Cycle Together

Spring Cycling Kit Essentials

daffodils with riders in background

The days are getting longer, the nights are getting lighter and the great outdoors is calling us out of hibernation mode. This can only mean one thing. It’s time to ditch some of the longer, thicker layers of cycling clothing and dust off those bib shorts. It’s time for a cycling kit refresh. 

But what does a spring cycling wardrobe look like?

If you’re new to cycling, choosing the right kit to invest in, and selecting clothing that’s right for the weather conditions can seem a bit daunting at first. Let’s face it, even though it’s spring, the weather in the UK can still be wildly unpredictable. It can be cold and icy at the outset, warm and sunny by the time you reach your coffee stop and then pour down on the way home.

So how on earth do you pick the right clothing to wear on the bike in the spring?

zipping up jacket

The trick is layering. Rather than long, thick, fleece-lined or Polartec clothing, wear thinner, lighter items and layer them up. That way, you can always take them off if you get too hot. Another trick is to stand outside before you head off on your ride to test if you’ve got the right number of layers on to feel warm. If in doubt, always put that extra layer on, you won’t regret it.

If you’re worried you’ll have to buy loads of new cycling kit, don’t be. Invest instead in a few key pieces that will help to keep you warm, dry and comfortable on the bike throughout the shoulder season. Here are our top recommendations.

1. Gilet

Small and mighty, the gilet protects your chest and back from the elements and helps to keep your core cosy and warm. The beauty of the gilet is it’s light and packable so it’s a useful extra layer to wear or carry in a jersey pocket at any time of the year. 

Arm warmers

2. Arm warmers

Pair your short sleeve summer jersey with some arm warmers. A staple for spring, they keep you warm as you set off on those chilly morning rides. Our favourites are ones with a fleece (or roubaix) lining. When the day begins to heat up, you can roll them down to your wrists or take them off and pop them in your pocket. 

3. Knee warmers

Pair your shorts or bib shorts with knee warmers. These are basically exactly the same idea as arm warmers, but they provide extra warmth to your legs and knees on a cool start to the day. 

4. Base layer

A decent quality, short sleeve base layer is an important part of the layering system in spring. Opting for merino if you can is a good investment as its quick drying and odour resistant qualities will keep you warm, dry and fresh. Base layers also tuck neatly into shorts or bibs ensuring that your core has extra protection from the cold, particularly your lower back. 

5. Rain jacket

We live in the UK so it’s wise to take a rain jacket with you on spring rides. Not all rain jackets were created equally, so it’s worth doing your research and investing a little bit more in a good quality one that is properly waterproof, light, breathable, packable and fits well. There’s nothing worse than being cold and soaking wet on a bike ride!

Rain jacket

6. Warm socks 

Thick socks may seem a bit much for spring, however they can make all the difference to your ride. Your feet aren’t actually doing much work when you’re cycling so the body can divert blood away from your toes and other extremities to other parts of your body that need it more. Toasty feet (and hands if you opt for long finger gloves) make for a happy cyclist.

7. Buff 

A simple buff can be a life saver. This multipurpose piece of stretchable fabric can be used as a neck warmer to keep the draught away; it can be pulled up over part of your face to stop your nose and cheeks from freezing; and it also turns into a headband to keep ears warm. 

8. Handlebar bag

Handlebar bags have become a trend in on and off road cycling and it’s easy to see why. They’re particularly handy in spring for keeping extra layers in, particularly for anyone not wearing a cycling jersey. Jersey pockets, especially for anyone petite, can often be too small to store lots of layers as well as food and essentials. Bar bags are also more practical than carrying a bag on your back, which can be heavy, sweaty and uncomfortable.

handlebar bag 

There are of course a multitude of other pieces of cycling clothing and accessories that you could choose from to keep you warm, comfortable and smiling on your bike rides all the way through the spring. These are some of our go to items. Whatever you choose to invest in, just remember that layering is key.

All of these items and more are readily available in online cycling retailers, such as Wiggle or Sigma Sports or in retail stores such as Evans, Decathlon or Halfords. And don’t forget to check in your local bike shop too.

Happy cycling!

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