What Is A Cycling Kit? The Ultimate Guide To Your Riding Wardrobe

A cycling kit isn’t just about looking the part, it’s about being prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or just starting out, having the right cycling gear can make all the difference.

From proper bib shorts and jerseys to bike helmets and glasses, there are a few key items to consider when building your first road cycling kit.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to choose the best cycling apparel for any terrain and budget. Get ready to take on the roads with confidence – let’s go!

Get ready to take on the roads with confidence – let’s go!

What Is The Meaning Of A Cycling Kit?

A cycling kit is a specific set of garments and equipment used by cyclists to ride their bikes.

This includes a helmet, padded shorts, jersey, gloves, shoes, and other accessories specifically designed for cycling.

A good kit will have features such as breathable fabrics to reduce sweat buildup, compressive material to reduce muscle fatigue during long rides, and reflective elements to increase visibility while riding in low-light conditions.

professional-female-cyclist-in-cycling-garment

The goal of a cycling kit is to provide riders with a comfortable and protective gear setup that allows them to perform at their best while on the bike.

In addition to clothing items, some cyclists like to use additional items in their kits.

These can range from water bottles or hydration packs for storing liquids during long rides to lights or power meters for tracking performance data.

In some situations, these extra accessories can make all the difference in an enjoyable ride or competition result.

It’s important for cyclists to take the time to find the kit that works best for them so they can enjoy riding safely and comfortably each time they hop on their bike.

Investing In Your Riding Wardrobe: 9 Essential Pieces

Building your first cycling kit starts with comfortable and breathable fabric.

Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran looking to get back into road cycling, it’s important to have the right gear to make your experience more enjoyable.

With a range of new clothing and accessories on the market, it can be hard to know what pieces you need.

But investing in some basic items will increase your comfort and enjoyment while cycling, leading to better performance and safety.

Below, I’ll show all the 9 essential pieces to get you perfectly outfitted for an amazing journey on the road.

1. Proper Bike Or Bib Shorts With Chamois

Bib shorts are a vital part of any cyclist’s cycling kit. They come in many different types, suitable for all kinds of cycling and body temperatures.

Not only are they important for comfort, but having a proper pair of cycling shorts specifically tailored to the pelvis structure helps ensure the person is riding in a way that is beneficial and not detrimental to their body.

Short lengths, tight waistbands, breathable fabric, and especially the strategically placed chamois are all designed to enhance each rider’s experience on two wheels.

Comfort aside, having the proper fit can make all the difference in maintaining correct positioning while riding.

The shape of the chamois lining will differ depending on whether it is intended for a woman or a man as well.

woman cyclist wearing black cycling bib shorts

Women and men have differing pelvises – women’s being rotated outward just a bit more than men’s – so manufacturers take this into consideration when constructing their cyclewear pieces.

Though both genders receive benefits from wearing bib shorts with well-designed padding, female cyclists may enjoy even more comfort due to cycling apparel made specifically to accommodate their unique physiology.

When it comes to choosing the right chamois for your cycling experience, it all depends on how hard your saddle is.

If your saddle is quite soft, then it’s best to opt for a thinner chamois. This is because if the saddle is already soft, the thick chamois can actually make the experience more uncomfortable by removing the cushioning effect of the saddle.

On the other hand, if your saddle is hard, a thicker chamois is often better as it will provide cushioning without allowing you to sink too deep.

Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference, so make sure to experiment to find the best fit for you.

How To Choose Your Shorts

It’s all about personal preference when it comes to choosing between bike shorts or bibs.

Shorts come up to your waist, while bibs have straps that go over your shoulders to keep the chamois in place, relieving pressure from your stomach.

Bibs may be a bit of a hassle to take off, especially when nature calls, but they provide more comfort and support for your legs, which is why most cyclists tend to opt for them.

cyclist ride on bicycle while wearing padded bike shorts

Based on my experience, Pearl iZumi’s PRO Air Bib Shorts are one of the best bib shorts for men.

Now, the Attack Bib and Expedition Bib are more affordable options with recycled fabric and breathable chamois.

It’s important to note that bibs and shorts are meant to be worn without underwear – it may feel strange at first, but trust us – it’s incredibly comfortable!

2. Cycling Jerseys And Base Layers

One of the most important aspects when cycling is to regulate your body temperature.

Whether winter or summer, you will inevitably end up sweating and it is key that this sweat has somewhere to go in order for your body to stay at an overall comfortable temperature during your ride.

That’s where the importance of cycling jerseys and base layers comes in.

A cotton jersey isn’t ideal for cycling due to the fact that it does not effectively absorb the sweat which builds up on the surface of your skin.

close-up-of-professional-female-cyclist-in-sportswoman

This can cause discomfort during long rides as well as the inability of the jersey to dry once soaked.

Cotton becomes clammy over time, which no one wants while trying to cycle efficiently and comfortably.

Cycling jerseys and base layers are formulated with materials such as polyester, spandex (Lycra), nylon, and merino wool which provide optimal ventilation, and breathability and still effectively absorb any sweat that builds up.

These fabrics create a tighter fit with aerodynamic effects making them perfect for more professional racers in search of speed benefits as well as casual cyclists looking for a cooler, more pleasant ride experience overall.

The Magic of Base Layer: Keeps You Warm In The Winter, Cool In The Summer

No matter the weather, having a quality base layer and cycling jersey is a must for any cyclist. It’ll keep you warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.

A great base layer will manage your sweat, wicking it away from your skin so that it can evaporate quickly and regulate your temperature.

That way, you can stay comfortable even during difficult rides.

man wearing cycling base layer before riding

But don’t just wear it in the cold – it can keep you cool in the heat, too. When it’s chilly, the base layer will act as an insulator and keep your sweat away from your skin, preventing you from getting chilled.

On the other hand, in warmer temperatures, the breathable fabric will draw moisture away from your body for evaporation and make sure you stay comfortable.

So, make sure you’re prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you – a good base layer will keep you comfortable and dry, no matter the conditions!

How To Choose Cycling Jersey And Base Layer

A cycling jersey is a great way to show off your individual style. You can choose from a wide variety of colors to match your socks and helmet, so you can create the look you want.

For a more casual style, check out Pearl iZumi’s Classic Jersey or Pro Mesh Jersey for eye-catching patterns.

Women might prefer the Sugar Jersey or Quest Jersey, with its mesh side panels, and both are available for under $80, so you’ll have more money to buy other cycling gear.

For the base layer, Transfer Mesh Sleeveless Baselayer (or the tank top for women) is one of my favorites. Not just because of the material but also the unique and distinctive style patterns.

3. Bike Helmet: The Pillar Of Safety

Putting on a cycling kit isn’t complete without the most important piece of safety gear: a bike helmet.

It’s the foundation for protecting your head and brain from potential harm.

Manufacturers realize this and offer an array of helmet options designed for cyclists of all ages, sizes, and tastes.

A good bike helmet should fit snugly and securely, with enough coverage to protect the back of your head down to the top of your forehead.

bicycle helmets hanging on the ceiling

Make sure there are plenty of vents so you don’t overheat while riding; look for adjustable straps so you can customize the fit to your needs; and check for an adjustable chin strap that won’t pinch or rub your face when you move around.

The first step when considering a new bike helmet is determining what type best suits your cycling discipline.

If you plan on doing some road biking, a lightweight road bike helmet is probably the best choice.

In contrast, mountain bikers will require extra coverage – like chin protection – and extra ventilation holes that come with MTB helmets.

Downhill riding demands even greater protection from impacts.

How To Choose A Bike Helmet

It is important to consider your cycling discipline when selecting a bike helmet, as different helmets might not provide adequate protection or comfort depending on what activity you are partaking in.

Additionally, it is good to have a rough budget in mind so that you can narrow down your search to helmets within that price range.

Generally speaking, higher-priced helmets tend to be lighter and offer better ventilation as well as improved protection.

However, this does not mean that cheaper options don’t offer the basic safety necessary for a fun and relatively safe ride.

red cycling helmet hanging on a bike

Helmets these days come with some really cool features, like Bluetooth, lights, and even turn signals. But no matter how advanced, the most important thing is that it fits well.

Your helmet should fit snugly and securely around your head and chin. The straps should be comfortable and not pinch your ears or chin.

If you plan to ride in warmer weather, opt for a helmet with plenty of air circulation and padding to absorb sweat. Newer helmets with MIPS technology are designed to reduce the rotational force on the brain during a crash.

Although they may be more expensive, they offer great protection and are lightweight.

My best advice is to go to your local bike shop and try out different helmets to find the one that fits you best.

4. Cycling Shoes Make All The Performance Difference

Nothing completes a cycling outfit like the perfect shoes. With every stroke of your pedals, they provide essential support and stability as you ride.

As a cyclist for many years, I know first-hand how important it is to have the right type of shoe for your ride.

Depending on what type of cycling you’re doing (road or mountain biking), you’ll need pedals that match the shoe.

cycling shoes in black and white picture

For road bike shoes, there are three holes under the sole and SPD-SL cleats is suitable for these.

Mountain bikers can use SPD pedals with a regular SPD cleat, or flat pedals if you don’t want to invest in a pair of cleated shoes.

No matter what kind of pedal system you use, finding a pair of cycling shoes that fits your feet comfortably is key.

The Sole Makes The Shoe

The cycling shoes may look simple, but the sole is an intricate piece of design.

Its main purpose is to transfer power from your feet to the pedal and provide a grip on slippery or uneven terrain.

The cushioning helps protect you from shock absorption and reduces fatigue over longer rides by supporting your foot arch and absorbing road bumps.

And if you want more support, carbon fiber offers increased stiffness without compromising flexibility while making the shoe much lighter.

The more expensive the shoes, the more carbon is incorporated in the sole.

My best advice is to buy one that has a combination of carbon and nylon for superior comfort so it’s not too stiff.

Ensure The Right Size For Your Feet

It is essential that when selecting cycling shoes, they should fit correctly.

The wrong size can have a huge influence on your performance as well as cause discomfort. When looking to select the right size, it’s important to consider both the shoe length and width.

Firstly, the width of the shoe should ensure there is enough room for your feet with approximately 0.5-1 centimeters extra space at the toes.

woman cyclist wearing white cycling shoes

Secondly, make sure the length of the shoe fits snugly around your foot without being too tight or too loose so that you don’t slip inside during intensive rides.

A good method to determine if they are the correct fit is to stand on your toes and see if you can touch the front of the shoe – if this is unnecessary then you may need a smaller size but any more than that could mean choosing a larger size instead.

Wearing comfortable-fitting cycling shoes will help to keep your feet pain-free during longer rides, making them an important tool in any cyclist’s kit bag.

How To Choose Cycling Shoes

When shopping for cycling shoes, it is important to find a pair that fits your feet snugly. There should be some space for your toes to move, and the heel should be held securely in place.

Traditional road shoes like Pearl iZumi’s Pro Road Shoes, are designed with a slim, hard exterior and cleats to maximize efficiency on the bike, but they often lack comfort when walking.

If you have both a mountain and road bike, you don’t necessarily need a dedicated pair of road shoes.

Look for shoes that are versatile and suitable for gravel roads, such as Pearl iZumi’s or the X-Alp. They provide comfort for walking and the style for biking.

When choosing a shoe and pedal, bear in mind that road shoes are typically attached using three bolts, while mountain bike shoes use two bolts.

5. Cycling Gloves

Your hands are the principal points of contact with your bike, so having a good pair of gloves is essential to maintain comfort and performance.

Having just a little bit of padding in your gloves can help counteract road vibrations and keep energy moving through to the handlebars.

They can also protect you from bug bites, sunburns, and scrapes that come with an adventurous ride.

a-midsection-of-active-senior-couple-with-ebike

Pearl iZumi’s Elite Gel Gloves have been specially designed to provide that extra layer of padding while still being lightweight enough not to impede movement.

The contoured gel padding gives me just the right amount of damping to keep my hands comfortable on long rides.

The fabric is breathable and flexible, so I don’t have to worry about them feeling too tight or restricting movement.

Plus, the Velcro strap ensures that they won’t slip off during a ride.

This means you can cycle for longer and further without fatigue, increasing levels of performance even over rough roads and mountain trails.

How To Choose Cycling Gloves

When the weather heats up, choose a pair of fingerless gloves for your ride. On the flip side, for cooler days, opt for a pair of full-fingered gloves that will keep out the wind and keep you warm.

Trust us, riding with cold, wet hands is like taking on the ice bucket challenge, but it can last for hours instead of seconds. Gloves are also great for enabling you to use the levers with ease.

Here’s a helpful tip: More cushioning isn’t always the best choice.

Too much padding can make it difficult to get into the right position and make it more tiring.

Go for a glove that fits snugly, but not too tightly, and has a bit of padding where your hands rest on the handlebars.

6. Socks

Socks may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but they’re an essential part of any cyclist’s kit.

I’m sure we’ve all been there before – searching for the perfect pair of cycling socks. After a long ride, nothing is worse than having your feet feel like they are in an oven!

Socks provide warmth and comfort, no matter what weather you’re dealing with. They come in many different materials and styles, such as thin for wearing flats or thicker for boots.

woman cyclist wearing white cycling socks

In addition to being a functional component of an outfit, they also make a statement in terms of how you want to appear and the message you want to communicate.

For example, if you want to make a bold statement, bright and colorful socks help you stand out from the crowd.

Thanks to Lance Armstrong’s breakout style trend setting on cycling attire that popularized longer length sport athletic socks–many outdoor enthusiasts opt now for midcalf lengths too due to their versatility in styling both casual outfits with shorts or streetwear statements with leggings or jeans.

How To Choose Cycling Socks

When you’re looking for the perfect pair of socks for your ride, comfort, fit, and performance are key.

Pearl iZumi offers a great selection of socks designed specifically for men and women.

The Elite and Merino socks are a great choice, boasting a stylish look with a variety of colors to choose from.

You can check out designs with reflective detailing such as Flash Reflective Socks if you plan to go out at night or early morning hours.

Plus, they’re made from recycled water bottles, so you can feel good knowing you’re doing your part for the environment.

Keep in mind that on hot days your feet can swell quickly, so opt for a sock that fits well and offers good breathability—you don’t want it to be too tight or too thick!

7. Wind And Rain Jackets To Stay Warm And Dry

Getting dressed for a ride can be like putting on armor—a cycling kit is the ultimate protection from wind and rain.

Wind jackets and rain jackets are designed to keep cyclists warm, dry, and comfortable in any condition.

They come in all shapes and sizes, making them perfect for layering up or taking off as needed.

Rain jackets keep cyclists dry from the rain, while wind jackets provide valuable protection from strong winds that could otherwise ruin a good ride.

senior woman wearing wind jacket and cycling helmet before riding a bike

Wind jackets in particular can be stored in the rear pocket of a cycling jersey for later use as needed.

These traits make wind jackets ideal for those long rides when you may encounter unexpected rain or sudden changes in weather.

They are also great for early race starts, allowing cyclists to remain warm until they properly warm up themselves or the sun rises on their ride.

A secondary advantage to this option is that because wind jackets can be folded into a tiny package they take up hardly any space once they have been used, making them ideal if you don’t want too much bulk impairing your ride!

How To Choose Wind And Rain Jackets

When you’re out on the roads, make sure your jacket fits snugly and is made of a lightweight material – this will help to reduce wind flap and make it easy to store away in a pocket.

For added visibility, consider adding reflective accents to your outfit when riding in town.

Pearl iZumi’s Quest Barrier Convertible Jacket is the perfect option (and also my favorite) – it shields against light rain and wind, and the sleeves can be quickly removed and tucked away if it gets too hot.

As a beginner, resist the temptation to wear a bulky insulated jacket – you won’t need it as your body generates plenty of heat while you pedal. Instead, a pair of arm warmers offer a better solution.

8. Cycling Glasses Against Natural And Weather Hazards

Whether you’re an occasional cyclist or a true enthusiast, investing in some quality cycling glasses is an absolute must.

They provide protection from UV rays, which can cause eye strain and damage your vision over time.

They also shield you from wind, dust, flying insects, rain, snow, and other particles that may disturb you and blur your vision as you are riding.

man cyclist wearing black helmet and jersey

When shopping for cycling glasses there is a wide range of shapes and sizes available.

However the price range might surprise you – many brands offer models with hugely different prices; some costing as low as $20 while others make it all the way to $200.

But before choosing something which looks nice without stopping to consider why it is significantly more expensive than something else.

Remember that features such as polarizing lenses or extra thick frames usually cost more but make all the difference when wearing your glasses while in motion.

The Importance Of Lenses

Lenses are at the heart of all quality cycling glasses, providing superior protection from debris and direct sunlight that can cause eye irritation or worse.

When choosing a pair of cycling glasses for your next ride, it is important to consider not just style but also practicality.

In addition to providing physical protection, wearing a good pair of cycling glasses will improve your visibility on the road or trail.

fat lads wearing cycling glasses chatting with friends

For example, if there is glare off the pavement due to sunrise or sunset, polarized lenses will reduce this effect so you have better clarity and depth perception while riding.

When selecting a new pair of cycling glasses, it’s important to consider factors such as lens color (for light conditions) and coverage area (to ensure maximum protection).

With these features in mind, you’ll be able to find a comfortable set of shades that look great while protecting your eyes from natural hazards like sun exposure and harsh weather conditions.

Swapping Lenses

Cycling glasses with multiple lenses offer great versatility for those who don’t want to pay extra for multiple pairs of sunglasses.

Different lenses can be used for different weather conditions, such as a dark lens for sunny weather, a yellow lens for cloudy weather, and a transparent lens for cycling in really bad weather (rain showers or foggy days).

fat lads cycling with helmet and glasses

Some models even feature variety packs with different tints so you will be able to take on whatever weather the day throws at you.

Wearing the wrong type of lens can quickly lead to discomfort or poor visibility. So it’s important that one chooses the set of lenses that works best for their individual head shape and size.

How To Choose Cycling Glasses

When shopping for cycling glasses, there are several factors to consider.

The first is lens type; tinted lenses provide protection from the sun’s rays and will help improve visibility on sunny days, while clear lenses are ideal for night rides.

If you plan to use your sunglasses at different times of the day, then look for a pair with multiple removable lenses and an adjustable bridge over the nose.

This way you can switch between dark and light tints depending on your current activity, as well as modify the fit of the frame based on your head size.

It is also important to consider UV protection when selecting cycling glasses.

Look for lenses that feature 100% UV protection, which can deflect potentially dangerous UVA and UVB radiation and reduce eye strain in bright sunlight.

Additionally, polarized lenses offer anti-glare properties which help you see more clearly by reducing reflections that can distort vision.

9. Arm Warmers And Leg Warmers

Arm warmers and leg warmers are other essential accessories for any cyclist.

With rides often starting early in the morning, temperatures can be quite cool but may become much warmer as the miles progress.

Arm and leg warmers provide an easy way to adjust to changing conditions while on the ride.

The key is that they slip over your limbs quickly, allowing you to easily remove them when temperatures begin to rise later in the day.

Pearl Izumi Elevate Elbow Guards
Pearl iZumi Elevate Elbow Guard (Source: Pearl iZumi)

Once removed they can be tucked away into your jersey with minimal effort.

The advantage of arm and leg warmers is that they can be used both by competitive cyclists as well as recreational cyclists alike.

Both groups benefit from their ease of use and portability, although competitive cyclists often prefer more lightweight varieties for those long days on the saddle.

Leg and arm warmers are a versatile solution for keeping comfortable temperature-wise through a wide variety of situations throughout the ride.

These products often come in many different colors so riders can customize their look without breaking uniform requirements if applicable.

How to Choose Arm And Leg Warmers

Finding the right fit is key. For the best comfort, you’ll want a snug fit without any bunching at the elbows or knees.

Pearl iZumi’s Elite arm warmers and leg warmers are a popular choice for many riders because they have been updated this year with a water-shedding thermal fleece that helps keep riders insulated and comfortable in all types of weather.

You can also layer them under your jersey and bibs to prevent them from falling as you ride.

No matter what type of arm and leg warmers you choose, make sure you try them on first for size and comfort.

Keep in mind that different brands tend to offer different sizes so you might find some warmer fits more comfortable than others.

Also, consider how much insulation you will need on those cold winter rides when selecting your warmers.

My Verdict

A cycling kit is an essential part of your cycling activity.

It includes the proper bib shorts with chamois for protection and comfort, as well as jerseys and base layers to keep you warm in colder temperatures.

Bike helmet is arguably the most important piece of equipment to guard your head against any hazards.

Cycling glasses are also important; swapping lenses depending on light conditions helps ensure that your vision remains clear while riding.

Finally, arm and leg warmers can help provide extra warmth if needed. With all these items combined into one cycling kit, I’m confident you’ll be ready to face whatever terrain comes your way.

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