If you're new to cycling, it can be tricky to know exactly what you should wear. Cycling isn't like other sports where general 'sportswear' will suffice. Instead, it is far better to buy some specialist cyclewear for the best sporting performance and your own comfort. But what exactly does 'cyclewear' entail, and how do you make sure you still look great?
Firstly, the general rule is 'the tighter the better'. This is because loose fabrics make you less streamlined and can slow you down, and particularly in the case of loose sports trousers, fabric can become caught up in the spokes of the wheels or in the pedals which can be extremely dangerous. Also look out for long cords hanging down from trousers as this can pose the same issue. Ideally, you'll go for tight cycle shorts, or women might like to go for leggings. This keeps you more streamlined so you can pick up more speed.
In terms of tops, cycle jerseys are your best bet. You can find men's cycle jerseys and women's cycle jerseys in a vast range of designs, from the plain to the quirky, so you don't need to settle for something generic. It is important to buy the right jersey for your sex, as they are made to fit each respective body type, so you will get the right fit for comfort.
When it comes to shoes, you want something sturdy but flexible. This is because a completely solid sole won't move comfortably on the pedal, so something which bends a little might be a better idea. Find shoelaces that won't keep coming undone, as this can also be a risk if they get stuck in the wheels as you won't be able to stop with your feet efficiently.
If you are taking a bag, make it a backpack . Anything else will get in the way. If possible, opt for one which straps across your torso between the shoulder straps to make sure it sits securely and doesn't move around while you're on the move. Don't put too many things in this as it may become too heavy and unbalance you. Water and an emergency first aid kid, along with a torch and a map, are the essential pieces of kit.
Make sure you wear sunglasses if it is particularly bright to help you see. This will help to prevent any collisions or accidents caused by the brightness, so make sure they block the sun sufficiently so that you can cycle safely.