What to Wear on a Bike Ride

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Last Updated on August 18, 2020

Dressing up properly for cycling is easier said than done. Many cyclists do it wrong and some don’t do it at all. Because hitting the road without protective clothing could be potentially as dangerous, it’s important to know what to wear on a bike ride before getting in the binge. 

At the end of the day, you want to have an exceptional cycling experience. So besides tuning up your bike’s chain for better performance, you also need to make sure you dress up well for the occasion. 

With that said, here’s a list of what we believe you should wear on your next cycling adventure. 

What to Wear on a Bike Ride 


1. Bike Shorts

Bike short are all the rage these days, and for a reason. When it comes to biking properly, whether for fun or workout, these shorts can make the difference. 

To be clear, I’m not saying you should take one of the shorts in your closet and set it aside for cycling. Instead, invest in shorts specifically designed for cycling if you haven’t already. 

Good bike shorts are elastic. They stretch out easily and naturally, allowing flexible movement as you cycle. Their padded liners provide comfort while eliminating friction and reducing moisture. 

As for the material, I suggest that you buy cycling shorts made of Lycra. The fabric is breathable enough to keep you cool and dry throughout your cycling adventure. 

2. Gloves

Gloves may not be on the list of your must-have bike accessories, but it would be a great thing to have. In addition to keeping you warm, gloves can also provide a layer of protection in case of an accidental fall. 

While you can wear any pair of gloves in warm weather, we don’t recommend models with cut out fingers. The right pair of bike gloves, in our opinion should cover all your fingers and provide the kind of protection you need. 

Some cyclists can go as far as to argue that fingerless gloves are excellent for moisture absorption. That’s true, so is the case with gloves that cover your fingers. All you have to do is to make sure they’re breathable and well cushioned. 

3. Cycling Sunglasses

While cycling sunglasses are not a must-have, it’s still one of the things you might want to wear on a bike ride. 

And let me be clear: 

Cycling glasses are advanced in design. They do more than just to protect your eyes from elements blown by wind. They’re also good in protecting your eyes from the harmful UV rays without altering the color of objects around. 

Today, any cyclist can wear these protective glasses because they’re relatively cheap. I own three pairs, and I can tell you for sure that I haven’t seen sunglasses that cost more than $100. Or maybe I haven’t dug enough, but you get the idea nonetheless. 

4. Bike Helmet

We’ve written quite a lot about helmets, and that’s because they’re the most important accessories to wear before going for a bike ride. You can fail to fit a phone mount on your bike or maybe even commute just fine without a bike bell, but I doubt you’ll always be safe without a helmet. 

Review authors have conducted in-depth studies on the effectiveness of bike helmets. And according to this analysis, they concluded that well-built bicycle helmets reduce serious and fatal brain and head injuries by up to 88%. The study, in essence, reveals that helmets are important, and you can’t take chances by riding a bike without wearing one. 

Of course, you won’t get a penalty wear helmet, but it’s important to wear one for your safety. As for choosing a good helmet for the ride, we’ve written a handy guide that can help you find a helmet that fits. Click here to read it. 

5. Cycling Shoes

The shoes you wear for cycling will depend on your kind of ride. Regular training sneakers are fine for commuter bikes. However, I don’t expect you to wear canvas or vans shoes for mountain bike riding. 

There’s a reason why the best cycling shoes exist in the first place. In fact, manufacturers have given such shoes a special build, with their goal being to give you the ultimate cycling experience. 

So instead of using your regular New Balance walking shoes or Jordan Air sneakers, spend your money only on footwear designed for cyclists.

You can take this even further with overshoes, which are great if you want to pull over your cycling shoes. From a design and performance standpoint, overshoes are useful because they provide a waterproof layer to your cycling shoes. The layer bars puddle splashes, rain, and water from entering your shoes, thus keeping your feet dry throughout your ride. 

Are overshoes a must-have? 

Well, I don’t think so. But if you’re planning to ride your bike no matter the weather, you’ll find them quite handy. 

The cycling shoe covers are also a good alternative to overshoes. They’re not only cheap but also they can protect your shoes from external elements. 

One last thing: 

The cost of these shoes varies depending on the brand. So make sure you know how much you’re willing to spend before you choose a pair. 

6. Cycling Cap

I’m not a big fan of bicycle caps. They’re not even necessary as such. However, I do love the ones with peaks on the front, and for a reason. The peak provides shade against the sun, so such a cap can be quite helpful.  

One of the things I love about cap designed for cyclists is that they’re absolutely cheap. In fact, you can get one for as low as $15. So when it comes to this, cost isn’t necessarily an issue.

7. Cycling Jersey 

I can’t close this list without mentioning cycling jerseys. They’ve been an essential part of my cycling wear for as long as I can remember. I like my jerseys bright and colorful. Usually the more reflective it is, the more visible I am to other road users. 

Try to avoid anything black, unless it has reflective strips on it. Remember, cycling isn’t about dressing to kill. It’s about dressing up properly to get an exceptional cycling experience without compromising your safety. 

Harold Whitford

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About the Author

My name is Harold Whitford, a husband, father, and avid cyclist with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management from the University of Delaware. Having been in the industry for more than 15 years, I have a number of the road race and national time trial championships in my bag.

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