For those new (or just getting back into) to life on a bike the sheer amount of bike related stuff available can be bewildering. As retailers I guess we should really be pushing all this stuff but really there’s a time and a place for everything. If you start with the basics then it can make a world of difference to your cycling, then add other bits and bobs as you need to.
Today we’ll be looking at cycling clothing. If you’re just using your bike for quick trips around town then specific cycling clothing probably won’t make much odds. Once you start to put a few more miles in then cycling clothing comes into it’s own. Firstly look to address the contact points, where you and the bike meet; hands, feet and bottom.
Our gloves come in a variety of styles and sizes (from kids to adults) as a bare minimum we'd recommend a pair of fingerless mitts for nice days and a long fingered pair for when things turn cooler. Not only do gloves keep your hands warm, they can protect your palms if you come off your bike and most have padding for added comfort when riding.
Next on our list: feet. Most folk start off with flat pedals and a normal pair of trainers, as you increase your miles it’s worth investing in a pair of cycling shoes. These have a stiff sole so all your effort goes into the pedal stroke essentially making you cycle more efficiently, additionally they can take cleats which enable you to attach your foot to the pedal. This can seem like utter nonsense at first but by clipping on to your pedals you can make use of the pulling action as well as the pushing action when you cycle. With a bit of practice once you’ve mastered riding clipped in you wouldn’t want to ride any other way especially on road.
The last of the contact points is your bottom! This is often the first place to feel those extra miles. We get a lot of folk in who assume a big saddle is the way to go but looks can be deceiving. If you look at any cyclist who puts in a lot of miles on their bike they‘ll more than likely have a saddle that looks like a razor blade to most folk! The theory is that the larger the saddle the larger the area of skin in contact with it that can chafe. A big cushy saddle will feel comfortable for those first few rides and once again if you’re only doing the occasional short trip then it’s perfectly adequate. Once you start putting in longer and regular rides then it’s time to ditch the squishy saddle. The skinny saddles are designed so your “sit bones” bare your weight not your flesh. The cyclists secret weapon of choice is a pair of padded shorts, for those with an aversion to skin tight lycra we do stock baggy shorts with in built padding. Whilst padded shorts may not seem appealing at first once you've tried them you'll not go back. The number one rule of padded short wearing is that you need to ditch the undies! oo errr! More layers = more rubbing, an application of chamois cream to the pad can reduce the chance of saddle sores further.
Once you’ve got your contact points sorted then it’s time to look at the rest of your cycling wardrobe but that’s another post for another day…..