What to wear: the very basics

The most important thing about what you wear on your bike is that you feel comfortable in it. You really don’t want baggy trousers catching in the chain, numb fingers that won’t work the gears, soaking wet feet, or clingy skirts revealing just a little too much. While there’s no need to go out head to toe in specialist gear if you don’t want to, it’s worth putting a little bit of thought into your attire as it’ll make for a much happier pedalling experience.

Whether your’re a Lycra-loving speed diva or prefer to ‘dress for your destination not the ride’, the same four basic principles for what you wear on your bike apply:

Warmth
If you cycle in Britain, there’s no escaping it’s going to be chilly an awful lot of the time. Layers are your friend, you can peel them off if you warm up pedaling. Your granny was right, it’s all about the thermal undies – look for things in natural wool/merino which will keep you toasty without that clammy sweaty feeling. Coats can be super-high-tech or a plain wool city coat – just make sure it doesn’t restrict your movement and the sleeves are long enough so they don’t ride up when you stretch over the handlebars. Accessorize with good gloves (fleecy lined leather, suede or wool is great, with waterproof ones to hand for the wet days), a hat / scarf under your helmet to keep your ears warm and a  hot mug of coffee before heading out the door, and you’ll be fine.

Water resistance
You’ll need something in your bag on every ride which you can chuck on when the heavens open. That can be a mac, trench coat, hiking jacket, specialist cycling waterproof, cape – whatever. Waterproof trousers, gloves and shoes are all well worth the investment too.

Safe
That means reflective stuff after dark, every time. And a helmet. No arguments.

Looks
Looking good helps us feel good, we all know this. If we feel like a frumpy sack of potatoes every time we get on a bike, then we won’t want to ride a bike. Choose things that fit you well, reflect your own personal style and make you feel happy – basically the same principles that apply to getting dressed in the morning, whether you’re biking or not.

Cycling gear - 1900

At least long skirts and bloomers are no longer compulsory…

(Image from www.oldbike.eu)

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