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Cycling Clothing and Equipment

Cycling apparel is vital to maximising both comfort and efficiency when riding. No matter at what level you participate in the sport, the correct clothing and equipment will prove to be a valuable investment, reaping the reward of many hours of worry free cycling.

Cyling Holiday

Progressive plan Cycling Running through the kit entailed, the following systematic checklist will ensure that you leave nothing behind when heading out on a ride. In a similar vein to the classic children’s song, “heads, shoulders, knees and toes”, we can list the cyclist’s apparel from head to toe: Helmet, glasses, jersey, gloves, shorts, socks and shoes.

On your head, a good fitting cycling helmet. A helmet too big will slip around on your head and will probably not do its job properly if you happen to fall. On the other hand, if a helmet is too small it will cause discomfort or headaches. Luckily helmets these days are highly adjustable, so when you visit your local cycling shop ask for the help of an experienced assistant in fitting your lid.

Progressive plan Cycling To protect your eyes, a pair of cycling glasses. There are a wide variety of brands and styles on the market when it comes to eye ware. The most important elements of good cycling glasses are UV protection, sufficient shielding of the wind and snugness of fit. It is often useful to have rubber coated arms to the glasses, since this keeps them snugly in place even when you are looking down. Keep in mind that some glasses do not have adequate airflow capacity, and as a result can mist up under certain conditions, especially when it is cold.

To keep you warm, a cycling shirt (better known as a cycling jersey). A cycling jersey fits relatively tightly to reduce the amount of fabric available to flap in the wind. Aerodynamics is thus very important, and when riding into a stiff headwind you will appreciate your jersey and pity those riding home in baggy t-shirts. The jersey typically has three pockets at the back where you can store energy bars, spare tubes, keys and your mobile phone. The pockets are at the back to minimise wind drag. When choosing a jersey you may want to look at the length of the zip in front. A longer zip is handy for riding in warmer climates, or on long climbs. Also, if you are riding amongst traffic it is advisable to wear bright or visible clothing.

Safeguarding your hands, a cushioning pair of cycling gloves. You will never appreciate your gloves more than after an unlucky fall. The more experience you gain, the less you will fall, but even the professional succumbs to gravity once in a while. Many times it will be another cyclist who causes you to fall, so it is best to be protected against this treacherous anomaly. A pair of cycling gloves will save the skin on your hands; simple as that. Another benefit of gloves, however, is the added comfort they provide for your hands on the handlebar.

For comfort on the saddle, a pair of padded cycling shorts will stave off bruising of the rear. The other benefit is the aerodynamic factor discussed above with concern to the cycling jersey. When buying cycling shorts, the biggest choice (next to colour) will be whether to go for a pair of draw-string shorts or a pair of bib-shorts. Most people prefer bib-shorts for the comfort they give. The draw-string type, or shorts with elastic around the waist, can be irritating and uncomfortable. Nevertheless it is a personal choice and it is perhaps best to fit the two types in order to make a decision.

Keeping the feet snug, yet ventilated, a pair of cycling socks. Basically cycling socks are a fashion item, although it is important that whatever socks you choose, they should not be too thick. This is important in combination with a good fitting pair of shoes, so as not to restrict blood circulation. Mostly cycling socks are short and predominantly white.

And on your feet, to improve efficiency, a pair of cycling shoes. The hard sole will reduce the amount of power lost between the foot and pedal, increasing your cycling proficiency. Riding in soft soled sports shoes will allow the foot to bend around the pedal, resulting in an annoying energy loss. The firmer the sole, the more power will be transferred from your legs into forward motion on the bicycle. Apart from the sole, it is important that the shoe fits correctly, not too tight and not too loose. Velcro straps are the most common means of fastening the shoe.