When you’re setting out on the road on your new bike, the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable or at risk of injury. By investing in just five indispensable items for road cycling, you can ensure that you not only look stylish as you cruise on by, but that you are safe and comfortable too!
Perhaps one of the most indispensable items for anyone spending a significant amount of time on their two-wheeled friend, cycling shorts or bib shorts are great for providing padding and protecting for your rear for longer journeys. Try to spend as much as you can afford on a quality pair of shorts that will not only look great but last you for years to come.
Practically an essential piece of kit for any cyclist, you should spend money on a well-fitting helmet to ensure your safety whilst riding on the road. When you consider that 91% of cyclists killed on the road in 2009 weren’t wearing helmets, it makes sense to ensure that you are protected. Always look for a lightweight, well-ventilated helmet and try it on before buying to make sure it fits properly – an inadequate fitting helmet won’t protect you properly from injury!
Whilst not absolutely indispensable, if you’re going to spend a lot of time on your bike, investing in a quality cycling jersey makes sense. For summer, choose a short sleeved jersey with a long zip and back pockets, and for winter opt for long sleeves. Most cycling jerseys are designed from fabrics which either protect you from the cold or keep you cool whilst trapping sweat away from your body. This is pretty important if you want to enjoy your ride in comfort when it’s hot!
Whilst you could cycle on the road in a decent pair of sturdy trainers, it makes sense to invest in road shoes and pedals. They can be expensive, particularly if you opt for carbon-soled lightweight shoes in the latest popular styles, but Shimano’s range of fibreglass reinforced nylon cycling shoes are available from most retailers at a reasonable price and will ensure your feet are comfortable and protected from the elements.
Long journeys can lead to sore palms and discomfort when gripping, so why not choose a pair of Velcro fastening gloves with in-built foam and gel padding, to help you enjoy a safe and comfortable ride – there’s no risk of grazed palms if you take a tumble! Lightweight cycling gloves are stylish and available in a range of colours to co-ordinate with the rest of your cycling gear.
Why not order your cycling clothing from encove.co.uk online, where you will benefit from speedy delivery and discounts on Deko brand ranges.
If you think you will be doing a lot of cycling in winter, having overshoes is a must. Having all your shoes, socks, and feet soaked up while cycling can be a big nuisance. To make your commute more bearable during this harsh season, you should definitely ride with overshoes on. You might not like the way you look when wearing overshoes, but they really help in keeping your toes warm and that is when you’ll be really grateful you bought them. But when purchasing overshoes you have to look out for a few things one of which is the fabric of the overshoe.
For wintery rainy days, neoprene overshoes are one of the best options to go for. This is because neoprene really works well trapping the air between your neoprene overshoes and the shoes you’re wearing inside. There are some added features that you should also consider when purchasing neoprene shoes. Look for ones that have Velcro fastening. This really helps you in getting a good fit. Most people complain of the struggle they have to go through when trying to find the right size for them. But with this Velcro fastening feature, it will become a lot easier for you to wear your overshoes, take them off, and get a good fit.
Some overshoes have 3M reflective panels. These are really helpful for added visibility. If you will be doing a lot of cycling this winter, it is best that you look for neoprene overshoes that have these reflective panels on them. Also look for overshoes that have a toughened toe-point in them. This will add to the comfort of the shoe and you will not feel any pain when cycling for long hours wearing your neoprene overshoes. Finding the right size in your neoprene shoes can be the biggest challenge. But some neoprene shoes these days are coming with a rear zip. This really helps in getting a snug fit as they have a Velcro heel tab and a snap-down puller for added comfort and easy wear.
The best thing about neoprene overshoes is that they bend very well while you’re pedaling which is really important for cyclists. The neoprene overshoes work great in all temperature ranges. They are designed to withstand all kinds harsh conditions and can even be washed to maintain a clean new look. Considering their affordable price, they are a must-have for winter rainy seasons.
Why would you choose bib shorts over something less flashy? After all, perhaps you do enjoy mountain biking or some other form of ‘more energetic than average’ cycling but don’t necessarily want to look like an Olympian?
At this point you really have to start thinking about yourself. Don’t fixate on how others perceive you. Concentrate on how much you enjoy your cycling. And if you enjoy it a lot, are there ways you could improve the experience?
Of course there are always ways to improve performance. There are many accessories available to you – padded undershorts, jerseys, gloves, leg warmers and many more. But bib shorts are amongst the best, which is why you should give these important items of cycling clothing some serious consideration.
While bib shorts are built for supreme aerodynamics, there’s a whole lot more to them. They provide excellent back support, not to mention cushioning that crucial point where body meets bike seat! What about simple comfort? The lack of a waistband ensures there are never any issues with your gear riding up your body or loosening. The bib shorts stay moulded to your physique, allowing you to concentrate on the job in hand. Bib shorts will keep the chamois in place, which is especially useful when you’re jumping in and out of the saddle a lot during terrain biking.
A common gripe is the temperature issue. The Lycra effect does look a bit smothering, doesn’t it? However, bib shorts are specially designed. Examine them close-up and you’ll see that while they might resemble the restrictive covering of wetsuit from a distance, they are actually built with a layer of light mesh. This allows the garment to ‘breathe’ very well. This helps to wick sweat, like a base layer.
How to choose your bib shorts is always an issue. Unlike choosing other items of cycling clothing, where you can usually select based on your normal garment sizing, these can vary between brands. It’s really recommended to try before you buy. Sometime you can discover straps that are so loose fit you might as well be wearing normal shorts. Another tip is to buy your bib shorts based on wearing them on your bike. This might seem like common sense but you get a far better idea of how the shorts will fit as you sit on the saddle, rather than preening in front of the mirror!
I love to mountain bike. There is simply nothing like mounting your trusty cycle and escaping from city streets clogged with four-wheeled road-hogs, or cycle paths populated by red-faced weekend cyclists. There is something intensely liberating about hurtling down rugged terrain – if I was into any of that Zen-type philosophy I might even venture to mention some ditty about feeling at one with the gravelly paths to inner enlightenment. But I’m not really any kind of philosopher so I’ll enthuse about baggy cycling shorts instead.
An essential part of my mountain cycling experience is the kit I choose to wear. Unlike cycling in town, where there can be buildings or bridges to shelter beneath when the weather turns nasty, when you’re out there in the wilds, you have to be fully protected at all times. So fashion consciousness is not necessarily as high priority. I used to be one of those guys you’d see zipping in and out of traffic, clad in those tight-fitting Lycra outfits that were intended to make my body as aerodynamic as possible. Now I’m quite happy with my baggy shorts. They might not make me look as svelte or athletic but who cares? Mountain biking isn’t exactly a catwalk. What is always first and foremost on my priority list is comfort and practicality.
I tend to go for nylons or polyester. These are wonderfully durable materials; resistant to ripping and provides elasticated waistbands and stretchy polyester lining. Shorts designed for mountain biking usually come with gel padding as well – although be wary of too much of the latter. I once tried on a pair of excessively padded shorts and it felt like I was trying to balance on a large pillow.
The polyester lining allows good wicking and gives excellent ventilation, maintaining an even air flow that keeps me cool, and counteracts the sweating that can be very discomforting as you hurtle down those mountain tracks. The highly durable material resists abrasion and won’t fade after time. I get a lot more wear out of my mountain cycling shorts than other cycle gear that I’ve eventually discarded because it started to look tired and worn.
My favourite pair of baggy shorts is actually two shorts for the price of one. They have a baggy exterior shell, allowing for ventilation and a padded short inside. They also come with pockets which are ideal for storing anything I need to have to hand, from phones to iPods to my house keys.
How serious are you as a cyclist? Is it something you see as a hobby – a straightforward way to exercise that also gets you out of the house? Or do you take it a bit more seriously? You see it as one of the most effective ways there are of keeping fit, maintaining fitness levels while working muscles throughout your body? Perhaps, like me, you tick all of the above boxes but are secretly drawn to some of the fantastic fashions that are available for cyclists these days.
I admit that I love getting onto my biking and heading out towards the sunset, whether that’s on some exciting cross-country terrain, or my daily trip to the office. But I also insist that I both feel and look cool. I don’t see it as vanity at all. When you’re out and about on your cycle you are fairly exposed, after all. When I weave through vehicles queuing at traffic lights to make my way right to the front, in full view of the jealous road users crammed behind, obviously I want to look as confident as I feel. So here’s my brief rundown of my coolest cycle wear.
By far my favourite top is my Campagnalo cycling jersey. This is ideal for longer cycle runs and its material is guaranteed to keep me (literally) cool during warmer weather. It consists of two-way stretch fabric and contains hydrophilic anti-bacteria fibres. These jerseys are made from recycled polyester, so they’re environmentally-friendly, too. But what I most love about this item of cycle wear is the colour scheme. It comes with a bright white centre panel and lurid red sleeves with black facings. Not only does it look eye-catching to wear, you can be sure that other road users will see you coming from a long way off.
When it comes to eye-wear, I own several pairs of fetching sunglasses. Although these can be essential when cycling in sunny conditions, they also look fabulous. My glasses have clear frames and I have red and blue frames. I’ve lost count of the types of lens I’ve had through the years – yellow, blue, silver - but they all look great. The finishing touch is always the head strap, ensuring these never fly off, no matter what sort of a pace you get going. They are also sleekly designed, ensuring they can easily fit into a pouch or pocket when you decide you don’t actually need to put them on.