Cycling Apparel for Comfortable Rides

Bicycle riding is a sport with many avid participants. Once you feel the "joy" when riding a bicycle in the outdoors, you will want more. It is just fun to do! The Bicycling sport itself has been growing for many years because it is easy and healthy to ride a bike. Cycling Apparel or cyclewear can help you ride longer and feel stronger. Once a cyclist starts to ride regularly, the first area of discomfort is often the saddle area - or a sore butt!

aero tech chamois design

Sore Butt?   Essentials to have for long bike rides:

  1. Great fitting saddle that supports and pads the two ischial bones (see diagram)
  2. Bike shorts with a foam chamois pad to absorb shock vibration and prevent chafe.
  3. Helmet that fits snug to the head with the forehead covered.
  4. Eyewear that protects from the sun's UV rays as well as bugs and road debris.
  5. Shoes with stiff soles and option for spd pedal attachment - (see images below)
  6. Choose cycling apparel that is made from "wicking" fabrics that keep you dry.
  7. Avoid cotton t-shirts which get soaking wet around the neck which is uncomfortable on long rides.
  8. Wear form fitting socks that have a high-end technical fiber like coolmax© polyester. 

cycling apparelTips for buying cycling apparel and biking gear:

men's century shortBike Shorts - Everyone loves them!

Bike shorts have padding sewn in the saddle area to relieve pressure points, prevent chafing and absorb shock. Almost all Bike shorts are made from stretchy material that holds the pad next to your skin. Bike Shorts are made from stretchy fabrics to enable freedom of movement without binding on the upstroke.

century thick padThe padding inside a bike short is called the chamois pad. Usually the thicker and denser chamois pads are used for long distance riding or beginner riders who have not hardened their butt for the season. Some experienced riders want a thinner padding because they are comfortable on their saddle and don't need the thickness. Here is a link to look at the details on a variety of bike short chamois pads.

Cycling Jerseys - Don't buy Cotton

Both cycling jerseys and bike shorts provide freedom of movement and durability for the rigors cycling action. Most cycling jerseys have a few things in common. One, is that they have pockets that are easy to reach while riding. One of the most important reasons for wearing a cycling jerseys is the wicking action of the high performance materials that are used. The wicking action of the fibers knitted into a stretch material that is worn fairly close to the body. Cotton is rarely used because of the sweat generated during cycling which would be absorbed to keep the skin wet which leads to chafe and discomfort especially around the neck area. So for this reason most cycling jerseys are made with a high tech polyester fabric.
Read more: About Cycling Jerseys

Bicycle Commuter - Casual Cycling Lifestyle

There are several categories of bicycle riders who all need their own - slightly different - types of cycling apparel. Casual looking cycling apparel that can be worn from bike to work, or shopping. This bicycle lifestyle look has all the high performance features that make cycling apparel highly functional yet the look is traditional and casual. Technically designed for everyday use.

Types of Bicycle Riders:

1. Casual Short Distance Bicycle Riders - The ideal clothing for a short bike ride is casual looking, stretchy and sweats well. Added Features to look for are zipper pockets and reflective trims. The ideal cycling apparel for short distances are loose fitting and provide freedom of movement. Also for short distances, the chamois pad is not always needed for less than a few miles. The Multi-Sport Shorts are ideal for the casual bike rider. Available in both Men's and Women's styles

2. Commuter Bicycle Riders - This cyclewear category is casual looking yet loaded with features that yield high performance. Ideal commuter clothes are washable, rugged and stretchy. A bicycle commuter will run up against mud, puddles, sand and road grime so the garment needs to be able to stay relatively dry upon arrival - even after a storm. xx

commuterSynthetic fabrics are ideal for commuters. Nylon is a favorite because it is rugged, lightweight and easy to care for. Women's Commuter cycling garments and Men's Commuter apparel have to endure bad weather conditions and still provide utility for comfort and casual look. Commuter shirts vary greatly but the best ones are polyester or a blend of polyester with Lycra.

For lifestyle cyclists, good commuter clothes get lit up in low light situations. Reflective is important on moving parts like your legs. Cycling Jackets should be adaptable between the road and the office and have lots of reflective luminosity.  Bicycle Commuter Clothing is part of a Lifestyle Trend.

Bicycle Commuter - Casual Cycling Lifestyle

There are several categories of bicycle riders who all need their own - slightly different - types of cycling apparel. Casual looking cycling apparel that can be worn from bike to work, or shopping. This bicycle lifestyle look has all the high performance features that make cycling apparel highly functional yet the look is traditional and casual. Technically designed for everyday use.

cycling gloves3. Moving Ups - Cyclists who are riding more miles and getting faster. Cycling Apparel that is ideal for moving up bicycle riders are loaded with high tech features. There are a lot of garments for sale at this level that are made with safety colors like fluorescent yellow. This color creates a highly visible presence in the daylight. Most cycling apparel has some type of reflective trim that is strategically placed for maximum visibility in low light conditions.

Moving up in mileage also means the need to utilize functional accessories like gel padded bike gloves and coolmax cycling socks.

Moving up cyclists are in need of comfort - especially in the butt area surrounding the saddle. Some padded shorts are ideal for anti-chafe which have a thin pad, and some bike shorts are ideal for cushioning the butt - like a century short. Century shorts are engineered for relief, for breath-ability and for longer distance biking. Bike Shorts for this category are usually made from Nylon and Spandex tricot knit fabric which stretches in many directions and include luxury Italian chamois pads, and gripper legs of many types. To see a web page that breaks down all the bike short types with and overview of each: How to Buy Men's Bike Shorts and for women: Women's Bike Short Reviewsgel underwear

spdCycling Shoes and spd pedals are also part of the standard uniform for a cyclist who is trying to get more out of their bike rides. Cycling shoes should be stiff on the down stroke so that the energy goes into the pedal for the forward momentum. Shoes that are soft and flexible are not good for cycling at this level. Cycling Shoes are worn with thin cycling socks so the shoe fits snugly around the foot.

4. Bike Racers - Long Distance Riders elite cycling clothing has latest technologies built into the garment. Elite shorts often have air gel pads and highly engineered chamois pads within the shorts. High end bicycle jerseys use carbon fibers which prevent odor. Branded fibers like Coolmax, and Pro Carbon ETS are designed for Professional riders. Racers often wear "kits" or matching outfits for the top and bottom. Most racers belong to a club or team that sponsors their clothing with advertising logos and billboard style promotion that support the sponsor.

cargo shorts5. Mountain Bike Shorts or MTB are loose fitting and casual looking. They are called Baggy Bike Shorts. Usually, a baggy bike short is two shorts in one. An outer shell layer made out of a 4-ply woven nylon with an internal padded biking short. Men's Mountain Bike Shorts are rugged "gear" that stretches with movement and can endure briers and snags from low hanging vegetation. The garments are typically darker colors that fade into the background of the scenery on the ride. Dark colored synthetic fabrics that are used in MTB clothes make it easy to remove the dirt and mud from biking in the dirt.

It is true that, in the sport of mountain biking, the feet are often wet during the ride.One key element to comfortable mountain biking is great wicking socks. black cycling socksMountain Bikers get really dirty with caked mud and grime - so Coolmax or other types of wicking socks that can easily be washed are essential to mountain bikers.

9. Recumbent - This type of bent rider needs to eliminate the back pockets you see on a typical cycling jersey and relocate them to the front. Pockets on the front of the jersey make the recumbent jersey very unique to it's riders. The shorts are mostly needed for freedom of movement (stretchability) and are usually unpadded spandex shorts or a thin pad with a modesty panel for men. Recumbent clothes have all the wicking properties and performance elements that are typical in cycling apparel.

6. Triathlon - swim, bike, run, competition clothing that works for all the sports involved. This type of clothing is typically for race day and training. The idea behind a triathlon suit is to save time in the transitions between each event. Swim wear is auquadynamic, the bike part needs some padding for cycling and stretchy fabric for anti chafe protection. On the run, just drop the bike and go. These garments have pockets for re-fueling gels and bars. You will also find reflective elements for high visibility.tri short padding

The chamois padding in a pair of triathlon shorts is typically thin and perforated for breath-ability and quick dry. The thin pad is necessary for running comfort and for quick drying after swimming events.

Triathlon apparel is available in shorts, tanks and tri-suits. Men's Triathlon Apparel and women's triathlon apparel are sized for athletic types but go up to 4XL.


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