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Sportive clothing

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Article posted: 01/05/2013

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If you’re planning to follow the British Cycling Seven-Week Panic Plan in preparation for your 100 km sportive challenge, you might have already bought some cycling clothing. Obviously it’s possible to ride 100 km in a T-shirt, tracksuit bottoms and trainers but you’ll be far more comfortable and even ride quicker in specialist clothing.

 

Not forgetting your helmet, for typical summer riding, you’ll need the following.

Bib shorts: Don’t worry about the “Mankini” look as the straps will be hidden under your jersey and, for comfort and not slipping down when your hunkered on the drops, they’re far superior to standard shorts. Spend the money on a quality brand as a decent pad is essential for long ride comfort.

Unfortunately the only reliable thing about the British summer is how unreliable it is.

Cycling shoes: Clip into specially designed pedals and, because the sole is far stiffer than a trainer, deliver a more efficient and powerful pedal stroke. Also, because your feet won’t be flexing, they’ll become less fatigued and less prone to cramping. Getting used to clipping in and out is easy and quickly becomes second nature.

Short sleeved jersey: The cycling staple is the short sleeved jersey. Make sure its got three decent sized rear pockets and a full length zip is great for making sure you keep cool on long climbs. Fit should be fairly close to minimise wind resistance.

Vest/singlet: A thin vest under your jersey will wick sweat away and will help you stay cooler. String style vests are very effective and comfortable.

 

Track mitts: Fingerless gloves that protect you hands in a crash and, with padding on the palms, absorb road vibrations and help prevent hand numbness.




Sunglasses: Not just for posing and looking cool but for keeping wind, grit and insects out of your eyes.

Unfortunately the only reliable thing about the British summer is how unreliable it is. Also many sportives start early in the morning when there’s a chill in the air. Consider the following items of clothing to stay comfortable.

Arm warmers: For cool starts or in-between days arm warmers are invaluable to cyclist. You can slip them on and off as the conditions dictate and easily store them in your jersey pockets.

Casquette: The traditional cotton cycling cap that’ll sit under your helmet giving some breathable protection against the wind and, with a peak, helping to keep rain out of your eyes. It’s also small enough to slip into your jersey pocket if the weather improves.

Race cape/gillet: Lightweight, breathable and small enough to be stashed away in a pocket, a full jacket or sleeveless gillet can provide the perfect amount of protection from an unexpected shower.

Toe covers: You probably won’t want full overshoes or winter booties but lycra toe covers, which just slip over the fronts of your cycling shoes and block out the wind, are perfect for keeping your feet warm on mixed days.

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