When you want to be able to enjoy a ride with your friends there are a few things that you just can’t control such as the weather, but what you can do is dress smart. To give you plenty of food for thought we’re going to take a look at how to choose the perfect clothes for all of your riding needs. Whether you love to ride the trails on your mountain bike or take on mountain climbs on your racing bike, we’ve got you covered.
Mountain Biking in the Summer: Combining Protection With Comfort
When you head off-road the risks increase, which to be fair is half the fun! The mud may have dried out weeks ago, but you’re still tackling all sorts of off-camber runs and tight switchbacks. This means that whilst you may want to stay nice and cool, you also need to cover up. Finding the right balance will depend on which discipline you’re focusing on that day.
Downhill and Free Riding are great examples because they really do require you to put protection before staying cool. What you want to do is swap out your motocross style pants for some shorts, but then add plenty of protection to your lower legs to compensate. Knee pads and shin guards are essential and think about whether you really need SPDs or you can make do with flats. The ability to release your feet quicker may just come in handy if your next stunt doesn’t go to plan. Then you’ll want a full face helmet, gloves, and plenty of protection for your elbows. Don’t worry about the goggles though if there’s no mud!
This all sounds pretty good, but what if you’re more into cross-country or road cycling?
Cycling Long Distances in the Summer: How to Stay Cool
Whether you like to indulge in a spot of cross country mountain biking or you’re one of those mountain goats that can happily spend a day riding through the mountains for 6 hours at a time the rules are the same. Long distance cyclists need to pay more attention to staying cool and layering than extreme mountain bikers do.
Plenty of people will make the mistake of heading out the door in a pair of padded shorts and a lightweight short sleeve jersey with nothing else for comfort. The problem with this is that as a cyclist you’re bound to run into a touch of wind chill on even the hottest day of the year. If you’re sat at home relaxing, then you may get tanned even while you’re sat in the shade. But if you’re going down the side of a mountain and hitting 40 mph then you’re going to get cold pretty fast.
Take a lightweight windbreaker with you so that you always have the option of increasing your layers. You’ll also want to bear in mind that you’re going to be sweating a lot which means that when you stop for some food or start descending you’re going to cool down a lot faster than if you were dry. Work with your body by finding a windbreaker with a vented back so that you can continue to cool naturally, but not so much that you start to cramp or feel drained of those all-important energy reserves.
Cycling Off Road in the Winter: Time to Get Kitted Up
If you want to know what to wear for any given ride then you need to check the weather forecast, there’s just no getting away from that.
You’re going to want all of the same protection as in the summer, but you also need to combat mud flying up everywhere. Long finger gloves are a must if you want to be able to keep a firm grip of your handlebars, and goggles are something you can’t afford to leave home without either. If you get a speck of dirt in your eye you might be going home faster than you think if you fall and hurt yourself. Don’t take the risk — take them with you because you can always remove them if you find you don’t need them after all.
The other thing you’re going to want to do is taking a warm waterproof jacket to wear over the top of your riding gear. This will allow you to keep warm and (relatively) dry if you find yourself pushing back to the top of the run as a sudden downpour hits. Take a small rucksack with you so that you can roll it up and store it when you start pedaling again. That way you won’t overheat and find yourself lagging behind.
Winter Road Cycling: A Difficult One to Get Right
Perhaps the hardest discipline to prepare for in the winter is good old road cycling. When you watch the pros on TV like Team Sky they seem to have a limitless supply of different ponchos and body warmers. But how can a mere mortal like yourself prepare? Again the answer is all about layering.
The winter clothes options that you need to consider are pretty extensive, so plan ahead rather than on the morning of your ride. That way you won’t get impetuous and charge out the door undressed and unprepared.
What you need to remember is that you will get quite warm within 15 minutes of leaving the house as you start to turn those gears over. This means that you want to dress for the middle part of your ride, not the beginning. Full-length leggings and gloves are ideal so that you can keep your extremities warm, but don’t overdo the upper body options.
Staying Cool in the Cold
This may sound a bit contradictory, but it’s exactly what you need to do. Wear a long sleeve jersey with a zipped front so that you can easily regulate your body temperature. Next, you need a thin body warmer to add a little extra coverage to your chest and back. And then you can top everything off with a windbreaker that should largely be reserved for rain and long winding descents. Go for compact lightweight options that can be rolled up and stored in the back pocket of your jersey.
If you’re going to treat yourself, you might also opt for a pair of overboots to go with your new SPDs. That way you won’t have to cycle 3 hours home in the pouring rain with soaking wet feet. No one likes that do they!
Now all you need to do is find some styles you like, and get out there and go for a ride.
This guest post is provided by Daniela McVicker from Writers Review.
Disclaimer: In every guest post there are just opinions from authors, not our statements, before buying products or service, learn more about the product! We don’t stand behind the products/service from the post, if there is any.