Dress the part: style tips for fashion-conscious cyclists
These fashion tips will make you look like a pro, if not ride like one
Becoming a mountain biker or a roadie is easy. You buy a bike, put on some old takkies and a helmet, and off you go? Wrong. Cycling fashion gurus have other things in mind.
Carey Mol, MD of Commander HQ, an online sports and lifestyle clothing store, says there are many items cyclists can't live without, such as well-padded shorts and good shoes, and gloves. But the beauty in having so many sophisticated and stylish brands to choose from means cyclists can still be fashionable and functional at the same time.
So if you want to look the part of a pro, listen up.
Say goodbye to it. Besides it being uncool to display your underwear lines, it causes uncomfortable chafe between your legs that can mean the end of your race if you're planning to cycle longer distances or even two- or three-day rides.
Always wear one. You might think it looks dorky on you, but wearing a helmet could mean the difference between life and death if you fall and hit your head.
To save yourself the embarrassment, avoid transparent cycling shorts. Make sure you do the squat test in the mirror before heading out. If you can see your bum cheeks, so can everyone else. It's also a good way to tell if it's time for a new pair.
Avoid wearing baggies unless you wear a pair of cycling shorts underneath. It'll ruin your experience. Opt for well-padded cycling shorts or bib shorts.
CYCLING JERSEYS AND TOPS
Avoid cotton and down items, which absorb sweat like a sponge. Once wet, they stay wet and heavy, risking rubbing and chafing, and leaving you freezing at rest stops. Opt for breathable layers of synthetic fabric or wool for quick drying, comfort and style.
If you're new to cycling and haven't yet got the hang of clip-on pedals, regular running shoes are fine - just make sure your laces are tied well. If you want to look like a pro, and plan to ride longer distances, invest in specialised bike shoes that can fit clip-on pedals. Opt for dark colours - your shoes will get dirty.
Mountain biking isn't all about cycling, it's also about hiking. At times you will need to carry your bike and then your bike shoes need to be comfortable to walk in. Go for durable, well-ventilated clip-on compatible shoes with good hiking traction and soles that are moderately stiff but still flex sufficiently to allow for comfortable walking.
You know you look great in your Ray Ban Aviators, and so do your friends. But unless you want to crash into the pavement because they've fogged up or keep slipping off your sweaty face, choose glasses designed for this sport and save the Top Gun look for the beach.
Once you realise just how cool your cycling kit is, you might think it's stylish to wear it at your local coffee shop, but sweet-smelling, recently showered patrons won't share your sentiment.
• This article was originally published in The Times.