What Is the Best Outdoor Cycling Gear to Wear?
The purpose of this article is to give you some good knowledge as to what the best types of outdoor cycling gear, that you should consider buying. A lot of these choices will of course come down to your riding style, the distances you plan on doing, and the UK climate conditions.
Those of us who cycle a lot, know there is a very wide-range of cycling gear available. Most people can not afford to buy all of it. Therefore you do have to try and narrow it down to a few important choices. To do that, it is worth asking yourself a few basic questions.
Here are the most important questions to ask yourself:
- What cycling gear, if any, is required by law?
- What cycling gear will give me the most comfort for the bicycling I plan to do?
- Finally what gear and equipment is needed for the summer/winter conditions in the UK?
What Outdoor Cycling Gear is Available?
To help answer the questions above, it is worth knowing the full range of cycling gear, that is actually available. I have listed that just below:
Cycling shorts - normal and gel padded, bib shorts
Cycling underwear shorts
Cycling jerseys - half sleeve and full sleeve
Cycling gloves - mitts
Cycling hats and helmets
Underneath you can see some images of all the available cycling gear. Click on any of the images, if you want to see a bigger image.
Cycling T shirt
As you can see there is quite a long list. These are of course all available for both men and women. Now of course you don't need all of this, but you will certainly want to know what is available, and then decide how little or how much of this you will need.
What Cycling Gear is Required by UK Law?
While almost all of these are optional, there are some basic elements that are required by law. However in the UK, there are no clothing regulations. Essentially if you ride a bike on the UK roads, then it should be in good condition and adequately maintained. The bike also has to have working brakes and working lights.
In Northern Ireland, their law states that you should also have a working bell on your bike.
Even though it is "not" compulsory to wear a helmet, we would highly recommend that you do that. There are plenty of options available, and a properly fitted helmet could just save your life. We would also suggest that wearing reflective clothing, or hi-viz are a good idea, though again not a legal requirement.
There is of course the highway code for cyclists, which you can read here if you wish. This link will take you to the UK Government website of the Highway Code for Cyclists.
What Cycling Gear Provides the Most Comfort?
This will vary depending on the type of cycling that you plan on doing. For example someone cycling to work every day, will have different clothing requirements, to a person who takes their bike out on the road at the weekend.
The important thing is to have the right gear, that offers you a high degree of comfort, and avoids the dreaded saddle sore. Cycling shorts are great for longer rides. These help you stay cool while you are exerting yourself on the roadway.
The better quality cycling shorts are made of special material made specifically for comfort and moisture control. They usually have a padded seat or a gel padding for extra protection and comfort for extensive riding.
These could still be worn to work, if you have changing facilities there, or you could change in the bathroom. So it very much depends on the nature of cycling that you want to do.
Cycling jerseys come in a whole range these days. The sleeveless cycling jersey is designed to help keep you cool on long-rides. Depending on the weather long sleeve jerseys are better if you need to stay warm.
We would also recommend that mountain bikers who ride through brush and trees should look for a long-sleeve cycling jersey to protect their arms from abrasions.
Cycling shirts or jerseys of good quality will be made of synthetic fabric that is comfortable, lightweight and moisture resistant. (often referred to as having wicking properties) This will ensure that, whether long or short-sleeved, the jersey will help a rider maintain a good body temperature.
What Cycling Equipment & Gear is Best for the Different Weather Conditions?
In the UK nothing is more unreliable that the weather. Those of us who love to cycle head out in all kinds of weather. That is certainly true if your bike is the primary form of transportation.
For cold winter days, a cycling jacket or a wool cycling jersey will keep you warm against the cooler air. Again good quality versions of these will keep you dry by sweeping the sweat away from your skin.
Windproof and rainproof jackets are also available for wind and rain protection.
Cycling pants or knee warmers, also help keep your knees and legs warm and flexible. So a good combination of jersey, jacket and pants will help you have a pleasant ride, even when the weather is less than ideal.
In Spring and Summer your cycling apparel should mirror what you would wear on long rides. For us here at the Home Biker that should be good cycling or bib shorts and a sleeveless jersey.
You may want to carry a lightweight, compact cycling jacket with you in case of the odd outburst of rain. There are a number of jackets available that can be easily stowed when the temperature rises.
Good cycling jackets are also made of breathable material that incorporates ventilation, like mesh vents, in the fabric are ideal.
As you can see there are many choices in bicycle clothing and not all of them are necessary. Depending on what type of cycling you do, you may find that less is more. But, if you are seriously into cycling, then choosing a variety of bicycle clothing is in your advantage.
You will feel much more apt to get out there on your bike if you have all of the proper equipment, including comfortable clothing that helps to keep your body temperature regulated and dry.