Cycle Clothing - The Outsider's Inside Line to Roadwear
You've seen them whizzing past the window and you've often thought about joining their ranks. With the promise of spring and scorching summer days ahead, a life by bike has never been more enticing, but, what sort of cycle clothing do you need to get rolling? Well, dive into our slipstream and take a tow from us as we give you a quick low down on the cycling gear that will see you cutting a swathe through the peloton.
cycle clothing 101 - The Jersey
Now, by far the most drool-worthy item in the cyclist's kit bag is the jersey. Transitioning in time from wools, through acrylics to the more modern use of Lycra, polyesters and four way stretch fabrics, the humble bike jersey has maintained it's quintessentially practical character. Three rear pockets still adorn the rear as standard, making sure that you can carry that multi-tool and multi-grain snack with you, whilst also bringing your phone along for the ride or emergency shop stop - plastic bag charge be damned! Modern examples have variable weave patterns in order to improve aerodynamic performance and provide better ventilation to the underarm. Add to this silicon grippers at the arm and hem, and it's clear that the modern cycle jersey is a fairly technical piece of kit, and something there to aid your performance on the bike.
Beyond practicalities though, the jersey is the closest thing to a canvas that cycle clothing gets. Style counts, and that's why we spend an inordinate amount of time scouring the interweb for everything from foreign, far off boutique brands to the home-grown triumphs - we do our best to champion the little guy toting the coolest cycling kits and bits. Recently, we've noted the resurgence of bold, colourful patterns. If you're feeling fearless, check out the latest kits from Australian road brand, Pedla, who have been going down a storm with their latest cycling kit for SS16. If you identify more with a timeless grace and style, perhaps think about brands like Café du Cycliste and their range that oozes more French class and refinement than an over-filled pain au chocolat.
A background to bib shorts
Once you've nailed down your choice of jersey, you would do well to turn your mind to the practical consideration of what to cover your lower quarters with. The answer? Well, it was always going to be lycra, wasn't it? Yes, us cyclists have a reputation, but only amongst those who have never been afforded the opportunity to pull on a pair of bib shorts and marvel at the feeling of security, sleek, and slender comfortability that comes with these beasts. Now, there's no way to sugar coat this - the bib short is a pant free zone. Yes, you heard right, but, again, us practically minded cyclists have a response to your expressions of disbelief - putting power down whilst riding on the saddle requires movement, and that friction against a second layer can cause all types of problems. Best to stick with the welcoming chamois seat pad and holster straps.
Now, the old school and cycling vanguard get a little fussy about bib shorts that aren't straight up black, but the subversive cyclists out there have been crying out for something a little more adventurous. Which colour have these reckless cycling rebels painted their padded short revolution, you ask? Yes. That's right. Navy.
Still, we're getting there, right?
So, it's plain to see that bicycle clothing is clearly stepping up a gear. At last, your kit need no longer be either boring or graphically busy - in the modern world of cycle clothing, design is key, and that, frankly, is good news for you and me. So, we hope that has cleared up some of the finer, and, more delicate points of basic cycling apparel, but stay tuned for more guides in the future. From the best of warmers to top performers, there's sure to be something that will get you going - so watch this space!
The Rising Blue Tide