit socks, shorts with a chamois, a cycling shirt (sometimes with a cycling jacket or vest on top), Road ID, Garmin, gloves, helmet, and sunglasses.
Downhill biking, mountain biking, cold weather riding, and cruising are all different. For optimal comfort and performance in any of these activities, you’ll want to switch up some or all aspects of your clothing decisions. Lets be honest- if I wore my bike shorts with full padding on my cruiser, it would be a laughable sight!
What’s your must-have cycling wear? Do you choose workout clothing for comfort, functionality, or style?