For a comfortable cyclic experience, one needs to have the right clothing and equipment. Just like any other sport, cycling also needs a particular apparel to make sure one is comfortable during the ride. The apparel that is designed for cycling and biking is different for experiences such as mountain biking, road biking, track racing, tandem cycling, downhill biking, etc. The cycling clothing usually consists of bicycle shorts of various types, rain gear, jerseys, helmets, gloves, socks, shoes, base layer and helmets.
Cycling shorts can be baggy shorts, bib shorts, or fitted shorts. They help in cycling effectively and with comfort. The cycling shorts are made of a nylon spandex material that is durable and stretches too. Apart from this other material such as polyester is mixed to the spandex and provides breathability. It also protects the skin from friction against the frame or seat of the bicycle. These fabrics also help in the evaporation of moisture from the skin and prevent it from chafing or rashes. They also increase the aerodynamic efficiency by reducing wind resistance. The shorts usually have a padded stretch liner that helps in prevention of chafing. The pads can vary in thickness. Fitted bicycle shorts can either be 4 panel, 6 panel or 8 panel, and help the body to rest in the cycling position. Based on the body types the number of panels needed could be determined. The Bib shorts are held by sewn in suspenders or braces unlike other shorts that are held by an elastic waistband. These shorts are good for riders who are tall as the suspenders hold the shorts in place from behind. The regular shorts usually tend to fall down from behind when riding. Elastic waistbands shorts must be avoided as they hold the body very tightly and can result in skin irritation and discomfort.
Another piece of apparel worn while cycling is cycling jerseys. They are either made of polyester or other fabrics blended with polyester that can help in breathability and are also capable of wicking away moisture. For layering one could wear a polyester base layer or any other garment that can provide comfort. Choose jerseys with pockets if you wish to carry useful things in pockets that you need when you are riding. Jerseys having zippers in front should be used as one can simply adjust the zipper and control the ventilation. bicycle jerseys
Apart from clothing, there are other necessary components of bicycle clothing. They are
- Helmets: Helmets should not be avoided. They help in preventing critical injuries to the head and ensure safety when one is riding.
- Gloves: Gloves provide padding to hands and thus prevent them from getting scraped in a fall or cold from winter weather. They also help in absorbing road shock.
- Glasses: Wearing glasses can protect eyes from dust and bugs, just like a cars windshield.
- Cycling Shoes: These shoes are attached to the bike pedals with the help of clip-in systems. They help in improving the efficiency of a pedal stroke. Cycling shoes are lightweight but have stiff soles. For mountain biking, shoes with flexible rubber soles are preferred.
- Bottles or Bidons: Carry a bottle to stay hydrated while riding.