Read these 5 Sports Apparel for Biking Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Sports Apparel tips and hundreds of other topics.
When biking outdoors, you're generating less heat and more wind resistance than you do when you're walking or running. If you choose a jacket that's too breathable, the wind will pass through it and you may feel too cold. Read the labels and try a jacket with more wind resistance, such as jackets make with Gore-tex.
Although you can certainly wear any style of sports jacket for biking, a stand-up collar is a helpful feature because it reduces the breeze on your neck, which makes many cyclists more comfortable.
Giving the windiness that accompanies biking outdoors, you may want an extra layer over your torso for warmth, but without the bulk of a jacket. If that's the case, add a vest. Most sports apparel manufacturers make sports vests that work well for biking.
Depending on the conditions and your preferences, you can find vests in wind-resistant fabrics such as Gore-tex, which work best as an outer layer, or puffer-style vests made of down or a down substitute. Down vests are bulkier than the breathable, moisture-wicking styles, but they are warmer and may be a good choice for the casual cyclist who is not pedaling as fast and getting as warm as someone who's out for a training ride. A fleece vest is another good layering alternative for cyclists, and a lightweight fleece vest often works well when layered over a long-sleeved moisture-wicking shirt and under a wind-resistant jacket.
It should be the first thing you think about before biking: the most important sports apparel you need for biking is a well-fitted helmet. Even for casual riding, your bike helmet protects you against the less-than-alert car drivers on the road, and for the other people and objects that may distract you and cause you to lose your balance. A bike helmet should sit low on your forehead and should not wobble. Ideally, purchase a helmet at a store that sells sports apparel and accessories and find a knowledgeable salesperson to help you try on a helmet or two to get the right fit. Although bike helmets are adjustable and essentially unisex, if you have a small head, seek out a helmet that is specifically labeled as a women's model and you are more likely to get the snug fit that you need.
Close-fitting biking shorts are the choice of serious cyclists for a reason: They minimize wind resistance and they have no extra fabric to catch on any part of the bike. Also, fitted biking shorts won't ride up while you're riding.
This style of short is a great choice for casual cyclists, too, and the choices are impressive. These shorts are available from many sports apparel manufacturers such as Champion, Nike, and Adidas, in a variety of lengths, from 3 inches at the inseam all the way to knee-length.
In addition, you can find biking shorts with no frills or special features including mesh panels for extra ventilation, key pockets, gel pockets, extra padding, ergonomic seams, and compression fabric.
If you're doing a biking workout indoors, weather is not a factor. Instead, the type of exercise clothes that you wear depend on how hard you want to work out and how much you want to sweat. If you are just pedaling steadily for half an hour while you read a magazine, any shirt, long or short sleeves, and any style of athletic shorts or pants will do. Even casual sports clothing styles are fine for moderate stationary biking.
But if you're taking a Spinning® class, or doing a tempo ride, or just pedaling hard enough to get sweaty, you'll be more comfortable in a moisture-wicking top and shorts or pants.