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One of cycling’s defining features is its long rides. A workout as well as a race often lasts several hours, which leaves plenty of time for the weather to shift back and forth – a fact that places great demands on the cyclist’s clothes in order for him or her to perform and feel well with an optimal body temperature. Based on our long collaboration with some of the best professional teams in the world, this guide is designed to help you dress for optimal comfort and performance in any weather condition, both on the road and in the woods.
Start by putting on a pair of high-quality bike shorts. As a cyclist you spend many hours in the saddle, which puts a lot of strain on your seat area, and a pair of good bike shorts are therefore crucial for long-lasting comfort.
The bike shorts come in two main versions: Shorts and Bib shorts, of which the latter features bibs that eliminate the pressure in the waist area. Bib shorts are the most common alternative and the preferred choice of serious riders. Regardless of what kind of bike shorts you choose, make sure they fit well and come with a chamois that suits your anatomy and ambition. It’s important that the bike shorts and the chamois are made of functional fabrics that keep you dry even during long and intense rides in warm conditions as well as give you the best support.
The Shorts/Bib shorts are designed to be worn next to the skin, so don’t wear any underwear underneath the bike shorts since underwear may cause chafing.
On the upper body you should wear a bike jersey made of functional polyester that keeps you cool and dry in warm conditions. In lower temperatures, wear a baselayer singlet or tee underneath the jersey and/or a thin wind-protective vest on the outside. A baselayer tee with wind-protective front is also a great choice in cool conditions.
Remember, however, to not dress too warm, since overheating will hamper your performance. By wearing a thin wind-protective vest or jacket, you can quickly dress down if you get too warm and then store the vest/jacket in one of the jersey’s back pockets.
The coffee break is a great tradition in cycling. If you bring a bike vest/jacket, you can easily dress up to stay warm during the break.
Using accessories such as arm, knee and leg warmers you can quickly adapt your outfit to shifting weather conditions and cool temperatures. If you get too warm, these accessories can easily be stored in your jersey pocket. Shoe covers are another great item that can be used to keep your feet warm during cool spring and fall rides as well as in wet and windy conditions.
Devoted cyclists have both a wind jacket and a rain jacket in their bike wardrobe. The wind jacket should be designed to protect against wind and offer enough breathability to make sure you stay protected without overheating, while the rain jacket should also offer protection in wet conditions. For optimal protection and breathability and to eliminate the risk of overheating, use the respective jacket for its intended purpose.
In heavy rain, you can wear a pair of bike-specific rain pants (or shorts) outside your bike shorts for full water protection.
The above recommendations also apply to mountain bikers. When it comes to the fitting, however, there are as many opinions as there are MTB riders. Some like it tight, many prefer a looser fit, whereas others must have a fit that makes room for protective gear underneath the clothes. Craft offers a wide range of mountain bike clothes with all kinds of fits, allowing you to choose an outfit that suits you and your purpose.
By dressing optimally all the way from the inside out you will stay both cool and dry, enabling you to perform better and work out longer.
Have a great ride!