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What Do you wear?(8 posts)

What Do you wear?blakester
May 19, 2003 8:40 PM
I am fairly new to the whole road biking thing, and am using my bike to commute to work and school, as well as just to go and ride. When just out riding, what do you wear? I've been going with some athletic type shorts and a cotton tee-shirt, but I don't see anyone else out there is this type of stuff. What are the advantages/differences of specialty cycling shorts/socks/jerseys? Finally (kinda off topic) anyone know places with good prices on thin long-sleeved shirts such as Helly Hansen "Lifa" or the light synthetic breathable type stuff for cold mornings?
re: What Do you wear?Akirasho
May 19, 2003 9:24 PM
... lycra...

For the most part, cycling shorts and jerseys are purpose designed and built specifically for the sport (materials used, type and placement of stitching, overall tailoring, pockets, or lack thereof (including their placement), etc.)

In shorts (bibs are another option), lycra helps to warm and support your muscle groups... the chamois padding aiding in preventing chaffing (not an actual pad per se)... both can also be designed to wick moisture from sweaty nethers. Placement and type of stitching prevents abrasion on the skin and/or pressure points (in general, the more panels a short/bib have, the better).

In jerseys, cut of said favors ranges of motion and position on a bike. Pocket placement are convenient for cycling (on the back for upright bikes... on the front for recumbent specific jerseys). Fabric can also be designed to wick moisture... plus, they can double as rolling billboards.

Depending on the type of riding you're doing, what you've got may be fine... cycling is fairly diverse... and one size or type does not fit all (watch out for seams and such on non cycling specific bottoms (note: MTBr's sometimes tend towards "baggie" shorts that externally, resemble regular workaday shorts).

Polypro... is still a favorite fabric for breathability, ability to wick and protection (depending on the garment) from cold. I can't give you a specific recommendation.

Be the bike.
I got two long-sleeved poly shirts at Wal-Mart for $10.00 each..BowWow
May 19, 2003 10:00 PM
I wear a two year old pair of Performance Color-Block lycra shorts, a black pair of Wal-Mart tights (ladies underwear section - $12.00) over top the lycra when it is cooler, a cotton-poly long sleeved turtleneck tee (also for cooler days), one of the Wal-Mart long-sleeved poly shirts on warmer days, and a short-sleeved polo-style collared shirt (no pocket) on warm/hot days. I don't see paying $65 for a shirt!

I bought some short tennis socks (end at the top of my shoe) to help with the tan (3 pair for $7 at Wal-Mart), and I use my $35 AXO MTB shoes.

I highly recommend a good pair of padded lycra cycling shorts (my first cycling-specific purchase) and clipless shoes/pedals (best performance-enhancing purchase for me). The cotton-poly shirts get pretty clammy when sweat-soaked; I'm liking the long-sleeved wicking wally shirts more and more, even on warmer days, 'cause they evaporate the moisture much better.

When I first started riding I couldn't understand the need for aerodynamic clothing. In my second summer I "got it." I was riding fast enough to really feel the difference between tights and wind pants.

All that said, wear whatever feels comfortable. It'll evolve for you. I don't like the "team" jerseys myself... Oh, and I wear crochet-backed half-finger gloves ($8.00) on warm days, a two-year-old pair of RaceFace MTB long-finger XC gloves on cool days, and a pair of lined polar fleece gloves with leather palms on really cold days.

Little long-winded, eh! Sorry!

re: What Do you wear?Continental
May 20, 2003 7:34 AM
A helmet, of course. After that:

1. Shoes with cleats are a huge benefit
2. Shorts with Chamois can help if your bottom hurts after riding.
3. Gloves can help if your hands hurt after riding.
4. A jersey with a zipper for ventilation in front and pockets in back is nice to have.
5. Tights and a nylon windbreaker for cool weather.

That said, most stuff is more style than substance, and the style is pure dorkiness. I rode for years and many thousands of miles before I bought my first cycling clothes, other than shoes.
When I can ride like Lance, I'll dress like him.Silverback
May 20, 2003 8:10 AM
The whole cartoon-superhero jersey thing just embarrasses me--it's like putting on football pads to go play catch in the park. I think I have one sort of plain jersey in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, but I haven't worn it in years.
For my commute and most short (sub-25 mile) rides, I usually wear a T-shirt and mountain bike shorts. For longer rides, I might swap the cotton T for a Coolmax T-shirt in bright colors--I bought four of them from Sierra Trading post for about six bucks each a couple of years ago. They work great.
You do need good cycling-specific shorts, but I've never noticed any difference in comfort between baggies and Lycra, so I wear the MB shorts unless I'm going to put tights over them on a cool morning. I used to wear any old socks, but SmartWool (washable) 100% wool ankle socks are REALLY nice (but not cheap--$12 or so a pair).
I have several long-sleeved shirts, poly or Coolmax, that I've picked up cheap (less than $10) at places like Ross and Marshall's. You might have to make two or three trips, but you save $20+ apiece. Sierra Trading Post (online at also has a lot of stuff like that. The CoolMax T's are really great, cheap and bright and comfortable.
Soccer Jerseys....asphalt assault
May 20, 2003 8:39 AM
Hit the clearance rack at your local soccer shop. They usually have some spiffy looking jerseys made of the same wicking material as cycling jerseys if you dont mind no pockets or zippers. Lots more comfy then a soaked t-shirt (I went that route for years).

I prefer baggy MTB shorts with chamois padding over form fitting lycra. I'm not a real slim guy and I'd look like a sausage in those things.

Recently I'v discovered coolmax cycling socks and will wear nothing else now...they are the cats meow!
re: What Do you wear?jrm
May 20, 2003 8:44 AM
On my commute: MTB baggies, full finger gloves and short/long sleeve REI wicking hiking shirts depending on the weather, MTB helmet and smith glasses and sometimes a vest or thin wind breaker if the weather warrents it. I live/work and commute in the bay area so i look for coverage/protection due to riding in the Oakland/SF area and the various micro-climates.
re: What Do you wear?boyd2
May 20, 2003 9:31 AM
I am a t-shirt and lycra shorts guy. I post here because of a humorous situation this morning. I commute about 3 days a week. I had clients coming in early this am. And sure enough I was running late. I walked through the door and there they were waiting for me. I felt like a fool. I was wearing tights, a red wicking jersey with an old t-shirt over and to top it all off my orange reflective vest. I had to work with them dressed like that for about 30 minutes before I had a chance to change!