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MUST-HAVE ROAD CYCLING ESSENTIALS
YOU SHOULD ENSURE YOU’RE DRESSED ACCORDINGLY WHEN OUT ON YOUR BIKE
Whenever you choose to hop on your bike, whether it’s for a leisurely ride to visit friends at a coffee shop, commuting to work, or beating your PB on your favourite route; you should always ensure you’re dressed accordingly. The range of cycling clothing available on the market is diverse, and there are a broad variety of products to choose from, but there are a number of essentials that you should be wearing every time you venture out on the road.
Wearing a helmet is absolutely essential and you should literally wear one every time you go cycling, even if it’s for the shortest of trips, you never know when the worst may occur. Helmets come in a broad range of designs and styles, but when it comes to buying one for yourself, you should look to buy one that offers excellent protection, ventilation and comfort.
Eyewear, such as glasses or goggles, provide protection of the eyes to ensure the rider’s visibility is never compromised, as you never know when something from the road could flick up and hit you in the face. Whether it’s water from wet weather or objects on the road, without mudguards or eyewear your vision is exposed to potential impairment, which could lead to further injury so don’t take any chances.
Base layers are a big favourite among cyclists and are generally worn underneath other cycling clothing, in order to maintain an optimum body temperature and stay cool and dry. When your body perspires, excess sweat is transferred into your base layer where moisture is drawn away from your skin before being evaporated. As such, cyclists can wear base layers to keep the body warm or cool, depending on the weathering conditions.
Although it seems like a pretty obvious inclusion to this list, ensuring that you’re clearly visible to motorists when out on the road is an absolute necessity in order to prevent an accident. As such, you should wear some form of high visibility or brightly coloured clothing, no matter what time of the day you’re riding. Even in the day time, you may feel that motorists can see you, but you shouldn’t take any chances.
Jacket / Gilet
Jackets and Gilets are perfect items of cycling clothing to wear in cold or wet weather, and are designed to keep you both warm and dry when out cycling on the road. More specifically though, Gilets can be worn all-year round as they provide both ventilation and protection against harsh conditions. Jackets on the other hand, are more suited to cold and wet weather, as they cover your arms to keep them dry too.
Tights / Trousers
Cycling tights offer similar benefits as base layers, as they help to maintain an optimum body temperature and are elasticated for comfort. However, tights aren’t always worn underneath other clothing items and generally worn instead of trousers. Cycling trousers are more suited to cycling in cold and wet weather because they’re generally waterproof and quick and easy to dry.
Not only will gloves keep your hands warm when cycling, but they’ll also help to ease the effects of friction on your hands from gripping your handlebars over longer periods of time. Whether you prefer short or long fingered gloves, you should look to purchase a pair with padding to prevent your hands from blistering.
Cycling socks are designed to ‘hug’ your feet to keep them warm when cycling, but also to provide flexibility and comfort to prevent unnecessary chafing or blistering on long rides. Some pairs of cycling socks are even waterproof, which can further help to protect the condition of your feet by keeping them dry.
Since most road bikes will have road pedals with a clip in mechanism that enables the rider to attach their cycling shoes, riders will have to wear a pair of cleats that clip to the pedals on the sole. Not only that, but cycling shoes are far more robust, than a standard pair of shoes and generally have Velcro straps rather than laces to prevent the risk of injury through entanglement.
Ultimately, the choice of what you wear when cycling out on the road is yours, but you should think sensibly about your attire before you set off. In many cases, weather conditions will dictate what you will and will not wear on any given day, but you should ensure that you have the right kit to ride the elements.