There are many choices of women's cycling apparel that address comfort, warmth, chafing and fit for a female's unique needs. The products we show here can be broken down into categories that each add a layer of comfort for cycling in the great outdoors. Riding Longer and Feeling Stronger is our motto because we love to share the "joy" of comfort with our fellow cyclists. Here are some cycling clothing inspirations:
Building a cycling wardrobe: The best way to build a wardrobe of cycling apparel is to buy pieces that build up a layering strategy. Layering starts with a first layer made from a wicking polyester or other hydrophobic fiber. Cotton is not good for the first layer because it absorbs sweat and gets wet. The wet fabric is not comfortable next to the skin so we don't wear cotton in the cold. The layer next to your skin should keep you dry and is usually a polyester fabric for best performance.
Bicycle Jerseys: The jersey layer has features like pockets, reflective elements and often, highly visible design so that you are noticeable to others on the road. Bike jerseys have easy access pockets so that your personal effects are easy to get to with one hand while riding. A cyclist will keep snacks, tissues and other personal items at had for each reach with one hand. The pockets can get heavy once you take off layers of clothing and add them to the pocket, The packets can snag the saddle when you are riding up and off the saddle, that is why they are set up higher ont he small of the back. This location for the pocket allows the weight to be carried comfortably.
Biking Jackets: One essential jacket should be a windbreaker that is lightweight and packable that you can carry in your pocket. It can be worn or taken off and stowed easily. The other jacket essential for a cyclist in a waterproof breathable jacket that can be worn in a variety of weather types, including rain, winter and windy conditions.
Cycling Tights: Cycling tights or long pants are essential for cold weather riding. The common knowledge about cycling is to cover the knees when the temperature goes below 70 degrees. The needed protection for biking can be covered with two pair one a lightweight spandex stretch tight and the second pant with windproof fronts and thermal insulation.
Gloves: a pair of fingerless gloves is ideal for most riding. Cycling gloves have pads to prevent abrasion. Gloves are sometimes used by road riders to wipe the tire after riding through glass or puncture materials. Cycling gloves often have gel inserted in the palm to take pressure off the median nerve in the hand. However, in the cold weather, your fingers are the first to get cold. You might get a pair of insulated, windproof gloves and possibly a pair of liner gloves to wear inside for insulation.
Toe Covers: For cold weather riding, you might also get tip-toe covers and shoe liners and booties that cover the shoe and keep your feet dry. There are so many choices.
Check out our pictogram on Winter Layering Techniques for cyclists. Keeping comfortable while riding in all weather conditions is essential if you want to find more joy during your bicycle rides. We love to ride and want to help you find more comfort, so you can ride longer and feel stronger in our women's cycling clothes.
There are several factors that need to be considered for cycling comfort, one of which is the saddle area. The "butt bone" issues are a core factor for cycling longer distances in comfort. If you love to ride, then you know that the more comfortable you feel the stronger you ride. More Joy, that is what we want. To achieve that, you may have to cycle through several different types of bicycle saddles before you find the one that feels and is positioned correctly for your personal preferences. You may want to be aerodynamic when riding like a racer or you may want to ride upright without any pressure on your neck or arms. Both of these positions can be set up for long distance comfort.
A good bicycle saddle fits your size of bones in the saddle area. If you have a wide butt, you will need a wide saddle. Your weight should be placed on the Ischium bones which may require saddle adjustment.
The saddle itself should be an inch or two larger than the distance between the ischial bones. You can measure this distance a number of ways, but one easy way that I used was the foil test. Use a wide piece of standard aluminum foil, position it on carpet so you can sit on the foil over a soft carpet. Once you sit your ischial bones over the foil, the distance between will be revealed, this can be a basis to measure and plan for a bicycle saddle that fits your bone structure.
Finding a good saddle that works for you takes time. Personally, I have went through four highly rated saddles to find the one I wanted to use for a cross country bicycle ride. In the end, the time invested was priceless. I found a saddle using the foil test to come up with a few choices for testing. The one I picked was wider than normal and was ideal for riding 85 miles a day. Most any saddle is good for the first 10-15 miles, the wider women's saddles are good for up to 50 miles, and the best saddle I found for comfort had gel inserts that directly support the bones as they contact the saddle.
If you are chafing in the front of the saddle, you many want to consider lowering the tip of the saddle or using a saddle with a cutout like the one pictured. The other way to eliminate chafe is with anti-chafe creams. The creams prevent friction and can be slathered on both your skin and the chamois pad inside your bike shorts.
Women who want to ride for fun and joy, may want a more upright cycling position. This takes all the pressure off your neck and arms, and is much more comfortable. That is me on the left, I first tried this upright position a few years ago and was amazed by the change in my personal comfort. I have been an avid cyclist my entire life, I was having some pain in the back of my neck after 35-40 miles from my head being cocked up in the aero cycling position. This new, upright position on my Pedego bicycle shifted all the weight off my neck and arms and completely eliminated all the hot spots. I rode from Seattle Washington to Washington D.C. in this upright position (3384) miles and it was pure joy!
Competitive and Racing Women who ride faster will evolve into the aerodynamic cycling position. If you buy a new bicycle from a local shop, they will most likely fit you into an aerodynamic position as it is the desired state for serious riders. The aerodynamic position is important for effective cycling that delivers the most speed and power. The weight in the aero position is more forward so the body is positioned for the most power.
High level cyclists use predominantly the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes for most seated pedaling action. Standing requires more calf muscles. To troubleshoot your cycling position, try bicycling magazine's article on how to fine tune your bicycle fit. There isn't much in the article for women, but what you need to know is that most bike shops can sell you fit services called "fit kit" or similar vernacular for "fitting you on your bicycle." They will help you align your cleats, adjust your seat height and the fore-aft position of the handlebars. Your comfort level may depend on your fit. Something as simple as the length of the stem that supports the handle bars, can be shortened to bring the handlebars closer to your body to relive a bit of pressure and enhance comfort.
Once you get the right bicycle fit, and find the saddle that fits your body and cycling position, you will find that the clothing is what gets you through all the weather and incidentals that come with bicycle riding.
When shopping for women's cycling clothes like bike shorts, you will find that most of the women's chamois pads are wider than men's. They are laminated layers of high performance synthetic fibers like Coolmax brand polyester and other high-end fabrics. The surface of a chamois pad is usually hydrophobic which means that it stays dry. The chamois pad fabric is treated with an antibacterial, carbon or silver ion finish to diminish the growth of bacteria which may lead to saddle sores. A clean chamois pad is an ideal way to prevent saddle sores. Today's synthetic chamois pads are machine washable. Machine washing of a chamois pad is important to remove all bacteria.
Cycling Shorts are worn without underwear! To choose a bike short for your personal cycling wardrobe and biking style, you first need to know your options. Most cycle shorts have a foam pad sewn into the bicycle seat area. The padding in the shorts range from thick to thin. The thickest pads act as shock absorbers with different types of gel or foam that is formed into shape using an engineered designed based on cycling motion. The padding also reduces abrasion and cushions the seat area. If you are just starting to ride, or the longer your ride, the more density you need in a chamois pad. The elite pads are designed for long distance riders and are engineered specifically for the female anatomy. A more seasoned bicycle rider may want a thin pad in their bike shorts so that it prevents abrasion and yet feels invisible. Using a thin chamois pad is also popular in triathlon shorts where the short is worn for swim, bike, run.
Cycling shoes are designed to be stiff with clips that hold the shoe to the pedal. The utility of a bicycling shoe is all about the transfer of power into the pedal contributing to the forward momentum of the bicycle. Clip less pedals and cycling shoes are often used as a set "shoes and clip less pedals" Cycling shoes come in lots of style-ways for all different types of bicycle riders. Some examples are road riding, mountain biking, indoor cycling and sandal variations. Most cycling shoes are sized in European sizes from size 28 to 50. Clip systems are sold separate from the shoe.
Once you have a shoe, you can screw in the clips. Pedals are sold with their own clips and once you have a set of pedals that pedal will only go with the shoes that you have screwed the clips into. If you change to a different pedal, you will have to replace the clips on the shoe also. The pedal/clip system attaches to most cycling shoes. All of these cycling shoe/ pedal/clip systems are for the maximum efficiency of power transfer for the cycling stroke.