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Emma’s Guide To Women’s Cycle Clothing | What Cycling Kit To Wear?

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Bibs or waist shorts, half zip or full zip jersey? And as for the accessories… Choosing cycling kit can be tricky, so Emma's here to explain what clothing options are available, specifically for women cyclists.

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There are lots of things about cycling that are just the same for men and women. But one thing that can be quite different, is clothing. Which is kind of obvious, really, because there are some quite fundamental differences in body shape.

So what should you bear in mind when choosing your kit? I get so many questions from other women who are getting into cycling about what’s the best kit to wear on the bike. And there is so much choice of women’s cycling kit out there these days that it really can be pretty confusing. Sometimes the advantages and drawbacks of certain kinds of cycling clothing aren’t all that obvious until you’ve been for a few rides!

So here’s the lowdown – well, ok, MY lowdown! – on the kit options for women.

The clothing you wear on the bike is one of the most important things affecting your comfort. So if you want to enjoy cycling, it’s absolutely crucial that you feel good in it. Part of that should be looking good too – because all cyclists want to look good – but for my money, looking good is not as important as being comfortable.

Your kit is what’s in direct contact with your skin, of course, and especially the chamois – padding in the shorts – that makes it the first thing you notice.

Plus, your clothing protects you from external influences – be that rain, snow, UV, or (hopefully not) the road, if you crash. And most cyclist have had a little tumble every now and then (I seem to have one crash a month at least!).

Cycling clothing that you don’t find comfortable, or which doesn’t protect you from the elements, will leave you feeling miserable on the bike.

It’s a hugely personal choice though: what IS comfortable at all? So let’s dive into some detail!

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    1. Cindy Fleming

      I usually end up with men’s kit. I’ve been riding for over 30 years, and at the beginning it was all that was available. I’d like to find some quality women’s bibs but i’m a large person(6ft,100 kilos) and no one seems to make them to fit me. I have found some men’s bibs that I prefer over others and it can vary even in the same brand. I’m glad that GCN is addressing women’s cycling topics. Keep up the good work. Cheers!

    2. Connie Back

      If I have only one outfit for riding in the warm months it consists of cycling shorts, a short sleeved hi viz 3 pocket full zip jersey, below the ankle socks, half finger gloves, and a sweat band. I add arm warmers, leg warmers, shoe covers, and a water resistant windbreaker for cooler weather; and cycling tights, long sleeved base layer, full finger gloves and fleece lined jacket for winter. I manage with less expensive gloves in the cold because I rarely look at and / or need to touch my phone screen in very cold weather.

    3. Monika Ciegowski

      I would like to know what kind of saddles are mostly used by pro woman cyclists.
      I am unconfortable with regular saddle and the Ergon Race saddle with that hole, because the edges of the hole hurt. ^^

  1. Geoff

    My ex’s cycling club didn’t have jerseys in a size that would fit comfortably, which was really discouraging for someone trying to get into cycling. There are a few companies like Machines For Freedom and Fat Lass at the Back that make women’s cycling clothing that isn’t designed primarily for slender figures, and have really good looking designs too.

    1. Elizabeth Major

      I loved that freedom for the machine has models that are regular lady shaped. I have an hourglass figure and one of the models had my figure. I was really tempted to buy it because I actually knew how it would really look on me. I knew it’d look really nice. So many companies use athletic 20 years olds and I kind of know how stuff might look but it’s not as reassuring as your own figure being chosen.

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