With the weather becoming significantly warmer now, it’s become necessary for me to think again about clothing since my long-sleeved (and only) jersey is becoming a bit uncomfortable. This hasn’t been a particularly easy search though – I don’t want extra-tight fitting, heavily branded jerseys and shorts, but I did want clothing that was designed for cycling and had good wicking properties since I get hot very easily.
I’ve been searching through a few of the main online cycle stores, plus my local Decathlon, first with the short-sleeved jersey in mind. I originally decided to take a punt on the £5.99 cheap-as-chips offering from Decathlon, and whilst it was a mostly comfortable fit, I wasn’t happy with how it behaved with sweat – it ended up visibly wet at the end of my ride. That’s not so much of a problem if my ride doesn’t stop anywhere but if I fancy visiting a cafe mid-ride, I’d rather look a little more presentable. I chose the light blue option where perhaps the black version would have been better, but I did want something a bit more visible than an all black jersey.
My next try was a red Endura Xtract jersey from Chain Reaction Cycles. I picked the XL size since that’s the same as my long-sleeved jersey, an Endura Hummvee, which is mostly fine (a little long in the arms but comfortable). However, when it arrived, it was a much tighter fit and kept riding up my not unsubstantial belly! Definitely no good. A pity though as it was a sale item at the time and cost less than £18.
Finally, I bought an Endura Hummvee Lite which arrived today and I’m pleased to say that this one fits nicely. It’s not too tight and not too loose – well, I’m sure the sportier amateurs and pros would say it’s too loose, but as I’m not particularly comfortable showing off all of my curves, that’s perfect for me! I’ve yet to try it out but I suspect this will work out nicely.
On then to shorts, where the hunt was a little bit easier. I shopped at Wiggle this time where I limited my search to baggy shorts – again, I wanted something that would look fine away from the bike but would be more beneficial on it compared to regular cotton shorts. Completely by coincidence, I’ve stuck with the same brand as for the jersey – black Endura Hummvee II shorts, supplied with a pair of liner shorts as well. Fortunately my first choice has worked out fine this time with the shorts being a comfortable fit. They’re maybe a tad long in the leg but I’ll live with that since I have short legs anyway; something that always is problematic with general trouser shopping – trousers can be the right length but too tight; or the right tightness but too long.
My final piece of new attire is a cap – and this is something that’s been difficult. I’ve tried on general caps a few times usually finding that the one-size-fits-all sizing doesn’t work for me with my large head. This is the exact problem I had with my first cycling cap I ordered from Chain Reaction Cycles – the Gore C5 Light Cap SS18. It just would not fit comfortably on my head and so, it had to go back. It also didn’t help that the colour wasn’t quite what I expected. The ‘castor grey’ description coupled with the way the web image appeared on my computer suggested a dark grey cap – almost off-black. Instead, the real thing appeared an earthy green. Not a colour I would have chosen.
Instead then, I’ve decided to go for a running cap from Wiggle, simply because I’m not sure I like the small peak nature of proper cycling caps – I suspect they work better under helmets. So, I’ve got a black Reebok Active cap. This just about fits me (again, it’s one-size-fits-all) and because it’s still sports orientated, it features a sweat band and is made from polyester – a better wicking material than cotton. I’ve not tested it out on the bike yet but I hope it will do the job. If not, I’m sure it’ll work fine as a day-to-day cap anyway.
So, there we have it. A new jersey, shorts and cap ready for summer. In the next few months, I’ll have to start thinking about casual-looking cycle trousers ready for the cooler weather, maybe a base-layer for transitioning through autumn to winter, and some waterproof clothing to keep me riding when it’s wet.