As the warmer months begin to dawn on the Northern Hemisphere, it's a great time to get ready for the season ahead and take stock of your cycling kit. Longer days in the sun means more time for riding in the light and planning those cycling trips you and your buddies have been talking about going on. So let's have a look at some of the things you might need to address in your wardrobe and your suitcase if you're planning a trip.
Wearing the right clothing can make riding your bike a much more enjoyable experience, no matter the weather – if you’re riding in 30°C heat and you're wearing a thermal long sleeve jersey with bib tights, you're not only going to be uncomfortable, but you could be putting yourself at risk of overheating and dehydration.
We recommend aligning your wardrobe or suitcase to the climate you'll be riding in. So, if you're headed to California at the height of summer, consider short sleeve jerseys with sweat-wicking material, such as the Castelli Climber's jersey for men, or the Castelli Anima jersey for women. Both are constructed with lightweight breathable material allowing you to stay dry even after your hardest efforts in the heat. If you're riding in the early mornings or late evenings, a long sleeve jersey is a perfect addition – either on its own or as a layer that you can add or remove depending on the temperature changes.
The outer layer also needs consideration, particularly if you're travelling to the top of the mountains where the air can get rather cold! A packable gilet or jacket for your pit stop at the top or descent back down the mountain is a necessity. Don't underestimate how chilly you can get, as the climate can differ drastically from closer to sea level. The Castelli Aria Shell is a windproof outer layer that is available as a gilet or jacket and can provide that extra warmth you need while folding up neatly in your jersey pocket when not in use.
Warmers can be a great packable addition to your cycling kit list, as they can fold up neatly and fit in your jersey pocket when the temperature rises. You can also buy UV sleeves which are thinner than fleece warmers, but offer protection from the sun while you ride.
Another item of clothing that will protect you from the sun, but also help you look fabulous, is a casquette or cap. These come in a range of styles and offer protection for your scalp from the sun, but also keep the rain out of your eyes when it's hammering down. They are usually a one-size-fits-all product, but check out Castelli's range of caps, some of them even match their jerseys, if you're into that sort of thing.
Now, onto the extremities. Make sure you have sport-specific socks – there's nothing worse than a cotton sock filled with sweat after five miles. Not only does it feel icky, but the smell will leave much to be desired. Modern cycling socks come in many materials and lengths, but sweat-wicking material is key here. When the temperature rises, have a look at the Sportful velodrome socks with anti-bacterial yarn. In the colder months, a thermal sock or merino wool construction is great for keeping you warm.
Gloves are also a necessity, even in summer. It might be tempting to ride without any gloves on when it's warm, but they will help your hands fight the fatigue of riding and protect your skin if you fall. Look for padding on the palm, such as in these Sportful Neo gloves – they'll provide extra grip on the bars for when you need it most.
It goes without saying that a helmet is key – protect yourself from potential injuries and make sure you pack one if you're going on a trip. Sunglasses are also a nice item to have with you, not just for winter. Modern sunglasses come in all sizes and colours and protect your eyes from sun damage as well as from any debris that could get spit up by the road.
Now that we've covered what you need to wear, what about what your bike needs to wear? A tool roll or saddlebag is the single most important thing you'll put on your bike. Make sure you have a suitably sized bag to carry all the tools and tubes you'll need. The last thing you want to do is end up with a split chain and no quick link while you're on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared, take supplies with you, and don't rely on anyone else to have the spares you need. We stock a large range of on-bike bags, tools, and pumps for all your needs, including bike-packing specific bags and equipment so you can carry all the camping necessities.
Now that your cycling kit is ready to be packed, and your bike is fully equipped, you'll need somewhere to put everything – a suitcase or carry on bag for you, and a bike bag for your bike. We stock several active traveller-specific bags, both checked and non-checked sizing, with wheels and without so you can find the ideal travel partner for your kit.
If you're not hiring a bike at your destination (assuming you're going on a trip), then you'll want to look for a robust and durable bike bag to protect your precious steed. There are a lot of different types and sizes of bike box but we recommend you get, one that has some level of hard molding in place as it reduces the amount of movement your bike can have inside the case. The EVOC Bike Travel Bag Pro is a prime example of a bike box, and it also comes with wheels, making your trip across the airport much smoother.
Now that you are equipped with the right cycling kit, we hope an epic adventure awaits you.