Cycling is growing ever more popular in Britain, both as a hobby and a way to change up the routine of commuting. You’ll probably find yourself a lot more enthusiastic about hopping on your bike during the warmer months, but as long as you have the appropriate cycling clothing and gear you can keep riding all year.
One of the greatest things about cycling is accessibility – it’s a sport that doesn’t rely on a venue or a team and, once you’ve got the initial kit, maintaining the habit is simple and usually inexpensive (not to mention the money you’ll save on travel). Not sure where to start?
Here’s our guide to all the ins and outs of shopping for cyclists.
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Which retailers offer cycling clothing and gear in the UK?
We’ve put together a handy list of our top cycling retailers that offer great cycling clothing to keep you comfortable and performing at your best all year round. So why not take a look and start shopping today.
1. Hargroves Cycles Hargroves Cycles offer a range of cycling kit as well as protective gear and it also won't cost you a fortune.
Award winning, Hargroves Cycles offers high quality brands at an affordable price tag. They offer customers a range of cycling shorts, tops, gloves and more.
3. Ribble Dedicated to designing and manufacturing to the highest standard, Ribble is the place to pick up new cycling clothing.
Ribble offers one of the widest ranges of cycle clothing from major brands including Assos, Castelli, Endura and Northwave. Ribble's clothing is designed for your comfort and performance during your ride.
The right cycling apparel will not only streamline you for your ride, but also keep you safe and warm from the winds that you might experience while whipping around the city or the mountain trails.
Speed suits: Speed suits are designed for ProTour cycling and are developed with a focus on aerodynamics, sweat wicking, and comfort. Suits are the ultimate outfit for any keen cyclist but can be quite pricey. Unless you’re planning to participate in a tour or circuit, you may wish to look at tops and shorts instead.
Cycling tops: Tops can be broken up into two sections: base layers and jerseys. Base layers are designed to keep your body warm and dry by wicking moisture. When choosing yours, make sure it’s odour resistant and fits comfortably. Jerseys are a fundamental component of any rider’s kit – they wick moisture, provide ventilation and comfort, and tend to be cut to allow for high performance in the tucked position.
Jackets: When the weather is unpredictable, a good jacket is something you won’t regret lugging around for a bit. Things to look for include: waterproofing, a high collar to protect against windchill, DWR coating for added resistance against weather, a drop tail to protect you from tyre spray, underarm zips to increase breathability and reflective accents to increase visibility in low-light conditions.
Shorts: Not the most flattering part of your kit, to be frank, but a definite must-have for your cycling experience. Because – let’s face it – you’re going to be in the saddle for some time a padded buffer makes things a lot more comfortable. For extra comfort, you might even want to look into bib-shorts, which strap over the shoulders to alleviate some of the pressure and stress that your hips will feel during a good cycle.
Tights and trousers: Colder weather means you’ll have to move from shorts to tights or trousers. Which one you choose is down to how comfortable you feel in each. Fitted tights will keep you warm, and offer comfort and flexibility, but if you prefer something looser trousers are still a great option. Many come equipped with a panel for padding, and have added pockets for phones, keys, and loose change.
Compression clothing: The benefits of compression clothing include added stability and support during your ride. This will increase circulation and decrease muscle soreness. You can purchase compression tights, tops, socks, guards, and underwear.
Winter warmers: You never know when the weather will change, so you’d better be prepared when it does. This doesn’t mean having to stow away a whole jacket in your backpack just in case – you can purchase arm warmers, knee warmers, leg warmers, and neck warmers, which you can layer up underneath if you need to.
Reflective clothing: Are you a night cycler? Or perhaps you’re cycling during winter with restricted and unpredictable levels of light. Reflective clothing is a must to keep you safe when the light begins to fade. Choose from vests, gloves and jackets, or – for those who feel that it’s too much of a fashion faux pas – you can also purchase wristbands and stickers.
Cycling shoes: You might be wondering, “Why do I need special cycling shoes? Why can’t I use my trainers?” Fair point if you’re on a Sunday ride through the park, but if you’re starting to get serious about bike riding, then you should get some serious cycling shoes. They have a cleat on their base that clips into the pedals, allowing for more fluid movement and a better performance.
Cycling isn’t just a matter of getting kitted up and jumping on – you’ll need a few extras to ensure that your ride is safe and enjoyable.
Helmets: Street helmets are perfect for your everyday journey. However, if you’re on tour or racing, a more streamlined, vented helmet is key. Whichever helmet you invest in, make sure it’s the right size, conforms to current safety regulations, and is securely fastened.
Water bottle: Cycling is exercise, so you will get tired and you will sweat. Hydration is key to keeping up your energy levels. Fit your bike with a water bottle or buy a hydration pack and fill it up before you leave the house.
Bike locks: Bike theft is common, so protect yours with a lock. To avoid having a wheel stolen, it’s best to get one that attaches to your bike at multiple points.
Hand pump and repair kits: You never know when you might be cursed with a flat tyre. Don’t risk becoming trapped on the side of the road, waving down fellow cyclists or cars – invest in a manual or CO2 pump. On that note, think about keeping a patch kit on you as well.
Glasses and goggles: Your usual sunnies are fine if all you’re doing is riding to work or hanging out at the park, but for professionals triple lens glasses are the way to go. These offer 100% UVA and UVB protection, plus they repel sweat and water. The trio of lenses are typically clear, yellow, and grey, which cater for varied light conditions and their specially designed larger lenses are ideal for blocking peripheral light.
Bike lights: There are two types: lights that help you see, and lights that help you be seen. Depending on the conditions you’ll be riding in, you may only need one. If you’re riding in a predominantly well-light environment, a rear light that allows you to be seen is all you really need. When riding in poorly lit / off-road areas, you’ll want to invest in some high lumen rear and front lights. When purchasing lights, you should consider mounting (will the light be on your handlebars, the rear of your bike, helmet, etc?), battery life, bulb type (LED and HID systems are optimal), and weight.
The extra stuff: Other gear you might like to consider purchasing includes: bells and horns (pretty self-explanatory, great for kids), shoe covers (for added warmth and to increase speed), strollers and child seats (again, great for the kids), mountain bike disc brakes (a must for harsh terrain), road gear levers (for riding on various gradients), bike cleaner and lubricant (because you really should show your bike some love), and helmet cameras.
If you’re planning on commuting in your new gear, check with your employer to see if you’re eligible to participate in the government’s cycle to work scheme. Take a look at our page on cycle to work schemes for more information.Back to top
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Georgia-Rose is a publisher at Finder.com and specialises in all things shopping and travel. She has years of experience working in retail and tourism and as an avid budget traveller, she loves helping people find the best deals on everything from plane tickets to sunglasses.
When she's not jetting off somewhere new you'll find her watching cake videos or befriending stray cats.
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