In part three of a five-part series, guest blogger Kerry Rough tells us how clothing can play a vital part in ensuring you are comfortable and still smiling when in the saddle. Kerry outlines the key clothing items she has in her cycling arsenal and explains how they can help keep you riding when the weather isn't on your side.
This post is probably the one that will cost you the most money! Being adequately clothed and in the right gear is important. It doesn't have to cost you the earth, but at the same time is worth considering that cheap clothing and equipment for exercise might cost you less in the short term, but overall you might end up spending a lot more in the long run as it wears out or breaks on you. My key bits of kit for cycling are outlined below:-
- Despite not being compulsory a cycling helmet could save your life
Although wearing a helmet for cycling is not compulsory in this country, or against the law, I am so aware of the safety of cyclists and wearing a helmet could actually save your life. You want to make sure that it is a good fit as well as being of a good standard. It is there to protect your head in the case of any impact and therefore you want to make sure that it fits you well and will do the job it was meant for!
Good all weather jacket
- A Cycling Jacket like this one will protect you from the elements
This is another piece of equipment that I recommend that keen cyclists have in their wardrobe. You want something that is going to protect you against the elements and for all eventualities. Wind-proof and waterproof, this is one piece of kit that really does matter how much you spend on it. I would suggest that you are looking at spending around £100 to get a good cycling jacket that will keep you dry and warm, definitely worth spending that money for! Who wants to cycle and get wet, cold and miserable?!
- Cycling shorts like these will have a good level of padding to keep you comfortable whilst in the saddle.
Another valuable piece of kit is my cycling shorts. I have just 3 pairs for all my riding. With a good load of padding, they make all the difference when I am out cycling for 40 or so miles. Without any sort of padding, I can reassure you that after a couple of miles your nether regions will be crying out in pain, and you will be cycling home faster than you can say speedy Gonzalez! I prefer shorts to the full length bib tights as in winter I wear them underneath my fleecy long bottoms and in summer they are the right length!
- Cycling glasses like the Endura Stingray glasses come with interchangeable lenses. Making them ideal for all conditions
I would highly recommend getting a pair of glasses for riding. Even if it is a dull day, or raining cats and dogs, wearing something over your eyes can mean the difference between a great ride and a really awful ride with grit in your eyes. Glasses don't have to cost the earth and some cycling glasses will come with interchangeable lenses for all conditions. Rain obviously can mean that you end up with spots on the lenses, but at least with all of the cars driving past you, you won’t end up with stones and grit or mud in your eyes. It might end up in your teeth, but at least you will be able to see!
This is only a short and simple list, and was not designed to be exhaustive, but merely a few real considerations that you would want to think about when looking to start cycling. Everything else I might consider not always necessary every time I cycle! Some people might recommend cycle gloves, useful for keeping grip on your handlebars, or to be protective if you end up falling off your bike, but for me they are not something I always wear, as being a triathlete, we don’t have time to put on gloves before the bike- just another piece of kit to add on seconds to my time.
Buying cycle clothing can seem daunting and expensive but if you look after it correctly it should last you years and will ensure that your rides aren't a chore!