If you are a cyclist, then a long cycling ride gives you a tremendous sense of accomplishment, be it a beginner or a seasoned cyclist. But, if you are relatively new to the sport or haven’t attempted anything longer than two-hours, then there’s no need to feel intimidated. A lot of things should be taken into consideration for long distance cycling, from gears to attire, fitness capability to proper strategy and planning than just fitness.
But what should I wear for long-distance cycling?
Of course, long-distance cycling requires a certain level of endurance, and it is best to develop it gradually with the intensity of riding. Choosing your long-distance cycling gear requires planning, balancing your needs, and the availability of space in your bag. It is essential to prepare yourself before going on the tour and consider these aspects before long-distance cycling.
- Know the weather conditions
It is important to research the weather conditions of the location that you will be covering in the duration. Consider the ‘worst-case scenario’ and keep a tab on the region’s weather conditions at that time of the year. If it is prone to cold or wet conditions, you require proper cycling clothes like waterproof cycling gloves, boot covers, warm base layers, cold and wet weather gear for a wonderful experience.
I know it is not the most exciting thing for long-distance cycling, but it is essential to know your laundry’s average length of time. If you have access to laundry machines or services and can wash them every day (or every alternate day), get them done. Also, prepare yourself if the situation stands contrary to your plan.
PS: Don’t forget about detergents.
- Understand the availability
Study your route and check what will come along the way. If there are cycling shops with clothing and essentials, it lessens your packing burden. Also, check for their opening and closing time and match your reaching time to avoid any confusion or unavoidable circumstances. The lighter you pack, the easier it is.
- Know your limits
Know your guidelines, if you are travelling self-supported, prioritise those that can be fit into your panniers. For an organised tour, or vehicle supported bicycle tour, know the size of your bags and essentials allowed in the trip.
Ask the experienced cyclists or the ones organising the tour, ask them if you’d be spending the night on camps and the required necessity.
Know about the layering of your clothing
If you are going for long-distance cycling, then layering is your key clothing strategy. You will experience unpredictability and variation in weather conditions, and no one type of clothing is a solution for them. Your layering could be anything, from wearing inner vests with long sleeve cycling jerseys to cycling shorts. With this, you’d be able to cope with different weathers without overheating yourself when the temperature rises.
- The base layer is thin and made up of synthetic wicking or natural material that keeps you dry by maintaining the moisture rate. It can be worn on both chilly and warm weather conditions.
- Mid-layer: Also known as a cycling jersey, it is a suitable design essential clothing that maintains the body’s temperature without any hassle.
- Outer layer: This is pretty straightforward; it blocks the wind and rain. When the temperature drops or if it rains, you would want to keep on. It can be removed as per the requirement.
With these 3 layers for your upper body, it helps you cycle comfortably without exposing to the extremities of the weather.
Going cycling in the heat? Things to consider
If you are cycling where the consistent temperature above 30° Celsius with direct sunlight, consider these things:
- Sun sleeves: It is a great way to keep you from overheating and sunburns. Look for the ones that provide UPF protection.
- Loose-fitting clothes: For humid weather, some opt for loose-fitting clothes for more breathability.
- Sun visor: Wearing cycling caps under your hat helps protect against the harsh sun rays.
Your essential packing list should contain:
If you are going for cycling tour for 2-3 weeks or longer, consider the following-
- 3-4 pairs of high-quality padded cycling shorts
- A pair of cycling (comfortable) shoes
- 2 cycling jerseys or mid-layer shirt, 1 long-sleeved and 3 short-sleeved
- 1 lightweight thermal long sleeve top and base layer
- 1 pair of waterproof rain pants
- 1 cycling helmet
- A pair of sunglasses
- Face/neck covering
- Arm and leg warmers
- Sun sleeves
- Cycling cap
If you’ll be cycling on a tour where you’re likely to face very cold conditions while cycling, it is recommended:
- The lightweight thermal pants base layer
- Compressible insulated jacket
- Under helmet insulated cycling cap (covering ears)
- A pair of waterproof cycling shoe covers (insulated)
- A couple of heavier winter cycling gloves
For information on men’s cycling clothing, browse the collection of Sub4 Apparel for more.