As with any specialist activity, the correct equipment and clothing makes a massive difference - that's why there are different items of clothing for all kinds of sports and activities, from hiking up a mountainside, to running a marathon. Cycling is no different, and that’s why there is a range of specialist road and mountain bike clothing available to buy.
Although those just cycling short journeys, to the shop and back for example - will not likely need any specialist clothing, those cycling further afield - including those commuting, will be served well by wearing the right kit.
As well as looking smart both at work and on the commute, the right commuter cycling clothing and a bit of planning, means that you do not have to turn up to work a sweaty mess. A lot of people choose not to cycle into work because they are worried about turning up looking and feeling sweaty - especially when a working environment requires people to be looking smart.
Cycling Clothing for a Short Commute
If your cycle to work is very short - and you only really cycle in when the weather is OK - then you could get away with not wearing any cycling specific clothing. Your usual office/work clothes should be fine. During the winter months, a waterproof jacket and a pair of gloves will mean that you can cope with most weather conditions on your short commute.
Cycling Clothing for Medium & Long Commutes
What you wear cycling to work will largely depend on what you need to do when you get to work. If you have a locker room/shower room at work - you can commute purely in cycling clothing and change at work, but if you struggle with this - there is a range of commuter cycling clothing which looks smart enough to be worn in most workplaces.
What to wear when cycle commuting
Bib Shorts/padded Shorts are essential if you are on the bike for any decent length of time. These shorts protect your body from any soreness from the bike saddle. As the weather changes, bib shorts remain the things to wear - but can be coupled up with leg warmers or winter cycling tights. For those not wanting to turn up to the office in anything tight fitting, a pair of cycling overshorts is a sensible investment.
Many cycling base layers are smart enough to be worn throughout the day - especially Merino Wool options from the likes of Mons Royale. As well as looking good, base layers have been designed to wick sweat away from the body, keeping you smelling good as well as keeping you dry.
Cycling Wind Vest
Cycling vests are great for commuting, as well as providing excellent protection from the elements - they fold down into almost nothing, meaning that they are really easy to carry.
Helmets, Gloves & Shoes
It goes without saying that a helmet should be worn when commuting, as should cycling gloves. Cycling shoes also make a big difference, with cleat options maximising efficiency.
Cycling Commuting in Summer
Summer is naturally the best time to commute into work on your bike. Although there are usually greater time pressures on the morning commute into work, the longer days and light nights mean that you can enjoy longer routes cycling home - unwinding from a long day at work. Although the summer months prove lighter, it’s always sensible to pack a waterproof cycling jacket in with your kit, in the event of any rain.
Cycling Commuting in Autumn
There are some lovely warm days available during the autumn months for commuters, although as the weeks go on towards winter, the weather turns colder. One of the best additions to the cycling wardrobe for the autumn months is arm and leg warmers. These products fold down into nothing, and again provide excellent flexibility when it comes to managing temperatures.
Cycling Commuting in Winter
Winter is the most challenging time to commute into work on a bike, especially with darker mornings and nights. It’s also a great time to be on the bike though, there are some beautiful winter days to be enjoyed - and commuting on the bike means that you can benefit from winter training.
Clothing wise, choose warm cycling clothing which remains breathable. It’s always a good time to wear reflective cycling clothing, but being seen becomes even more important during the winter months - with lower visibility.
Cycling Commute Accessories
As we have mentioned above, staying safe and being seen on your bike is a key focus when choosing commuter clothing and kit. As well as a helmet which meets all of the required standards, it’s also important to invest in a good set of bike lights - which not only illuminate the path you are taking, but also alerts other cyclists and motorists to your presence.
Cycling Commute Luggage
Although some of these luggage options are ‘worn’ on the bike - getting your work equipment to work with you, is as important as what you wear and the following luggage options allow you to carry everything, from a set of keys and wallet on a short commute, right across to clothes, equipment and laptops on longer commutes.
The first item of commuter storage is the most obvious one - the pockets on your cycling clothing, which may be a jacket or a jersey depending upon the time of year. Using cycling jerseys as an example, usually have three pockets which can take a fair bit of kit - certainly sets of keys, wallets, purses and mobile phones are taken with ease. Cycling clothing has enjoyed something of a pocket revolution in recent years, and more than ever - everything from tights to tops all have extra storage built into them.
If you need to get changed at work, or carry stuff into work for your working day - then you will need to look at different storage options.
Commuter Cycling Backpacks
If you need to carry more than your pockets, or a saddle bag can handle - look at purchasing a cycling specific backpack. These backpacks have been designed to be balanced and stable when worn on the bike, meaning that recycling performance is not restricted too much.
Designed with the commute in mind, these bags are lightweight and often feature waterproof compartments - perfect for taking the laptop in and out of the office. These packs can be worn year round, where features such as mesh backs, ventilation channels and wide straps maintain comfort.
Commuter Messenger Bags
Commuter messenger bags are great choices for those not carrying a huge amount into work. These bags are slung over one shoulder - so are harder to ride with than a backpack. Messenger bags also work best with flat loads, and secured tightly they can be ridden with.
Panniers are the number one choice for those carrying large loads on their bike. Panniers are attached to a metal rack on the bike frame - usually at the back. Your bike has to have the right mounting points for panniers, but when it does - panniers can carry a massive amount of stuff. They can also be easily picked up and carried by hand, meaning you do not have to leave them on the bike when parked up.