Bike Shoes and Clothing Buying Guide
Here's where some people draw the line on bike stuff. Once you start wearing tight spandex shorts and neon jerseys (also tight) there's no turning back!
I can totally understand if you don't want to wear this kind of stuff out in public, but this specialty clothing will greatly enhance your cycling experience. It's made from high tech fabrics that are light and comfortable in all conditions.
Although I never had a problem parading around in spandex or shaving my legs, my dad sure had a hard time accepting it! (I started when I was 15 or 16 I think.)
Once you spend some time in the saddle, you'll realize how important your clothing (especially the shorts) is.
The following general tips will help you determine the essential bicycle clothing needed for a comfortable, safe, and efficient bike ride.
Cycling Shorts include a pad in the crotch area to increase comfort. The tight, close fitting keeps fabrics from rubbing your skin and causing irritation. Bike shorts are to be worn alone - no underwear! Shorts are made from flexible lycra material sewn together in panels (usually 6 or 8). Look into bib shorts for the ultimate in comfort! (And no plumber's butt!)
Baggies are a great alternative to tight lycra shorts and are very practical for mountain bikers, tourists, and commuters since they aren't quite as revealing. Baggies also come with liners, pads, crotch gusset as well as adjustable waistbands.
Tights keep your legs warm when it's cold. Muscles function better when they are warm and protected from the elements, and you'll be more comfortable. The ones without padding should be worn OVER regular padded shorts.
The technical fabric of cycling jerseys pulls moisture off of your skin to keep you dry. These jerseys do not absorb moisture so they don't get heavy with perspiration. Tight jerseys help reduce drag caused by the wind. Most jerseys will have three rear pockets, which are convenient for food and spare tubes. Jerseys come in short-sleeved, long-sleeved and sleeveless varieties for all weather conditions.
Gloves provide padding to help increase comfort and relieve hand numbness while riding. Riding too long without gloves can actually cause nerve damage! They also protect hands in case of a fall and are used to wipe sweat (or snot) from your face. Half-finger gloves are most common, but in cold weather, opt for full finger gloves or glove liners.
I put together a complete page for winter cycling gloves.
Sunglasses protect your eyes from wind, dirt, debris, and the sun while riding. It's not uncommon for someone else's rear wheel to shoot glass or rocks up at your face, so take precaution!
You can get sunglasses with a prescription insert if you regularly wear glasses. If you prefer contacts, take a look at Focus Night & Day lenses, which have been great for me!