14 Cycling Fashion Faux Pas to Avoid

Jan Poshenko
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1. Mismatched Kits

Even if every cyclist on the planet had the same kit, mismatched kits just never look good. Bike kit belongs in the wardrobe and looked on it, just like any other garment. Just as you wouldn’t wear shorts with a polo shirt, you should never mix team kits.Cycling kit is sold as part of a complete set, so ensure that the jersey, bibs, and socks are all identical and coordinate correctly. This is especially important when buying brightly colored kits since they will stand out if the match is off.

2. Trying to be a Pro

If you’re looking to attract the attention of a pro cyclist and you don’t know them personally, there are a few things you should probably avoid. One of those things is trying to look like a pro cyclist. Professional cyclists are paid to look good – and that doesn’t involve hipster glasses, flipflops, weekly shorts, or hair gel.

Forget the Botched Haircuts

Yes, if you’re talking to the right person, a barbershop-style haircut can make for a great conversation starter. But it should go without saying that this is strictly a first-date situation. If you’re looking to impress a fellow cyclist, that person will probably appreciate a European racer’s haircut instead.

Forget the Marijuana Leaf

Just like a pro cyclist wouldn’t appreciate someone trying to look like them, a pro cyclist would also freak out if you drew a marijuana leaf on your shirt. So please don’t do that.

Avoid Inappropriate Shoes

You’ll probably never see a pro cyclist wearing flip-flops, Crocs, Uggs, or any form of sandal. So you shouldn’t either.

3. Wearing Baggy Kits

The cycling kit is one of the most important pieces of clothing you will wear. Choosing the correct kit will ensure that you are comfortable on the bike, allowing you to focus on your performance and not your attire.

Choosing the correct kit is all about finding the right fit. Just because you find a kit that is the right size does not mean that it will be comfortable or correctly tailored. To see if the kit fits right, try the following:

  • The sleeve cuffs must not be too long, dragging on your wrist or creasing up in between your fingers. If you find yourself tightening the cuff to stop this from happening, the sleeve is too large.

  • The base of the collar must not be able to touch your shoulder. If it is too loose, it is likely to slip to the side as you ride, which can cause chafing.

  • The front length of the base layer is not too short to stop it from riding up as you pedal. It must not be too long either, creating an excessive amount of material that can ride up on the bike.

  • The peloton jersey sleeves' tightness does not cause a loss of mobility. The material should not be stretched too tightly across your muscles that it limits your arms’ movements.

  • The shorts should not be too tight that they restrict movement. If the shorts are loose, you place unnecessary pressure on the seams.

4. Overloading the Back Pockets

Cycling fashion has been defined by the media as being bare-bones but professional. Many of the looks that you see in the magazines are for the riders with a riding position and context. Add weight to that rider per se backpack and you will see how the professional riders carry stuff.

Bike fit shops tell us that a rule of thumb is to keep weight over the rear wheel. Data which is gathered from experienced bike riders indicate that up to one-third of the rider's weight should be placed over the rear wheel. Not putting weight over the rear wheel will affect your bike handling.

Many new riders often place their weight over the rear wheel but the bulk of their weight is in the back pocket area.

Before mounting the bike, be conscious of where you are placing your weight. All over the back pockets is not where you need to place it.

5. Not Wearing Bib Shorts

Cycling is an activity that takes a toll on your body. Your muscles get a good workout and your skin suffers because of the rubbing caused by cycling. So, you need to be comfortable. But comfort isn’t always easy.

While it’s a matter of personal preference what type of outfits you wear while you’re cycling, there is one common-sense fashion tip that’s worth considering: wear bib shorts.

The top part of your body is exposed to the sun, wind, and insects. To be safe, you should wear gear that protects your skin. Although there is no guarantee that you won’t get sunburned or bitten, you’ll feel the discomfort and be more likely to take measures to avoid this happening.

Opting for distressed cotton is a risky business. It’s a bit of a gamble that you won’t get a rash. Rinse these clothes and use the hottest temperature setting to wash. If you’re lucky, your clothes will still fit you; if not, you’ll need to replace them.

6. Wearing Underwear under Bib Shorts

Cycling shorts come in two styles: bibs and classics. Bibs are the more traditional style, which features straps that wrap around the upper back and hold the shorts in place. They are often worn for races by serious cyclists. Classics are more like khaki bike shorts and do not require any special strap, instead, they have an elastic band to hold them up.

Bib shorts must be worn layered on top of another pair of shorts because the pressure from the straps is so great that it can cause painful chafing if worn alone. If you intend to wear underwear alone as opposed to a pair of bib shorts, you’ll be far better off if you simply bought bike shorts.

7. Choosing between a Helmet and Sunglasses

It’s a very common mistake by recreational cyclists who head out for a ride thinking that they can skip the helmet if they wear a pair of sunglasses instead.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of other ways that you can injure your eyes while cycling not related to crashes and falls. If you don't wear sunglasses during a long race, you expose your eyes to bugs and dust. Your eyes also get sun exposure which can lead to problems with your vision and the development of cataracts.

Additionally, if you’re an avid cyclist, you must wear a helmet to ensure protection for your eyes but your head also.

8. Wearing a Parachute-like Jacket

Cycling clothing is a little different from most other types. At first glance, you’ll probably think the clothes are intended more for the cyclist than for the fashion lovers, and you’ll be right.

The chamois in cycling gear is thick and made of unforgiving lycra, designed to keep the cyclist chafe-free for as many hours as possible. The spandex is a little tighter than your standard leggings, and the material is super stretchy to ensure minimal compression and maximum flexibility.

But these features aren’t always welcomed by female cyclists, especially as they’re not the primary focus of their cycling attire. And for both male and female cyclists, there are many less bulky styles of clothing. This improves breathing and blood circulation and also allows for a smoother contour, which is helpful when you’re racing.

Some cyclists choose to wear oversized cycling pants, shirts, jackets, and jerseys, which may be great for the comfort factor, but this look doesn’t allow for performance. This is because it’s standard for cycling jerseys and pants to be fitted, so the cycling shorts can stay out of the way and your jersey can provide no unnecessary interference.

9. Wearing Cap under the Helmet

Wearing a cap under the cycle helmet is not an advisable thing to do. It will certainly create a lot of discomfort for the wearer and it might even cause pressure and pain on the forehead.

Therefore, you should avoid wearing the cap-wearing the helmet. If you feel the need to, then get a special helmet for the cap. There are many available in the market.

10. Wearing Warmers over the Kits

When a sport is as weather-dependent as cycling, the sport dictates what to wear. Warmers, long sleeve jerseys, long socks, and tight-fitting arm and leg warmers are a must. Remember, warmers need to be checked regularly and replaced when they are worn. It’s common to overpack the collection. This makes clothing maintenance a breeze but also the biggest culprit of dirty bike kits. Practice not peeling off warmers until after your ride unless you want to add to the laundry pile.

Absorbing Underwear

wool knickers even though it is itchy, can be a better choice when cycling. Choose merino wool knickers, and your feet, nether regions, and waist will stay warm during your commute.

Macho Lycra

Lycra can be a cop-out for getting a good workout on the bike. It is an insulated, but non-breathable material that constricts blood flow and dries slowly. If you’re looking for more efficient bike shorts choose cotton lycra, made of cotton and spandex and you will find respite.

11. Socks too Short/Long

Cycling socks are different than any other pair of socks you will choose to wear on a ride. The right pair of cycling socks will wear almost seamlessly with your cycling shoes. It will form fit to your foot, fit to your shoe, and it will not move around. A pair that is not the right size for your shoe will cause you distraction as you pedal (or push) your bike forward. A pair that is too short will come down into your shoe and be hot. A pair that is too long will pool around your heel while your foot is in the pedals, and if the pair is too tight, it will get bunched up and chaff the top of your foot.

The socks you wear on a ride should be no different than the workout clothing that you wear to the gym. A good pair of socks will make all the difference in the world when you’re riding. So avoid any sock faux pas by doing your research and investing in a good pair of socks specially designed for cycling.

12. Wearing Mountain Bike Shoes

Mountain bike shoes are designed to give you more power and traction when riding off-road, but are they a good idea when you’re riding on the road? The most important thing to remember is that mountain bike shoes are not sneakers! They’re stiff and heavy and just won’t feel right when riding your road bike.

Mountain Bike Shoes May Hurt Your Feet

Besides feeling weird, mountain bike shoes can cause more serious foot problems when worn on the road. They may put extra pressure on the toes or the ball of your foot, which is not ideal for riding in any shoes. Switching your mountain bike shoes for neutral-cushioned shoes can reduce the chances of developing health issues.

Mountain Bike Shoes Could Give You More Power

If you do decide to wear mountain bike shoes, you may notice that they give you more power and make it easier to ride uphill. But this effect is only temporary. It’s because mountain bike shoes have a stiff sole and a suitable shape that makes them good for pedaling uphill but feel uncomfortable for riding on a smooth surface.

13. Using Aero Helmets

Aero helmets are a huge fad right now, but they’re not all that great. The idea behind the super-streamlined helmets is to create turbulence in front of the head, thus reducing wind resistance. Sounds great, right?

However, the problem is that you can’t get the same effect on a bike that you can while running or jogging. While sprinting, your arms are pumping and your legs are churning (mostly from the knees down), which causes the wind to come up from below.

On a bike, you’re mostly moving your legs back and forth, with little propulsion from your arms. This leaves very little wind in front of your body, both on the drop bars and the aero bars.

Also, here’s the other issue— even when you’re on a road bike, there is still a significant amount of turbulence caused by the handlebars and the front wheel. Narrow, aerodynamic helmets just can’t fix that turbulence.

14. Having Hairy Legs

Cycling clothing tends to travel in a very narrow band around conservative, prissy, and concerned with your health. Padded bib shorts are favored by roadies, while mountain bikers prefer more technical mountain biking wear.

The problem is not the lycra, is your body. Lycra stretches, but it does not make what’s inside look more aesthetically pleasing.

Yes, Lance Armstrong had a perfect body, but it was his body. The only thing that lycra does to your body is that it shows. In particular, it shows your hair. Not only is this not eye-pleasing, but it’s also not sanitary due to the fact that it can catch dust, flies, and other insects in it.