What to Wear Cycling

Cycling clothing is specifically designed to make your time on the bike as comfortable as it can be. From protecting you from unpredictable weather and surface spray to keeping your nether regions comfy and sore free and of course, making sure you look the part, cycling kit is definitely worth investing in. The price of cycling clothing can vary, but typically the more you spend, the more technologically advanced the garment will be. There is a lot of research that goes into making cycling clothing fit well and prevent overheating, chilling and chafing so beware opting for the cheap options; you have been warned!


What to Wear Road Cycling?

If you’re planning to get some miles in on the road bike, make sure you are wearing the right kit for ultimate comfort. Whilst road cycling kit may look a bit odd to those outside of the roadie clan, it is designed to make you feel comfortable on the bike for longer and will assist you in improving your performance. Road cyclists typically opt for tight fitting garments to help improve aerodynamics and comfort. 


Road cycling tops or jerseys can be short or long sleeved and are typically made out of a breathable, wicking fabric to keep you cool in the summer, or thermal properties to keep you warm in the winter. The neck will be high to protect you from the sun and they usually have pockets on the back that are handy for carrying gels, snacks, bike tools and even spare clothing. 



Lycra shorts and tights with an integrated chamois are essential for road cycling. The tight fit is perfect for aerodynamics and a padded bum area keeps you comfortable in the saddle. You can also choose from waist shorts or bib shorts depending on your preference. 



If the weather is changeable, arm and leg warmers can be slipped off during your ride as you warm up or put on if it gets a bit cold. They are small enough to carry in your jersey pockets and give you the best of both worlds when the weather is a bit unpredictable.



Road cycling gloves are designed to protect you from the cold in the winter and they can give you a bit more grip on the handlebars too. Look for gloves with a bit of padding to dampen the vibrations from the road and prevent wrist pain.



If it is cold or the forecast is for rain, a lightweight waterproof and windproof jacket is a good idea. Choose a cycling jacket that is well fitted so it’s not flapping around in the breeze, breathable and has handy pockets. Arm vents will help you to regulate your temperature too.



A good pair of breathable socks will help keep your feet fresh and working harder for longer. Combine these with a pair of stiff soled cycling shoes to maximise your pedal power. Check out our cycling footwear guide for more advice on what to wear on your feet. 

What to Wear Mountain Biking


Mountain biking apparel is somewhat more relaxed in style than road cycling kit. With less concern for streamlining and aerodynamics and more focus on style, comfort and versatility, the fit of mountain biking kit is loose and the materials robust.


Baggy shorts are the main staple of any mountain biker’s wardrobe, often worn with padded lycra shorts underneath for added comfort. Some baggies will actually have a padded liner built in but you’ll rarely see a lycra clad rider on the trails, unless they are hardcore XC racers.



On top, a breathable loose fitted t-shirt, short or longsleeved,  is a must, but there’s no need for pockets as you’ll usually be carrying a backpack with all of your essentials, food and tools.



Mountain Biking Jackets will need to protect you from the rain, mud and splashes so look for styles with good waterproof qualities, taped seams, a high collar and a dropped back tail for extra coverage when riding.



Due to the daredevil nature of mountain biking, most riders wear some body armour whether it’s knee pads, elbow coverage or a full on chest or back plate in extreme cases. This is another reason why baggy shorts and t-shirts are essential.



On to your hands and you’ll want full long fingered gloves to protect your digits from any bumps or scrapes if you fall off the bike, and in the winter thermal options protect from frostbite. Due to the dynamic movement of mountain bikes as they move over uneven terrain, gloves are also essential for grip.



Last but not least, a good pair of breathable socks in the summer and maybe some waterproof socks in the winter will keep your feet feeling fresh and allow you to drop the gears and slam the power down through the pedals. Check out our cycling footwear guide for more advice on what shoes to wear.

What to Wear on your Cycling Commute


Some commutes are short enough that you can wear your normal work clothes on the bike, but lengthy commutes will probably require cycling specific kit. Whether you go down the roadie lycra route or take a more relaxed style, here are a couple of things that every commuter needs in their armoury....



A good waterproof and windproof jacket will keep you warm and dry, whatever the weather and there are some great designs that can be worn out on your lunch break or in the pub after work too. Look for jackets with taped seams, a high collar and a dropped tail at the back for optimal comfort whilst on the bike.



Another factor to consider is how well you can be seen by motorists and other cyclists on the roads. Opt for bright colours or even better, a high vis jacket or top. Modern high visibility cycling jackets are very well made and much more stylish than they used to be. And if you are not a fan of the traditional fluorescent yellow, why not opt for green, blue, silver or even black with reflective panels instead. 

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