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Spring Cycling Clothing Guide

   Words by Harry Archer

   on 22/03/2018 15:50:00

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Grand Fondos ,tours, club races and local events, it can be the perfect time to get back to enjoying life on two wheels, with plenty of social rides, café stops, and exploring new roads before starting to gear up for new goals for the the fast-approaching season.

Riding in Spring isn’t without its challenges, however, like how are you supposed to know what to wear?! Most cyclists in the UK will be used to the drastically changing weather conditions of our green and pleasant land - even on summer rides – but the Spring is often where you’ll experience some of the most varied conditions, when you can get those legs out in shorts one minute and then suddenly need to be wrapped up like an Eskimo, battling howling wind and monsoon-style downpours.


What to consider for your Spring kit

With the huge array of clothing options on the market designed to be worn in a variety of different weather conditions, it’s worth considering a few different factors when buying kit and selecting what attire to ride in. The first consideration is the kind of riding you plan on doing - this may seem obvious, but you’ll need very different clothing for a steady café ride compared with what you’d need for an after-work shred session at the trail centre. The other major consideration is our old friend the weather, with the forecast of the day obviously having the biggest impact on whether you need to prepare for a soaking, sunburn or snow. Below are some some vital features of your Spring kit to keep an eye out for.


Alongside developments in bike tech itself, technical cycle clothing has maybe been the biggest benefactor of innovation and trickle-down effects over the last few years. Where previously you might just be relying on a cotton t-shirt to add an extra layer of warmth you can now choose from multiple options specifically designed for particular weather condition. Theses options include fleece-lined Roubaix fabrics, fully waterproof fabrics with taped seams, fabrics with in-built membranes to aid breathability and so on. Take some time to understand the options and how they affect the characteristics of the kit, before deciding which level of weather protection is right for you and the location of your ride.

Water & wind proof

Rain and wind can be the biggest causes of fun-loss on a long ride if you don’t have the right clothing. On warmer days a showerproof, lightweight cape might be enough to keep you dry, but can be sweaty and uncomfortable, leading to the dreaded ‘boil in the bag’ feel. If the wind is blowing but the weathers pretty fair, soft shell fabrics can provide extra warmth as well as some water resistance, while fabrics like Castelli’s Nanoflex use a Durable Water Repellent (or DWR) to resist the rain. On the other hand, a classic hard-shell fabric which is heavier in weight and usually fully waterproof can be the best choice for really grim days when it’s all about staying dry rather than breathability.

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As is the case with summer and winter kits, fit is very much a personal preference for your Spring wear – you might want a little space for extra layers or you may still want to be as aero as possible! Regardless, it’s worth checking things like collar height, the length of the tail on jerseys and jackets and the tightness or adjustability of the sleeve cuffs. These features will add a little more protection and keep out wind and rain more effectively and will work in combination with mudguards to keep the spray and mud from the ground away from your body. As you’d expect, most brands will offer women’s specific kit with tailored fits.


The evenings are getting lighter but it’s still important to make sure you can be seen should the weather change or you get caught out riding later than planned. When the weather is really grey, Old Johnny 4-wheels is going to find it more difficult to spot you - so keep an eye out for reflective or high visibility details on your kit so you’re more visible on the bike and always ensure you’ve got access to a quality set of lights!

Cycle Clothing Guide >Cycling Clothing & Footwear Size Guide >Guide To Women's Cycling Clothing >

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In Spring, unless it’s an unseasonably warm day, you’re unlikely to be able to head out in ultra light, short sleeved cycling jerseys. In reality, long sleeves are almost essential (or a short sleeve jersey paired with arm warmers for chillier days). For Spring riding you may find a slightly thicker fabric is more suitable so look out for Roubaix linings and make sure sleeve length is suitable. Like a standard jersey, most long sleeve jerseys will have the usual three rear pockets with possibly an additional zipped pocket for money, keys and other valuables.

For heavy-weight long sleeve jerseys you might also find storm flaps behind the zip to keep wind out. If you’re a roadie, you’ll be hard pushed to have avoided the Castelli Gabba in recent years. Popularised by professional riders in the gruelling spring classics, the Gabba uses a combination of wind and waterproof fabrics to add protection while retaining a close, racy fit. Such has been the popularity of the Gabba that many other brands now offer a similar garment.


A successful cycling jacket compliments your jersey by offering additional protection from the external environment. You’ll find a range of options on the market varying from waterproof capes to insulated jackets. A waterproof and windproof jacket will keep the pesky rain showers off and the breeze at bay, while clever wicking materials on the inside will make sure you don’t end up a sweaty mess. Packable jackets are great - when you don’t require them they wrap up small enough for storing in your backpack or pannier. Specialist waterproof cycling jackets can come with up to three layers for wicking and warmth as well as wind proofing and are made from the latest hi-tech fabrics, like Gore-Tex. When riding in the spring, layering is everything! as long as you remember that, you'll always have the advantage over the elements.


Handy to chuck in a back pocket and use an extra layer either at the start of a ride or for that lengthy chilly descent, a gilet is a great go-to item for changeable days. Adding some extra warmth and rain protection without the bulk of a jacket, most gilets will pack up to pocket size and then subtly remain within arms reach in case the weather changes again. Some higher end jackets feature funky removable sleeves to turn them into a gilet for added versatility.


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The starting point of any good cycling outfit , in hot or cold weather , is a high quality baselayer. Close-fitting and made from a range of fabrics including Merino wool, baselayers wick sweat away from the body to better regulate temperature and provide a first line of protection against any chills whilst also preventing overheating on hotter days. Choose from different sleeve lengths,collar heights and thicknesses to find the best option for your individual needs.

Reviewed: Endura Pro SL Jacket >Guide To Wet Weather Cycling >

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Cycling shorts are offered in a variety of styles with the two most prominent being either bib-shorts or standard lycra or ‘baggy’ style bike shorts. Designed specifically for either road or mountain cycling, you can choose from a range of different varieties that include lighter weight shorts for hot days, Roubaix-lined shorts for additional warmth and water-resistant options for wetter,muddier days. Shorts can come with or without straps(bibs) depending on your preference and some will come without a pad(Chamois), if you prefer to layer up over your shorts but need some extra warmth. You might be tempted to go with ¾ tights when the weather is a bit cooler or you’re planning on a leisurely paced ride.

Warmers & Accessories

Besides the vital pieces of Spring kit above, accessories can really make the difference when it comes to battling the weather. Layer up your spring kit with neck, arm, knee or leg warmers  that are typically manufactured from heat-retaining,breathable fabrics and allow you to keep warm at the start of a ride before peeling them off and stuffing them in a pocket for the rest of the ride. Keeping your extremities warm is really important over the spring and a good pair of overshoes/oversocks can keep your feet warm and dry. Obviously a good set of gloves or mitts and a helmet are a no brainers when the weather turns whilst a traditional cap or under-helmet skullcap can keep your head warm. Lastly, as the weather continues to brighten up, a good pair of sunglasses is definitely not a bad shout, keeping the dust and sun out of your eyes whilst making you look proper suave like the cycling version of terminator.

Reviewed: Endura Pro SL II Bibshorts >All Guides and Advice >Essential Cycling Accessories >

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Browse All Cycling Clothing >

Find your nearest Rutland Cycling store

You can browse the entire Spring Clothing range online, or you can get your hands on it in your nearest Rutland Cycling store.






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