While you might think all you need to get started with road cycling is a bike, there is more to it. Road cycling can be made more comfortable with the right attire. From your helmet to choosing the best cycling gloves, it all matters.
So here are some things that will make your bike riding more enjoyable.
There are some countries that do away with bike helmets for usual road biking (the Netherlands), but you will see that they use them for higher speed cycling. However, most countries don’t have the cycling infrastructure – so a helmet is your first line of defense.
The helmet you need will depend on the bike you are going to buy. For a road bike helmet you are looking for:
- The front edge should only be an inch away from your eyebrows
- When moving the helmet, it should be snug enough to wrinkle the skin at your temples without physically leaving your head.
Cycling Jerseys and base layers
Unsurprisingly, you will warm up quickly when cycling. Yes, even when it is cold outside. You will need to have the right clothing to get rid of the heat, or you are going to start sweating. The problem with sweating into your normal clothes is that they can begin to chafe. Making the rest of your cycle uncomfortable and painful.
The right cycling jersey and base layers will wick away sweat and keep your body at a steady and comfortable temperature.
Try to get something that is functional and gives you quick access to your phone, cycling snacks, or a rain jacket.
You ideally need them to be tightly fitted, as this makes you more aerodynamic.
Your hands will get a lot of friction, causing calluses and blisters if you aren’t used to cycling. The right cycling gloves will keep your grip tight, not cause too much pressure on your hands and give you a comfortable ride.
Come rain or shine, you’re going to want to cycle. A wind jacket can protect you from a range of weather situations. Try to make sure that you choose a tight-fit wind or rain jacket so that it doesn’t flap in the wind.
The lighter the jacket you buy, the more easily it can be stuffed into a rear pocket if the weather changes or you begin to warm up.
A good pair of cycling gloves is essential. They protect you from the sun, wind, and bugs.
If you have it in the budget, then photochromic lenses are something you should consider. They adjust automatically depending on the weather circumstances. They will get darker when it turns sunny and go brighter when it gets cloudy. This means you don’t need to take more than one pair of glasses with you.
Your bike saddle is where your comfort starts, and the right shorts can increase that. Cycling shorts or bib shorts are non-negotiable in your cycling outfits. The chamois in these shorts are differently shaped for men and women. This is because the pelvis shape is different.
The chamois come in varying thicknesses. If you have a hard seat, then you should buy shorts with a thick chamois. You might need to try a few variations of shorts and seats until you find the one that works for you.
Your bike pedals will have an impact on the style of cycling shoes that you need. If you have SPD deals or flat pedals, your shoes will need to coordinate. Road bike shoes have 3 holes in a triangle on the sole. These are ideal for SPD-SL cleats.
The sole makes the difference in cycling trainers. Some models have nylon soles, others have a mix of carbon and nylon, and then the high-end shoes will have full carbon. The material makes a difference in the weight of the shoe. Carbon soles are lighter and stiff, so you won’t get a bend when you are putting force on the pedals. These are ideal for powerful cyclers. When just starting out, nylon will work well while you get used to the style of shoe.
You need to ensure you spend the right amount of time on getting the sizing of your shoe correct. You need a touch of extra space in front of the cycling shoe, between 0.5 and 1cm is usually enough.
Don’t rush into buying cycling gear, instead do some research and try on various styles and materials so you can find something that works for you.