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Rapha Cycling Jerseys

Fit & Function: Why Do Cycling Jerseys, Shorts, and Cleats Matter?

Cycling jerseys, shorts, and cleats are some staples that every cyclist should have in their closet — here’s why.

If you’re just getting into cycling and you don’t yet have the exact wardrobe that you see among other riders, you don’t need to sweat it too much just yet. But, you may want to consider investing in a few standard cycling pieces at some point.

This is because cyclists don’t just dress to look like pros. Every aspect of a cyclist’s outfit has its own purpose beyond the aesthetic.

Here are three main pieces of the wardrobe every bike rider should have in their closet:

1. Jerseys are multifunctional
Rapha Cycling
(Photo credit: Rapha on Instagram)

The first important factor of a good cycling jersey is the material. Cyclists spend hours exerting effort under the sun, and because of this, they need to be wearing materials made for this, such as lycra, spandex, nylon, or polyester. Jerseys make use of these because they don’t trap heat, they feel cool, and they allow sweat to evaporate more quickly than normal cotton, helping cyclists regulate body temperature.

Specialized Cycling

Another factor is the fit. Cyclists can’t wear just any sweat-wicking top — it needs to have a proper fit. Cycling jerseys are normally tight fitting, not to flex, but to provide aerodynamic efficiency. When cycling, you want as little wind resistance as possible, and a proper, snug jersey will provide this.

Castelli Cycling Jerseys
(Photo credit: Castelli Cycling on Instagram)

Finally, jerseys are functional in more ways than one. Many cycling jerseys also include pockets, normally located on the lower back. This is where cyclists can keep their biking essentials, such as power bars, a mini pump, and emergency cash, among other necessities.

2. Cycling shorts are designed for comfort
Specialized Cycling Jerseys
(Photo credit: Specialized PH on Instagram)

Cycling shorts have become a fashion trend in recent years, even among non-cyclists, but for spending hours on a bike, you need to make sure you have a pair that includes a chamois.

Bike seats are not comfortable. And this is why cycling shorts have chamois, which refers to the soft padding that is meant to go between the cyclist and the bike seat. These are normally cushiony without being too bulky, providing cyclists with comfort in sensitive areas.

Rapha Cycling Bibs
(Photo credit: Rapha on Instagram)

When cyclists want to go a step above for their comfort, some will even opt for cycling bibs instead of just normal cycling shorts. A bib is basically a pair of shorts that is connected with straps that rest on your shoulders — kind of like suspenders! These may look silly without a cycling jersey to go on top of it. But, using a bib means that your shorts won’t roll down throughout your ride and the garter won’t irritate or chafe your skin.

3. Cleats give you more power
Trek Cycling Shoes
(Photo credit: Trek Bikes Philippines on Instagram)

Not all cyclists make use of cleats right from the get-go, but most will eventually level up and get a pair. This is because cleats make a bike ride a lot more efficient.

When wearing normal shoes when biking, the only way to generate power is by pushing downwards on the pedal. But, with a cleat that attaches your shoes to the bike enables more sources of power. Your foot will be able to push down like normal, but it will also be able to pull up on the pedal since it is attached. This is especially useful when you want to get past an uphill as fast as possible.

Learning how to clip in and out of your pedals will be a struggle at first (you may even fall), but it’s all part of the process.

Banner image from Rapha on Instagram.

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