If you are a keen cyclist, or want to increase your cycling, this year, now is the time to check out the sales in a range of cycling stores. Many retailers are offering bargain prices on clothing, bikes and equipment – but make sure you spend your money wisely. A bargain buy is only a good buy if the item fits well or will be very useful.
Cycle shorts for guys and girls: Bicycle seats were never going to offer good comfort levels, even if you choose to buy a gel-filled or women-specific saddle (see below). Sitting on a thin saddle for hours on end will cause pressure to build up in your nether region – and many riders moan about sores and rubs. To avoid the worst of this, a pair of cycle shorts is essential. Make sure you buy shorts to suit your gender because the padding is designed to offer comfort in different areas. If you can’t stand to be seen in tight Lycra cycling shorts, choose a pair of mountain bike style shorts that have a looser fit.
Cleats and pedals: Clipping into pedals can make a huge difference to the way that you ride a bike. Having your feet attached to the pedals means you will gain power in both the down and upward movement of pedalling. You need to try this bike kit to discover the joys of cycling with cleats – but once you have given cleats a go you’ll never look back. For those that don’t know, the cleats are the bits that attach to the underside of your cycling shoes. The cleats then clip into the pedals. It takes a bit of practice to clip in and clip out but once you have the hang of this you’ll be cycling stronger, further and faster.
Overshoes: When it’s wet and/or cold a pair of overshoes are invaluable. Look for overshoes made from Gore-Tex or neoprene for maximum waterproofing. Choose thicker, more robust overshoes for winter wear and lighter, thinner overshoes for the summertime.
Helmet: Strangely, the less helmet you buy the more expensive it tends to be. That’s because lighter weight helmets have to be designed to offer maximum safety while also offering lots of breathability. So, in general, a pricer helmet will have more air holes. Pricier helmets are usually more aerodynamic, too, and you pay for this sleeker look. Buying a helmet in the sale could be the way to get yourself a lid that is high on safety but also good looking!
Cycling glasses: Riding at speed along mucky and wet roads, or while it’s raining, means your eyes are open to attack from grit and water. Many cyclists now wear wrap-around cycling glasses to keep the worst of the yuk from precious eyeballs. Choose clear glasses for dull and winter days and darker lenses for keeping out the glare of the sunshine in summer.
Women’s saddles: Girls, if you have not yet tried a women-specific bike saddle then you haven’t discovered the joys of cycling in much less pain. A women’s saddle usually features a cut out section at the front/middle area of the saddle so that there is less pressure on the front area of your nether region (I am sure you know what I’m saying). This is especially important for women cycling in a racing bike position because you will be bent forward over the handlebars, which can often create more pressure down below. Many women who buy ladies specific bike seats report that they do not then need to wear overly padded cycling shorts (see above) and instead choose a much more attractive “thinner padded” pair of shorts.
Cycling jacket: A cycling specific jacket can be a costly outlay for riders but if you plan to cycle in the UK you will definitely need one. That’s why it’s a good idea to check out the sales for this item. A cycling jacket should offer extra back length and longer length of sleeves because when you’re on a bike you lean forward and a non-cycling jacket will leave your wrists and bum exposed to the elements. Choose Gore-Tex (or similar) if you have the money for maximum waterproofing and breathability. Other fabrics will offer good waterproof qualities but less breathability. Fairweather cyclists will get away with a showerproof jacket.
New cycling clothing and kit always makes you more motivated to get on your bike so you might also find our blog about the best cycling apps useful for staying focused in training, or why not set yourself a goal, such as a must-do bike ride or a cycling holiday?