Optimal Cycling Comfort: 6 Easy Tips to Selecting the Right Apparel for an Effortless Ride

Optimal Cycling Comfort: 6 Easy Tips to Selecting the Right Apparel for an Effortless Ride

The cycling attire market is overflowing with options, which can make it difficult to decide on the right cycling apparel to buy.

To streamline your selection process, here are some pointers to consider when shopping for clothes designed for biking, that will improve your bike riding experience.

If you don't fancy reading through my rather extensive guide, just hop down to the last section for my shortcut summary to picking your perfect cycling apparel!

The Importance of Being At Ease on your Bike

If you are a cycling enthusiast, then you know that being at ease on your bike is crucial for an enjoyable and successful ride. It is not just about the physical comfort, but also about the mental and emotional state that being at ease brings. One of the key factors in achieving this state is choosing the right cycling clothes. 

When it comes to cycling, comfort is key. The right cycling clothes can make a world of difference in your riding experience.

For example: The materials used in cycling jerseys are designed to wick away sweat and keep you cool and dry, even during intense rides.

Female cyclist wearing bright coloured cycling jersey and looking out over view

Well made cycling shorts provide the right amount of padding in all the right places to prevent chafing and discomfort. This allows you to focus on the ride itself, rather than worrying about any distractions. 

Additionally, the right cycling clothes can also enhance your performance on the bike. They are designed to be aerodynamic, reducing drag and allowing you to ride faster and more efficiently.

The snug fit ensures that the clothes stay in place and do not flap in the wind, which can slow you down and drive you crazy! By choosing the right clothing, you are giving yourself a competitive edge and maximizing your potential on the bike. 

Furthermore, wearing the right cycling clothes can also boost your confidence and overall enjoyment of the sport. When you feel good in what you are wearing, you exude a positive energy that translates into better performance.

The right cycling clothes can make you feel like a pro, even if you are just starting out. They give you a sense of belonging and identity within the cycling community, which can be incredibly motivating and inspiring. 


1 - Finding the Perfect Fabric

When it comes to cycling, having the right gear is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable ride. One important aspect of cycling gear that is often overlooked is the fabric used in the clothing. The perfect fabric can make a world of difference in terms of comfort, performance, and durability.

One popular choice for cycling clothing is polyester. Polyester fabrics are known for their durability and moisture-wicking capabilities. They are designed to pull sweat away from your body and keep you cool and dry during intense rides.

Additionally, polyester fabrics are quick-drying, which means you won't have to worry about sitting in wet clothes after a sweaty ride. Another great feature of polyester is its ability to retain its shape even after multiple washes, ensuring that your cycling clothes will last for a long time.

Unfortunately, while polyeter performs very well in all functinal aspects, it is also responsibel for the growing problem of micro-plastic pollution. But fortunatly there are other options, as I mention below.

Another fabric option worth considering is merino wool. While it may seem counterintuitive to wear wool in hot weather, merino wool is actually an excellent choice for cycling clothes.

Merino wool is incredibly soft and comfortable against the skin, making it ideal for long rides. It also has natural moisture-wicking properties that help regulate body temperature and keep you cool in hot weather - while retaining warmth in cool weather, even when wet!

Additionally, merino wool is naturally odor-resistant, which means you won't have to worry about your cycling clothes developing a funky smell over time.

Whether you choose polyester for its durability and moisture-wicking capabilities or merino wool for its softness and temperature regulation, make sure the quality of crafting and stiching allow for easy care, particularly hand-washing!

This last point is a must for me, as I can use only 1 or 2 sets of cycling gear for a week long bike tour or more, by washing and drying my riding clothes out at the end of each day.

Optimal Comfort Cycling: Selecting the Right Apparel for an Effortless Ride article

2 - Choosing Your Perfect Cycling Shorts

When it comes to cycling, one of the most important investments you can make is a pair of high-quality cycling shorts. Not only do they provide comfort and protection during long rides, but they can also enhance your performance and make your cycling experience more enjoyable.

First and foremost, consider the material of the cycling shorts. Look for shorts made from breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics such as spandex or lycra. These materials will keep you cool and dry during intense rides by wicking away sweat from your body.

Additionally, make sure the shorts have a good amount of stretch to allow freedom of movement. At the same time, a snug fit is crucial to prevent chafing and discomfort.

Next, pay attention to the padding or chamois in the cycling shorts. The padding is designed to provide cushioning and support to your sit bones, reducing pressure on sensitive areas.

Man holding chamois padding on cycling shorts

Look for shorts with a high-quality chamois that is thick enough to provide adequate protection, yet not so thick that it feels bulky. The chamois should also be ergonomically shaped to fit the contours of your body and provide maximum comfort - always choose mens or ladies specific padding!

Another important factor to consider is the fit of the cycling shorts. They should fit snugly around your waist and thighs without being too tight or restrictive. Look for shorts with a wide waistband that sits comfortably on your hips and doesn't dig into your skin. It's also a good idea to choose shorts with leg grippers or silicone strips to keep them in place while you ride.

Lastly, don't forget about style and design. While it may not affect the functionality of the shorts, feeling good in what you wear can boost your confidence and make you enjoy your rides even more. Choose a design that reflects your personality and makes you excited to get on your bike.

Full disclosure: I have not worn padded cycling shorts in years, I opt for a combination of fitted lycra sports underwear and comfortable, light and breathable overshorts. If I know it will be a long days ride, I use some zinc based nappy rash cream to prevent saddle rash!

3 - Choosing Your Perfect Cycling Jersey

The selection of the correct cycling jersey is an essential part of a cyclist's apparel. With the right choice, riders can make sure that they have the best apparel for their ride. It is important to consider the type of activity, climate, and fit when Choosing a cycling jersey.

So, how do you go about Choosing the perfect cycling jersey? here are my 6 pointers to keep in mind for comfort and convenience:

  1. First and foremost, consider the type of cycling you'll be engaging in. Are you planning on going for a long distance ride or a quick sprint? Different activities require different types of jerseys, so make sure you choose one that suits your specific needs.
  2. Next, take into account the climate in which you'll be cycling. If you'll be riding in hot weather, opt for a jersey that is made from breathable and moisture-wicking fabric. On the other hand, if you'll be cycling in cooler temperatures, go for a jersey that provides insulation and warmth.
  3. Fit is also an important factor to consider when Choosing a cycling jersey. You want a jersey that fits snugly but not too tight. It should allow for ease of movement and not restrict your range of motion. Look for jerseys with stretchable fabric and ergonomic designs to ensure a comfortable fit.
  4. Another pointer to keep in mind is the length of the jersey. Some riders prefer shorter jerseys that end at the waist, while others prefer longer ones that cover the hips. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what makes you feel most comfortable during your rides.
  5. Additionally, pay attention to the features and functionality of the jersey. Look for jerseys with pockets at the back to store essentials like snacks, keys, or a phone. Consider jerseys with reflective accents for added visibility during low-light conditions. These small details can greatly enhance your cycling experience.
  6. Lastly, don't forget to consider style. While performance should be your top priority, there's no harm in choosing a jersey that looks good too! Opt for colors and designs that resonate with your personal style and make you feel confident as you hit the road.

My personal preference is almost invariably a cool weather short sleeve jersey, with a full-length zipper and arm warmers in my back pocket. Paired with a light rain or wind shell jacket, you can accommodate for almost any type of weather on any given ride, with minimal packing!

6 Tips for Choosing Comfortable Cycling Clothes - Cycling gear on cyclists

When it comes to cycling jerseys, you have many options. You can select from long-sleeved and short-sleeved varieties, as well as a range of colors and designs.

But when it comes to Choosing the right jersey for you, it's important to not be swayed by trends. Instead, choose the jersey that is most suitable and comfortable for you!

4 - Choosing Your Perfect Cycling Jacket

When it comes to choosing the perfect cycling jacket, functionality should be your top priority.

Choosing the perfect cycling jacket - lady wearing a comfortable cycling jacket

You want a jacket that will keep you warm and protected from the elements, but also one that won't restrict your movement or cause discomfort during your ride. To help you find the right jacket, here are six tips to keep in mind:

  1. Firstly, consider the weather conditions you'll be cycling in. If you often ride in cold and wet climates, look for a jacket that is waterproof and windproof. This will ensure that you stay dry and warm no matter what Mother Nature throws at you. On the other hand, if you live in a hot and humid area, opt for a jacket that is breathable and lightweight to prevent overheating.
  2. Secondly, pay attention to the fit of the jacket. It's important that your cycling jacket fits snugly but not too tight. You want enough room to layer underneath if needed, but also a close fit to avoid any excess fabric flapping in the wind. Look for jackets with adjustable features such as cuffs and hems to customize the fit to your liking.
  3. In order to protect your stomach and back from the chill in the air, an elastic waistband is essential during colder and windier days. Therefore, when Choosing a jacket, opt for something made with breathable material that also features pockets and an elastic waistband.
  4. Next, consider the visibility of the jacket. If you often ride in low light or dark conditions, it's essential to choose a jacket with reflective elements or bright colors to increase your visibility to motorists. Safety should always be a priority when cycling, and a high-visibility jacket can greatly reduce the risk of accidents.
  5. Another important factor to consider is the functionality of the jacket. My primary concern is weight and size: my jacket fits up in a rear jersey pocket! Also look for features such as multiple pockets for storing essentials like keys and snacks, as well as ventilation options to help regulate your body temperature during intense rides.
  6. Lastly, don't forget about style. While comfort and functionality should be your main focus, there's no harm in choosing a jacket that looks good too. Find a design and color that you love and feel confident wearing on your rides!

As per the previous section regarding cycling jersey choice, my preference is for a very light wind / rain breaker jacket that ensures I can stay warm in all but the most extreme cold temperatures or heavy rain when paired with arm warmers, and that take up very little space in a pocket or bike bag.

5 - Choosing Appropriate Eyewear and Hand Protection

If you plan to ride your bike in good weather conditions, sunglasses are a must. Not only do they shield you from the sun's rays, they can protect your eyes from any bugs or particles that may be flying around.

Young lady wearing cycling sunglasses and looking over the ocean

I strongly recommend you select glasses with polarized lenses for their effectiveness in various light conditions. An extra bonus to this is that when biking along the shoreline, you can sometimes catch a glimpse of fish swimming beneath the glimmering ocean!


It is essential to have gloves if cycling for any extended period of time, and I recommend having 2 pairs of gloves on any multi-day ride - one for warm weather and one for cold or rainy weather:

  • For warm weather I find it beneficial to buy fingerless gloves with gel cushioning and breathable, UV protecting upper material.
  • For cold and rainy days I suggest opting for waterproof gloves, which will keep your fingers warm even with intense rain and wind chill.

Long and short cycling gloves

With this 2 glove setup, can help to guard your hands burning sun, from cold weather and wind, as well as reduce tiredness in your hands while riding the handlebars, making the experience more comfortable. And last but not least, they may save your palms from a nasty road rash...

Optimal Comfort Cycling: Selecting the Right Apparel for an Effortless Ride article

6 - Choosing Your Perfect Cycling Shoes

Choosing the perfect cycling shoes is a crucial aspect of enhancing your biking experience. The right pair not only improves your pedaling efficiency but also ensures comfort during long rides.

When selecting cycling shoes, it's essential to consider the type of cycling you engage in - road biking shoes differ significantly from mountain biking or casual riding ones. Look for a snug fit that still allows for some toe movement to avoid cramping and consider whether you'll be spending soem time walking in your shoes.

White road cycling shoe with protruding cleats

For bike touring, I recommend mountain type recessed cleats, so you can walk in your cycling shoes, or simply firm-soled sneakers if you are going to be walking on cobbles or exploring castles and vinyards!

The sole's rigidity is key for power transfer, with stiffer soles being better for performance but potentially less comfortable for casual rides. Compatibility with your pedal system is a must, so make sure to check whether the shoes are designed for SPD, Look, or other cleat types.

Additionally, ventilation and weather-appropriateness are important; more breathable materials are ideal for hot climates, while waterproof options suit wetter conditions, just remeber that waterproof often means hot and humid on the inside!

My current preference for bike touring is standard all-weather mountainbike shoes with a recessed cleat (Shimano SPD), with wool socks on rainy days. The wool keeps your feet warm, even if they get wet, and they never overheat - amazing! 

Remember: Wear a Helmet!

A helmet should not be viewed as a mere accessory, but rather as a critical part of cycling safety. To find the ideal helmet, you must find one that fits comfortably. It should be placed level on your head, not slanting backwards or forwards.

The straps should make a Y configuration beneath your ears when being worn, and it should be snug yet not too tight.

Always pick a helmet with a dial-in adjustment on the headband. When you move your head back and forth, the helmet should not budge.

Your helmet should always be worn before starting your bike ride! We offer adjustable and EU certified helmets in two sizes, allowing you to save space in your luggage if you choose to rent one. See here for more information.

Optimal Comfort Cycling: Selecting the Right Apparel for an Effortless Ride article

6 Quick Tips to Pick Your Perfect Cycling Apparel

In a nutshell, if you have clothes that are suitable for cycling and make you feel relaxed, you will likely enjoy being on the bike for a longer period of time.

Here are my 6 quick tips to help you select your perfect cycling apparel:

  1. Pick cycling clothes made from breathable and high visibility materials.
  2. Ensure that your biking garments offer a comfortable fit for layering.
  3. Wear layers to adjust for changing temperatures during your ride.
  4. Make sure you protect your eyes and hands with gloves and glasses.
  5. Always wear a comfortable and lightweight helmet for safety.
  6. Choose clothes that are easy to care for and can handle hand washing.

If you have found this article of some use, please share it with your biking buddies and go out and ride!

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