What To Wear While Cycling In A City


– As former professional
cyclists, we’ve probably spent more time wearing lycra
than bears thinking about. – Yup, and although the
tight cycling shorts and the tight jersey and all
the other tight cycling kit might be appropriate for
longer training rides, sometimes lycra is just not the answer. – No, not for city cycling. You might be cruising gently,
you might not be traveling far, or, perhaps more to the point, you might have to look half-decent when you get to your destination, and actually not have
anywhere to get changed. – So let’s go and take a
look at some of the clothing options available to you for city cycling. (upbeat techno music) – Cycling is a great way
to get around a city. It’s often faster than driving, you take up less space on the road, and of course it doesn’t pollute at all. Cycling is more flexible
than public transport, and it’s healthier, because it’s exercise, and we could all use a little
more of that, couldn’t we? – When cycling in a city, some of us might not
want to look like a pro. We might not want to walk
around the supermarket wearing lycra on the way home. In fact, most of us probably
just want to get to our destinations feeling
comfortable, relaxed, and safe. – Now if you’re just cruising to work on a city bike then you’re not training, and if you’re doing it to save time, then you don’t want to
have to have a shower and get changed when you get to work. You need to be able to
transition seamlessly from bike to office and back to bike again. So you want your outfit to
be functional, and durable, but also aesthetic. Now safety has got to be the
most important thing because cities are full of motor
vehicles as well as people, and interactions with cars can be scary and even downright dangerous for cyclists. Now luckily not often, but
it is one of the most cited reasons why people don’t
want to cycle in the city, because they’re scared of the cars. So be seen to be safe. So you can either do that with lights, or you can go for bright
reflective colors in your clothing. For example, fluro socks,
fluro overshoes, fluro gilet. Bright colors are more easily
seen and research shows that the best place to put
bright colors, reflective things, and light to be seen is on
moving parts of your body. For example, knees and ankles. – Shoes. Now, if you wanna use clip-in pedals, you want to look for
mountain bike varieties. So you have to wear
mountain bike shoes then, meaning that you can get off and walk with your bike should you need to. However, if you’re using
normal pedals like these, well you can go wild. The only thing that you
might want to bear in mind is that open toes, so
sandals or flip flops, can be a little bit risky. If you’re unlucky enough to take a tumble or even if you stay on your
bike and just scuff your toes, if you actually get grazed
feet, well it’s really painful, not to mention quite frustrating
waiting them to heal up so you can actually wear
your normal shoes again. Well all that said, many
of us take that risk. – And then there’s durability. Don’t wear your best
frock or your best suit, especially not if it’s
made of a fragile fabric. Also, probably best to avoid anything that needs to be hand
washed, as you’re just going to be creating a huge
amount of work for yourself. And finally, white clothing. I just really wouldn’t do
it, because the streets and the bikes, they get pretty grubby, and if you’re close to them all the time, it’s not long until your white
clothes end up that way too. Comfort. Even cycling gently means
that you’re gonna be sat on your bum and pedaling. So, clothes that are
too tight or too baggy, too hot or too cold, well they’re just not
gonna be ideal, are they? So we have some top tips for you. – Your trousers should be
loose enough or stretchy enough to allow you to actual pedal in comfort, and most importantly perhaps,
swing your leg over the bike. And then, the only other
thing to bear in mind is your right trouser leg. Now you either use a
clip to keep it tight, or you roll it up, meaning that you don’t get it in the way of your chain. Although in this case of course,
in the absence of a chain, I don’t need to worry about it. – Shorts are the perfect
solution in my opinion, whether you go for the
lycra option or baggies. Basically, there’s always room to move, they preserve your modesty, and they don’t get caught
in the drive chain. Surprisingly, the right
kind of skirt can be an excellent outfit for cycling. Short or tight skirts maybe not, because they are uncomfy and revealing. But a wider skirt can allow
loads of room for pedaling, and actually what you can
do is tuck the back hem up into the front waistband
to preserve your dignity. True Scotsmen, please also take note. For a really really long flowing skirt, you should definitely
tuck it up out of the way because it could be
dangerous if you catch it in the back wheel or the brakes. – Next stop is your underwear. It’s obviously quite an important subject, as it is the layer of clothing that’s right next to your skin, so you want to find
something that’s comfortable, it doesn’t crumple up, or chafe. And one top tip is you
can even get underwear that has built in chamois, much like your normal cycling shorts. So if that’s the sort of
thing that appeals to you, why don’t you check those out. – When you’re cycling,
you’re out in the elements, and that’s one of the
great things about it. But it also presents challenges. It’s important to adapt
your clothing appropriately. – Yeah in hot weather, it’s
best just to wear a t-shirt and swap into your office shirt or blouse when you get there. It’s almost impossible to
avoid sweating when it’s hot, and you’re likely to crumple your clothing underneath your backpack. So save them until you get to work. – Yup, and when it comes
to cold weather, well, there are some great cycling
jackets out there that are both quite stylish and also
wind and water resistant. Ugh, rain is the bane
of every city commuter. Now weighing up all the options, possibly the best thing
to go for is full length waterproof trousers to protect yourself. Alternatively you can just accept that your legs and feet are gonna get soaked, and just take some spare trousers
and shoes for the office. Now on your upper half, cycling
waterproof these days can be very sleek and aesthetic, or
you could go for the poncho, which is maybe not such a good look, but it does protect more
of you from the water. (dramatic instrumental music) A special note to gentlemen here. Please please wear your
trouser waistband high, or use a belt, because otherwise you might end up with a builder’s bum, and honestly nobody wants to see that. Sorry. – No you’re not.
– No, they don’t. – Oh, sorry about that, sorry. – A special note to the ladies as well. You might want to consider a
high necked t-shirt or top, because some people do want to see that and you might be fine showing it off, but it is a risk for wasps and bees. And believe me, speaking from experience, that is not a fun encounter. Well let’s hope that this
video helps you to feel comfortable but also cool
when riding in the city, whether you’re a cyclist who
never stops being a cyclist, even off the bike, or
someone who rides a bike but does not want to look like a cyclist. – Comfortable and cool. Okay now if you would like
to watch another video about city cycling here on GCN, there’s one that you can
click through just down there, where we give you our top tips. Make sure you check it out.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Rolling up your right trouser leg is a massive commuter expression of style. Sock choice is also very important. Also that was a magnificent lunge from Si.

  2. Dear GCN can you tell what type of pedal Si is using? Total flat with gritty insert is probably what I want, cause I've ruined 2 pairs of flip flops this summer with my spiky flat pedals.

  3. I saw guys wear some sports watches such as Garmin or Sunnto and I wonder how important it is in doing sports. I always wear an analog watch and I want ask should I get a sports watch to go to sports in daily life?

  4. still nobody from the Netherlands in the comments saying you can wear your business suit just as well and it ain't no big deal…

  5. Another top vid guys – I’m toying with the idea of a daily commute following a fun “cycle to Work Day” ride.. clothing was the main issue.. gotta watch out for watering cans too by the looks of things!

  6. Nice video but use of the word “aesthetic” as an adjective in that way really gets my goat. It’s like describing something as being “appearance”…

  7. What ever you wear do not wear a shirt with Lance Armstrong, you might not make it pass a few corners before being rammed lmao.

  8. i know they are expensive but the Rapha randonee shorts are really worth the money. You can sweat in them and they breath, and the zip pockets means nothing falls out.

  9. Sometimes, it doesnt matter what colours you wear or even if youre lit up like a big christmas tree… Someone will still hit you or pass you close enough to whisper 'SMIDSY' in your ear. The overall standard of driving is pretty low in the UK. While not all drivers are bad. A lot of them pick up bad habits or drop their standard of driving and drive however they want regardless of risk to other road users because once they have their license there are no further checks and the police fail to protect the rights of cyclists every year on the road and hand out paltry fines or 'warnings' for offenses committed and thats IF they can even be bothered to investigate the evidence….

    I have known other cyclists with camera footage of vehicles passing so close they were clipped by wing mirrors but the MET still says there is "Insufficient evidence" to warrant any action taken. And failure to uphold road laws/rules/regulations has even ment that bad drivers getting away with murder or attempted murder in the past.

    Yet… the government jumps hoops when they can bring laws or Legislation where cyclists can be charged with 'death by dangerous driving' — Now compare the yearly figures of the deaths caused by cyclists to those caused by people behind the wheel of a 2tonne vehicle….

  10. As a mountainbiker, I own mountainbike clothes. I use my carbon race bike for commuting. It might be overkill, but it's fast and I enjoy pushing it hard from time to time.
    I don't like wearing lycra and the mtb cleats suit me better and they're easier to walk around in. People ask me why I use such a light bike and then add 1,5kg of weight with the lock, but I don't see the logic. Owning a heavier bike would just make things harder anyway. Why not go lighter if I can?

  11. Rain capes and fenders for wet weather. My cape came from bicycleclothing.com for about $50 and has gotten me through some torrential rains. Cleverhood makes some nice upscale models. With waterproof jackets, even "breathable" ones, I was getting as wet from trapped sweat as I would from the rain. The rain cape with fenders leaves only my feet a bit damp even in heavy rain. The open bottom leaves plenty of room for air to circulate.

  12. Great vids about city riding and commuting! How about you branch out into touring? Lot's of potential videos on bikes, gear, gear ratios, conditioning, planning, etc.

  13. I wear my running/hiking gear with my mountain bike baggy shorts to go with my, erm, mountain bike. No way I'd trust the whoppers where I work ragging their bikes out after a shift around my fragile carbon road machine.

  14. As an official dude on a fixie, I actually have a contractual obligation to be in lycra at the supermarket on the way home

  15. Instead of clips to keep your long pants legs out of the chain. Instead you can (with the correct socks) tuck you pants legs into you socks

  16. Thank you so much. Without this video advice, I would still be riding to work wearing just a blindfold and a pair of headphones 🙄

  17. "What to wear while cycling in a city".. GCN shows us flat black and other neutral colored bikes, dark apparel , and just about nothing bright except for some bright colors on the helmet, even though one of their segments not long ago was about how the brighter colors make you much more visable in city traffic and how it improves safety.. That being the case wouldn't recommending bright colors for city riders be the correct and SAFE thing to do.. You know, anything but the neutral colors depicted here that all blend in to the greys,tans, and blacks that make up the city /urban landscape.. At one point a cyclists rides by in the safety yellow over jacket behind the shot .. I saw him/ her plain as day.. But the presenters all just kind of blend with the pedestrians.. Just saying, don't preach safety, PRACTICE it..

  18. I think the most important takeaway from this video is the necessity of getting a pair of Si's socks with the bicycle print.

  19. This video would be a lot shorter in The Netherlands :-)…. Just take your bike and go to work, done. No special clothes needed, if you need to wear a suit and tie at work, no problem, you will even look stylish on your bike. Also no helmet needed here because of our great road safety and cycle paths which are separated from the roads… and flip flops are actually great to cycle with in summer…

  20. Just in case I get caught in the rain I keep 2 plastic bags in my pack and 2 rubber bands they work great to keep your shoes dry they are cheap and easily replaced.

  21. i like your advice very much, i personally use normal cloths, clip my pants (both pant) with fluorescent band and try not to cycle too hard when it's wet or hot

  22. #torqueback
    Does Chris intentionally wear shorts? I got some legs, too (not quite as his, but training paid off) and cant wear jeans anymore because EVERYTHING is skinny. I hate skinny jeans.
    My only way out of this misery are quite acceptable looking bermuda shorts but brace yourselves, winter is coming. bermuda shorts wont do anymore i guess.
    Maybe some Travolta fashion tips? 😀

  23. Another great video, guys!
    I'm fortunate to have access to showers at my office. For the commute, I've settled in on Mountain bike shorts/liners and mountainbike shoes/clips, and have come to find them so comfortable, easy and surprisingly stylish that even if I'm out on a casual ride they are my go-to. Wear whatever shirt is appropriate for the ride/destination, but on commute I go high-vis.

  24. Many jean brands sell pairs that are very stretchy and perfect for shorter commutes (my favourites are Extreme Flex from American Eagle). They don't move or chafe around the seat area, don't limit motion, don't slide down and are tighter around the ankles. Perfect for more casual offices or commuting students

  25. This was really encouraging because it I was feeling self-conscious about using running shoes while cycling, but now I know is it possible to wear "regular" shoes and it's ok!

  26. My problem with those lovely wind and water resistant jackets is that I end up sweating like crazy when wearing them, so I´m saved from water from the outside yet tormented by water from the inside.

  27. I wear
    For hot day's : shorts low cut socks regular shoe's ( sorry not riding clipless yet ) workout shirt with wicking material ( works the same as cycling jursy with out the hi cost ) and fingerless gloves
    Cold day's : almost the same just add more long sleeve shirt with wicking material wind braker sweater over that full finger gloves work out long pants I call them leggings ha ha ha ha sounds funny but yeah and shorts over for my head/face just a ninja mask or face/kneck mask my face mask also works as head cover 8 ways to use
    For rain : rain what is that ?????? Sorry I live in California rain is rear here but I guess I will be the same as my cold gear
    So thats my biking wear it work's o and yes this is to work and at work I ride my bike for my line of work only difference is I put a uniform over it

  28. I have found that longer underwear (8" or so) doesn't ride up causing me to have to pull it back down after the ride. I have also come to find underwear that has a pouch for men's nether regions really helps with keeping it all together and more comfortable.
    My favorite is saxx quest 2.0.
    The weather changes fast in west Texas, not to rain, but temp wise. I always carry a wind jacket in my backpack when I bike to school. It helps to cut the north winds and can act as a short-term rain jacket.
    Stretchy pants and shorts are a must now, they are more expensive to look nice as well, but they have improved cycling immensily.
    An active synthetic insulation layer is great as it helps keep you warm but can expel heat easier. I have the arcteryx atom LT. (expensive)
    Last thing is I keep rubber/latex gloves in my saddle bag for drivetrain repairs, and if it gets really cold they can help for a while.

    Hope this helps someone.

  29. Excellent tips and yet another awesome video by GCN. It would be great to have a list of the gear and clothing featured in the videos.

  30. Youtube is full of how the Dutch have done it. They travel by masses in normal daily clothes without a helmet (a helmet keeps people of bikes). Just kick out the cars in the center of cities. Make the roads save for bikes. The Brits just have to choose for bikes instead of choosing for the car/helmet.

  31. I was considering going to a thrift ship and buying a dressy type of shirt. cutting the sleeves off, and using them to stay out of the sun. and maybe using the rest of the shirt to cover my neck

  32. What are those bicycles you guys rode? Can you name those 3 beautiful things? Im from Indonesia and im curious …

  33. If I am going to be in traffic, I throw on a bright coloured vest for sure. Looks silly, but so does being run over by a car or bus. Some cyclist commuters I have seen have invested on those high visibility industrial jackets, but they would be hot in summer.

  34. Paramo cycling jeans, nice and light and showerproof with normal tee shirt or Merino base. Depending on temp either Paramo Ciclo jacket or Montane windproof. Gore-Tex lined walking trainers . All -except jeans – double up as my walking gear and are fine for strolling around in.

  35. I'm always struggling to find reasonably priced commuter cycling gear…stuff that is neither road lycra or baggies but is still comfortable.

  36. It really depends on the bike you're using. To get to work or just generally around the city I use a dutch style roadster and with that I can basically wear anything I want. I can wear a suit or even long coats reaching over my knees and still ride comfortably without getting any dirt on my cloth.

  37. If you commute daily on your bicycle to work, having a pannier rack and good pannier bag as you don’t get a sweaty back, it was the most useful thing I bought for my commuter bike.

  38. What do I wear while cycling in the city? Mostly denim jeans, hiking boots and a good shirt with a pocket for carrying small things.
    I've never been interested in dressing like a baboon in heat and mooning passing cars as I ride along, so I just wear what I wear when I don't ride.

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