A bicycle is a perfect air-conditioned vehicle because the wind is cooling you in the summer and your body generates heat in the winter. It is important to wear proper clothes which give the most comfort depending on various weather conditions and cycling distances.
Generally, cycling apparel should not restrict your body movements, be breathable and draw sweat from the skin. Of course, try to avoid longer clothes (long cardigans, dresses, coats etc.) that can be stuck in the chain, brakes or wheel.
For short rides you can wear anything you can walk with if you feel comfortable enough. If you are going to ride a longer or faster distance, you will need more comfortable, specific cycling apparel.
1. Avoid cotton
Cotton is not the best option because it holds sweat and keeps you wet and uncomfortable. You should rather choose clothes made from synthetic fabrics like polyester, lycra or nylon. Clothes from these fabrics shift the sweat from your skin, are more breathable and wrinkle-resistant.
2. Don’t use non-breathable waterproof clothes
Non-breathable waterproof jackets and trousers are great only when you are not moving actively, otherwise you will get wet from inside within minutes. During higher temperatures when rain is in short bursts don’t bother about waterproof clothing. It would be much wiser to use fast drying clothes because the wind will dry them very quickly. In colder weather you might want to consider using breathable waterproof clothing.
3. Use windproof clothes in cool weather or windy days
Cycling is an activity when the wind is always with you. The wind can be very enjoyable during summer but when it gets cooler, it can make you freezing cold in minutes. The best solution is not to take more clothes but to wear windproof clothes like light windproof jacket and pants instead.
4. Base layer is important
Good base layer will keep you warm in colder weather and will move sweat away from your skin. Many people say that in colder temperatures, there is nothing better than Merino wool base layer. Merino wool gives more warmth than synthetic fabrics. For rainy and warmer weather use polyester or polyester blends which can include nylon, polypropylene or spandex. These fabrics are light and dry quickly.
5. Keep feet and hands warm in freezing temperature
Keeping feet and hands warm is the most important thing to keep in mind when the temperature outside is below zero because the cold wind is freezing these body parts the most. In such weather conditions you should wear warm gloves which let you shift gears and brake properly (sometimes double gloves might do the thing). A good choice could be split fingers gloves or other warmer windproof gloves. Use bigger shoes for your feet which let you put extra socks and still leave some space between feet and shoes for warm air pockets. During longer cycling trips you can use toes and hand warmers which can keep heating you for up to 6 hours.
6. Bright colorful clothes can save you
It is easier for drivers to spot you when you are wearing bright color clothes. Use clothing with reflectors or wear a reflective vest when riding in the dark. And forget the fact that sometimes you wont look very fashionable because safety is always first.
So the basic rules are:
- Avoid cotton.
- Use breathable synthetic fabrics.
- Wear windproof clothes.
- Be visible.
- Wear right base layer.
- Protect your hands and feet ant freezing temperature.
- Stay comfortable and enjoy cycling.