Over 50% of Australians own at least one bicycle at home, and 4 million Australians ride a bike for recreation or transport. The popularity of cycling as a sport is at an all-time high, ranking 5th among Australians’ favourite sport. However, not everyone who owns a cycle knows the benefits of cycling clothing in Australia. Riding on the popularity of “Ride to work” days, cycling may have caught up, but the awareness of cycling-specific clothing remains low.
Read on to know why wearing clothes designed for cycling will improve your cycling experience.
Clothes specifically designed for cycling are made of moisture-wicking materials like Lycra, Spandex, Nylon, and Polyester. They ensure that you cool down when your sweat evaporates – unlike other materials which stay damp for a long time. Further, design details make cycling clothing in Australia very popular. Tops designed for cycling have pockets at the back for stashing away your keys and cell phone. Cycling shorts also have extra padding between you and the saddle – called chamois. They ensure soft but firm support and distribute the pressure evenly and provide maximum riding comfort.
Yet, one of the most significant benefits of wearing cycling clothing is that they minimize wind resistance, minimize the risk of snagging and tearing, and maximize visibility in low-light, high traffic times. As most fatal bike crashes occur in the early morning hours, your clothes must be made of high-reflective material, so you will not be missed by vehicles in your vicinity.
Here are some articles of clothing specifically designed for cycling that you must invest in to make your next ride a thoroughly enjoyable one.
Jersey: Jerseys are designed to wick away the sweat from your skin and regulate body temperature. Jerseys come in a wide variety of fits, materials, and styles. For cycling in summer, you can opt for sleeveless ones made of light, breathable fabric; and for winter, you can choose long-sleeved Thermo-fleece jerseys to give you an extra layer of warmth while still efficiently keeping you dry. Look for jerseys with collars that can be turned up to protect the back of your neck from the harsh sun, especially if you are on the Byron Beach circuit.
Windbreakers: Changing weather conditions in winter might mean you find yourself caught in unforeseen rain. Invest in a good jacket that provides you protection against the wind and rain. Tip: Some premium jackets are made of very durable material that can be fold into a tiny parcel to be carried around in your pocket. It is a piece of clothing you’ll be very thankful for, especially on the mountain tracks – such as the Manly Dam or the Bong Bong. The highly reflective elements in your windbreakers will make you stand out even in the foggiest of conditions.
Fitted tights: allow for a comfortable range of movements without chafing the skin that comes in contact with the bike seat. These are more suited for summer and help you stay cooler for longer. However, some riders often find that they may have to hitch up their shorts’ waistline if the fit is not perfect. Look for shorts equipped with compression fabric grippers that keep your shorts in place. Pack a couple of these with you if you plan to bike along the unforgettable Great Ocean Road.
Bib shorts: Bib shorts are fitt cycling shorts that have straps going over the shoulder cable exercises. The main advantage of bibs is that they keep your chamois/chamois shorts in place while cycling. They minimize movement and bunching up of the chamois. This greatly reduces the risk of saddle abrasions and sores. Look for ones made of highly breathable material, as the fuller coverage of bibs keeps you warm, especially in winters. Bibs are helpful if you plan on biking over highly uneven terrain – such as the Goldfields Track. Remember to give yourself sufficient time during nature breaks, as the bibs can be a little time-consuming to work with.
Cycling is a great outdoor exercise that can boost your heart rate and keep you healthy. You can enhance your cycling experience by wearing weather-appropriate cycling clothing in Australia. If you are riding to work, carry your set of formal clothes to change into once you reach the office. Head over to your nearest physical store, or look up online for clothes that will make your next ride an exhilarating one.
Author : Alison Lurie