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So the sun is finally out. You’ve put to one side the 8 Essential Items You Needed for Cycling in the Cold and now it’s time to find your summer cycling kit must haves, but where’s the best place to start?
From the head down, of course! Here is your head-to-toe summer cycling kit list to cover all bases, from the best gear to ensure you keep your cool to managing your layers throughout the day.
Essential Cycling Gear
1. Cycling helmet
Pretty much all cycling helmets will offer the same level of protection whether you spend £30 or £300. But there are advantages to spending a little more money.
A pricier helmet will be lighter weight, have better ventilation and loads more size options to ensure a better fit, all resulting in more comfort when on the bike and in the end a more enjoyable ride.
2. Cycling-specific glasses
Cycling glasses are a piece of safety equipment and not just for keeping the sun out of your eyes. Look for glasses with interchangeable lenses and a large lens area to offer maximum protection from the wind, stones, dust and especially flies!
Never wear glasses with a glass lens on a bike as these can shatter in the event of a crash or when hit by a small stone.
3. Sleeveless base layer
A lightweight mesh base layer will keep you cool by wicking moisture away from your skin as you sweat. They also increase comfort by keeping your cycling jersey off your skin.
4. Summer cycling jersey
A summer cycling jersey will have a full-length zip allowing you to fully open or close your jersey to modulate your body temperature. Look for lighter colours to help keep you cool when cycling in the sun but avoid mesh jerseys as these won’t stop the sun from burning your skin.
5. Windproof Gilet
A thin windproof gilet is a very useful item if you are cycling in the mountains. Keep one in your jersey pocket so you can pull it on at the top of a climb to keep your core temperature up on the descent.
6. Arm warmers & UV sleeves
Arm warmers are perfect for those cold mornings and early evenings in a hot destination. Roll them up or down to modulate your heat or take them off and stuff them in your jersey pocket when it gets hot.
Lightweight UV arm sleeves are worth considering if you have fairer skin and don’t want to be covered in sun cream, they are thin enough to not retain heat but will keep the suns harmful rays off your skin and stop you burning.
7. Fingerless gloves (mitts)
Padded cycling gloves are great for adding a little extra comfort by relieving some of the pressure and vibration on your hands. Gloves will also protect your hands if you have a crash so it’s a good idea to keep wearing them through the summer.
Fingerless mitts are designed to be as lightweight as possible on the backs whilst still having some padding and protection on the palm. Look for gloves that are tight-fitting to avoid bunching up of the fabric when holding the bars but not tight enough to stop blood flow to your fingers!
8. Padded bib shorts
A pair of good quality bib shorts are a must-have item. Padded shorts add a significant amount of on-bike comfort and the bib style will keep them firmly in place to stop you getting that small gap of exposed skin between your jersey and shorts.
9. Knee warmers
Just like arm warmers, knee warmers are ideal for early mornings and evenings when there is a slight chill in the air. When the sun comes up you can just pull them off and tuck them in your jersey pocket or chuck them in the support vehicle if on an Exodus trip.
It is especially important to keep your knees warm on a ride as having cold joints will only lead to injury.
10. Summer cycling socks
A good pair of summer cycling socks will be very thin and usually have a full mesh upper to help with heat dispersion whilst having more durable fabrics on the sole, heel and toe area to prevent them wearing through in one ride.
Look for socks made from more breathable polyester rather than wool and aim for lighter colours to help keep you cool.
11. Cycling shoes
A pair of cycling shoes will have a very stiff sole usually made from carbon fibre or fibreglass. This helps with power distribution through the bike and eliminates any wasted energy that would be lost through the flex of a normal sports shoe.
A cycling-specific shoe will also have large vents in the sole at the front and heal which generate airflow through the shoe to keep your feet nice and cool on hot rides.
And there you have it!
The perfect summer cycling kit list – sorted. Time to get out on your bike…!