Why Do Cyclists Wear Tight Clothes – Everything You Need To Know
If you are new to cycling, you might be wondering why cyclists wear tight clothes, or in other words lycra when they ride a bike.
In this article, we explain why cyclists wear lycra, regardless of their height or body shape. We also explain some of the benefits that tight clothing can provide the cyclist. Keep reading to find out more.
Why Do Cyclists Wear Tight Clothes
There are many reasons why cyclists wear tight clothes. First and foremost, tight clothing (lycra) provides many technical properties. These technical properties help keep the cyclist, warm, dry, and cool when out riding. They can also protect the cyclist from elements such as rain and wind.
The technical fabric used in cycling clothing can also help wick away sweat. This prevents sweat from staying on the rider’s skin and prevents body temperature from dropping when they stop or descend a hill.
Tight clothing can also help a rider’s aerodynamic profile. Loose clothing can flap and even cause a parachute effect when riding into the wind. By wearing tight clothing, it can help reduce the drag of the rider and improve aerodynamics.
Last but not least, tight clothing (lycra) can help prevent chafing by keeping the clothing in place while riding. This limits the amount of rubbing which is a major cause of chafing. Having cycling shorts that fight correctly will also help the chamois to sit properly and keep you more comfortable on longer rides and during wet weather.
While tight clothing has some compression benefits as well, research is a bit mixed on this matter. However, it can help increase blood flow to the muscles and keep muscles warmer when exercising.
Why Are Cycling Pants Tight?
There are a few reasons why cycling pants (bib shorts and bib tights) are tight. Firstly, cycling shorts are tight so the chamois can stay in place while riding. They are also held up by straps that go over your shoulder to keep the chamois in place.
Apart from comfort, tight cycling pants are tight for aerodynamic purposes. This prevents the pants from acting as a sail when riding, which can ultimately slow you down. They can also help wick away sweat from the body and keep muscles warm when riding.
Cycling Clothes You Must Have
If you are new to cycling, choosing the correct cycling clothes can be a difficult task. Below are the main garments you need when starting out.
Cycling shorts can come in various models. However, aim to purchase a pair of bib shorts. These are ultimately better material and design than your typical cycling shorts. Choose a short with more panels, as they are less likely to stretch and lose shape. Also, the chamois is an important part of the short. Choose one that fits well, has smooth stitching around the chamois (to prevent chaffing), and has wide-leg grippers. Wide-leg grippers will keep the shorts in place and feel more comfortable.
Cycling Short Sleeve Jersey
When choosing a short sleeve cycling jersey, make sure you choose a model that suits your body style. There are different types of fit (race fit, relaxed fit, etc). Make sure the top is not overly baggy and has storage (pockets on the back for essentials like food, tubes, etc).
Long sleeve Cycling Jersey
Just like a short sleeve, a long sleeve cycling jersey needs to fit well. Look for a jersey that has a full-length zipper. This will allow you to pair over the top of a short sleeve jersey during colder rides. this type of top should fit slightly looser than a short sleeve, as it can be used when layering.
There are multiple types of cycling jackets on the market today. Depending on your choice, you may want to go for a windbreaker or full waterproof jacket. Either way, high visibility jackets are important if you commute, and look for a jacket with a long tail gait. This helps prevent dirt and water from spraying up onto the back of your shorts which can wet your chamois.
An undershirt is an important piece of cycling clothing in both the summer and winter months. It not only keeps you warm but also helps to wick away sweat from the body. Look for a singlet undershirt as this can be used all year round.
Cycling gloves are an essential item. Not only do they help provide comfort for longer rides, but they can also protect you if you fall. Some gloves provide gel sections to relieve pressure on the hands, while others are designed to prevent chafing from handlebar tape.
Cycling socks may not seem that important. However, choosing cycling-specific socks can help the feet breathe better. cycling socks are generally thinner than typical socks to allow better breathability. The height of the socks is generally a personal preference. However, mid-height socks help keep ankles warm and provide a small amount of stability to the lower leg when pedaling.