In general cyclists wear Lycra as it offers a closer aero fit, moves with your body, and stays in place to limit rubbing and chaffing. The lightweight technical fabrics will also wick away sweat and keep you dry and comfortable on longer rides.
If you are cycling for recreation or on short rides and don’t sweat too much you don’t necessarily need to wear cycling clothing. For longer rides investing in a good cycling kit (jersey and bib shorts) is important for optimal cycling comfort.
Cycling jerseys are super comfortable to wear and are cut to fit close to the body. Fabrics are usually lightweight with consistent stretch for full freedom of movement and designed to wick sweat away from the body to keep you dry. A quality jersey will also have a silicone gripper on the back hem so when you lean forward the jersey stays in place. They also have rear pockets for storing ride essentials.
Bib shorts are a good choice because they are quick drying and don’t move around as you ride. The chamois pad is there to offer you comfort in the saddle but it’s important the shorts fit close to your skin, so they hold the chamois in place. Cycling bib shorts have straps that go over the shoulders to secure the shorts position as you ride. For an extra layer or protection MTB riders tend to wear MTB shorts over the top.
It’s really a matter of personal preference on how tight you prefer your cycling gear, but it will also be dependent on what type of cycling you will be doing.
Performance Jerseys are the most popular choice, and they are a fitted cut with fabric that sits close to the body, tight enough to feel snug but not too uncomfortable. Ideal for training, long rides, or faster club rides.
Race Jerseys are designed to be more skin-tight and aerodynamic and are used by more serious riders for training, epic rides and racing performance.
Relaxed Jerseys are typically looser and are designed for more casual riders or if you don’t necessarily like to wear form fitting cycling gear on your commute or weekend ride.
Quality cycling clothing can make you go faster by ensuring you don’t waste energy as you ride. Loose clothes create aero drag and can slow you down. Riding in cycling jerseys and bib shorts is more aerodynamic because they fit closely with no spare fabric flapping in the wind.
If you are cycling for fun, with friends or short rides and you prefer looser fitting gear, there are plenty of other options that offer function and style. Try Technical T Shirts as they work well for cycling in and have been designed to offer lightweight, breathable comfort for any exercise on or off the bike. MTB Jerseys and MTB Shorts are also great alternatives and available in a variety of colours and designs.
If you want to give Lycra cycling gear a try, take your time to identify your specific cycling needs and style of riding. Invest in a few key quality cycling garments to enjoy maximum comfort, safety and get the most out of your athletic ability.