GETTING YOUR OUTFIT RIGHT: HOW TO PICK THE IDEAL CYCLING JERSEY
A regular t-shirt is fine if you’re just going to the next street or running errands around town on your bike. If you’re interested in going on more demanding rides though, a cycling-specific jersey will be of immense benefit to your comfort and efficiency.
WHY WEAR A CYCLING JERSEY?
A cotton tee might keep you cool for a little while; until it gets drenched with the litres of sweat that your body will release in the course of a hard ride, that is. On the other hand, cycling tops are made with fast wicking fabrics that draw sweat away from your body and facilitate quick evaporation.
Nowadays, many of them are designed to provide protection from harmful UV rays. If you are going to be riding in a very sunny area, this is definitely something you should keep an eye out for.
Pockets are another very important feature: Jerseys have pockets to help you carry essentials like food supplements and toolsets in a secure way. If you don’t think it’s important for you to carry a toolset as you ride, think about how you’d feel facing a minor fault 50 kilometres away from the nearest bike shop.
However, just like bikes and cyclists themselves, not all cycling jerseys for sale online are created equal, so knowing what to look out for will help you pick out the one that’s ideal for you.
SHORT OR LONG SLEEVES?
Short sleeve jerseys are made with thin fabrics that have the primary goal of making sure that perspiration doesn’t stay on your body. They often have mesh venting panels in the armpit area or on the back to help airflow. Buy one of these if you’re looking for versatility, as you can always wear arm warmers or a lightweight rain jacket if the temperature is sufficiently low or when it starts raining.
If you’ll be riding in very low temperatures, nothing beats having a long sleeve jersey designed with insulation in mind. They come with thicker weaves that trap warm air between the jersey and your body and are also windproof to shield you from the cold winds you’ll come across. On Bike Chaser, you can also find thinner ones that are just perfect for the odd chilly day in spring, autumn or summer.
Whether you’re looking at a short or long sleeve cycling jersey, be sure to check on the construction of the sleeve. There are two options: Raglan sleeves or set-in sleeves. The first ones have a triangular shape beginning at the neck and wrapping around the shoulder and upper arms; providing for an easier fit in motion, while the second type is just like what you’d find on a regular tee.
FABRICS AND MATERIALS
All fabrics that manufacturers like Rapha, Baum, Kona and Giordana make use of have wicking qualities to make sure you stay dry, but the different fabric options have varying levels of efficiency in doing that.
The vast majority of cycling wear you’ll come across will be made from synthetic materials like polyester, polyamide or elastane. They are lightweight and have great breathability, which makes them ideal for hot weather. They are great at wicking moisture away too, as well as being very quick to dry.
When it comes to natural fabric, wool is the most common choice, especially merino wool. It’s great for regulating your temperature in cold weather and stays warm even when it’s wet, making sure you don’t catch a chill. It wicks and dries well too and is soft against the skin, making it less likely to result in uncomfortable rubbing and chafing.
One other great thing about wool is that it has exceptional anti-bacterial qualities. Fat molecules in your sweat don’t bind natural fibres as easily as they do synthetic ones so you’ll be able to wear your cycling clothing quite a number of times before it begins to smell.
FIT AND CUT
An ill-fitting jersey is something you should never have to deal with. Apart from flapping in the wind, distracting you and reducing your speed, it can also expose flesh that you do not necessarily want to be on show while you ride. You should also be sure to narrow your search by filtering men’s or women’s cycling kits, depending on who you’re shopping for.
A closer fit will help to wick away your sweat much more efficiently and improve your aerodynamics since there’s less fabric for the wind to catch and pull you back with. If you’re just beginning or not really prioritizing speed, you can go with one that has a looser fit since it’ll allow air to circulate around your body better. You’ll also be able to look stylish even when you’re off your bicycle.
At the higher end of the cycling clothing range, you’ll find ones that have a bike-riding specific cut with extended tails that cover your lower back and articulated arms that ensure you’re comfortable when you’re bent over in a riding position.
ZIPPERS AND POCKETS
A full length zip will give you more flexibility so you can increase or decrease ventilation as necessary in the course of your ride, as well as making it much easier to access the braces of bib shorts. There are different zipper lengths available, including the 5-inch one that is predominant on cycling wear designed for casual riders. A good rule of thumb is that the longer you’ll be riding and the more arduous your trips will be, the longer the zip to get.
Other things to look out for include whether there’s a zip garage, which is a nifty feature that will eliminate chafing at the chin. A tactile zip also makes it easier to find the zip as you ride and you can even get an invisible zipper that is sewn in such a way that it doesn’t show to disrupt the print on your outfit.
More pockets are better, though three is a standard that’ll be good for most people. If you want to listen to music as you ride, make sure the cycling apparel you’re considering has earphone ports you can thread the cable through so you don’t have wires dangling from your head as you ride.