Friday, March 25, 2011

Fashionable Cycling Clothes?

I went for a bike ride last week around my house. I did 6.1 miles in 26 minutes at an average speed of 14.1 mph. It was windy, and there are steep hills on my route. According to, the biggest hill is a 3.1% grade that continues for 0.82 miles. MapMyRun rates this as a category 5 hill--the mildest of their six categories. Well, even if it's not the biggest of hills, I still have a hard time climbing it. And that leads me to today's topic: clothing.

During my bike ride it was 54 degrees F with winds at 21mph gusting to 31mph (there is an airport weather station very close to my house). It's a little chilly for a summer-time outfit, so I wore the following: (1) old running shoes, (2) white cotton socks, (3) black UnderArmour tights, (4) compression shorts under the tights, (5) blue UnderArmour compression long-sleeved mock shirt, (6) gray long-sleeved cotton/polyester long-underwear on top of the compression shirt, (7) cycling gloves, and (8) a black and red helmet. My bicycle is white, if that matters.

How fashionable is this cycling outfit?

So what was my mistake?
Answer: For one, I had no fashion sense. The cotton/poly long-underwear over top of the compression mock shirt was the most blatant violation of fashion. After all, long-underwear is supposed to go underneath something else. A second potential mistake was wearing form-fitting clothing of any style. I have a great figure, so I'm not ashamed to show it off, but I also know that the UnderArmour is not really necessary when one is only moving 5 mph up some of the hills!

What statement does wearing a complete set of cycling clothes make about my cycling ability? I can easily envision myself wearing all the clothes of a weekend warrior cyclist--complete with cycling jersey and spandex shorts--with lots of miles under his saddle, but the reality is that I'm not that fast or experienced. What a funny sight it would be for me to wear the clothes of a professional but perform like an amateur.

Long-underwear and tights for cycling?

So I throw the question out to you, dear reader. What should I wear when I go cycling in chilly weather? Jeans seem to be too restrictive; sweat pants are too baggy and would rub against my bicycle chain. A shirt made of a thin layer of Lycra or polyester--the type of material that UnderArmour and cycling jerseys are made from--doesn't seem warm enough. At the same time, I'd look funny if I wore tights and a heavy sweatshirt. Suggestions, please!


  1. This post cracked me up. I completely understand though. I think that all the time - if I have the gear than people will think I actually know what I'm doing - and then they will realize - nope - no idea what I'm doing. I would just wear what you can to keep warm.

  2. Lemme hook ya up on what to wear. Its not so much for fashion sense, but more so for comfort keep "things" in place and preventing unnecessary chafing.

    Under layer:


    Sorry for the long links, but chamois is your friend on the bike :)

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Jon, I looked at the items you listed. I liek what you've suggested. Any suggestions on what to wear on my upper body?

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.