December 20, 2016

High Visibility Clothing: Cycling gear guide for safer biking

High visibility clothing: Biking gear for safer cycling

When it comes to certain things, like buying a bike and buying running shoes, you shouldn’t choose using color as your primary factor. Bike fit matters, and shoe fit matters! Poor fitting bikes and shoes can lead to common training injuries. And you don’t want that.

But if you’re on a hunt for safety clothing, colors can come close to the primary factor in choosing any particular piece of clothing! Of course fit still matters. You do want to be comfortable after all. Poor-fitting clothes can make for a miserable ride. And you don’t want that either. But for this list, we’re making color a primary consideration.

This list is a beginner’s guide to cycling clothing, using high visibility clothing as an example of what’s out there to wear in terms of comfort and safety.

>> Do you love pink? Instead see the sister post that uses pink clothes as your beginner’s guide to cycling clothing!

Now, wearing a pair of bright colored cycling gloves or socks isn’t necessarily going to oh-so-dramatically increase your safety on the road. But when it comes to bike safety, the more you can help to increase your visibility to drivers, you probably can’t go wrong. So if you’re buying cycling gear anyway, you might as well consider looking at making a few of the pieces of clothing high visibility.

And so, this is a general list of cycling gear aimed towards beginner cyclists with an explanation about the different types of clothing that’s out there for cyclists. The high visibility clothing twist as an example could be useful for cyclists of all levels for finding high vis bike apparel.

Of course, being highly visible alone will not make you a safe cyclist. But giving yourself a chance to be better seen by drivers, and pedestrians for that matter if you do city biking, can make you safer when you’re riding out on the roads.

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Basic components of a standard cycling outfit

Cycling jersey

If you’re out for a bike ride on a warm day, cycling jerseys can be helpful for a number of reasons. They are designed to help regulate your body temperature to an extent. They are usually partial zip-up so you can zip up and down depending on how hot or cool you feel. They are also made of material that is breathable and moisture-wicking to keep sweat from soaking up your clothes. All of this can contribute to a comfortable cycling experience.

Cycling jerseys are also designed with rear pockets to store small items. These pockets are deep enough and secure enough so that you can place your keys, phone, and even a snack in your back pocket without having to worry about the items falling out as you are biking.

A quality cycling jersey can typically start at around $50 on the cheap end if you get it on sale. High visibility cycling jerseys like the Pearl Izumi Ride Select Jersey for women and Pearl Izumi Quest Jersey for men have the qualities of a standard cycling jersey and fits into this entry-level price range.

Bike shorts

Bike shorts are probably the first piece of cycling-specific clothing many beginner cyclists buy. The biggest reason that people like to have shorts that are specific to cycling is for the comfort factor. Because of the way they are padded, cycling shorts can make your time on the bike a whole lot more comfortable than a regular pair of shorts.  Much like all other cycling gear, the price can range greatly with bike shorts. The Louis Garneau Neo Power Motion Shorts that are bike shorts with high visibility elements are towards the higher end and are for better performance. These shorts are designed as compression shorts and they boast reduced muscle fatigue.

Pin the shorts for later!

There are also bike shorts available that are geared more towards those who mountain bike. Mountain biking shorts tend not to be the form fitting shorts you imagine a standard road cyclist to be wearing. There are shorts such as the Fox Racing Ripley Mountain Bike Shorts for women and Pearl Izumi Launch Shorts or MTB WxB Shorts for men. If you do city biking and want some padding in your shorts without having to wear spandex-type bike shorts, these types of shorts could be a good alternative. These shorts are both padded and are a solid high visibility color that can help you be better seen in city traffic or out on the trails.


Cycling shoes

Bike shoes allow you to pedal more efficiently. Since your bike shoes have stiffer soles and are clipped in securely to the pedals, the energy you put into pedaling takes you further. This allows you to go further with each pedal stroke while saving energy compared to pedaling without bike shoes clipped into your pedals.

For outdoor biking, if you’re getting bike shoes for the first time, you’ll also need to get special pedals for your bike, as the standard flat platform bike pedals won’t allow you to clip in with bike shoes. If you’d like to be able to conveniently use your bike with your bike shoes as well as your normal shoes, you may want to consider getting bike shoes compatible with pedals that have a flat platform on one side and the clipless capability on the other side. This makes it easy to go for your training ride with your bike shoes, and then the next day go for an easy ride around the neighborhood with your family in your running shoes, without having the hassle of switching out pedals.

For quality entry-level cycling shoes, it won’t be unexpected to find them for around the same price as quality running shoes, or maybe slightly less, which would be a bit under $100. The high visibility cycling shoes like Louis Garneau Carbon LS-100 Cycling Shoes for men and Giro Facet Tri Cycling Shoes for women don’t quite fit into an entry-level category but they do have better performance benefits.

Cycling gloves

For cycling, gloves aren’t just for cold weather. Regular cycling gloves are not full-fingered gloves which makes them suitable for warmer temperatures. They also tend to be padded well in the palm areas, and many cyclists like to wear them to minimize pressure from the palms on the handlebars. Gloves are also useful so that the gloves can absorb some of the vibrations from the road. These gloves are something that you can do without, but your hands may have a more comfortable experience if you do use cycling gloves. As part of your cycling outfit, the high visibility cycling gloves of Pearl Izumi Elite Gel Gloves is one of Pearl Izumi’s most popular cycling gloves for the padding and comfort they provide while maintaining a safe grip of the handlebars.


Socks

If you’re new to cycling, you may not put much thought into the socks you wear when you go cycling. But a good pair of socks designed for active people or workout purposes can make for a more comfortable ride. As an example, high visibility cycling socks like DeFeet Aireator Double Cuff Socks are lightweight, moisture-wicking, and are made with mesh material to help your feet breathe better. This helps to that sweat from your feet isn’t trapped. This improved air flow compared to regular socks may make for a more comfortable and less stinky ride. 🙂 You can also give a look to the DeFeet Aireator “Share the Road” Socks for cycling in style with a message to anyone who dares to give a closer look to your feet!

Cycling cap

Some cyclists like to wear a cycling cap under their helmet no matter the temperature outside for a little extra comfort. You probably haven’t seen a ton of people wearing cycling caps out on their bikes, but cyclists who do wear them do so for different reasons.

A cycling cap can be an additional measure to help sweat from pouring down your face. Cyclists who are balding may choose to wear these typically moisture-wicking cycling caps for added protection against the sun. The brim on the cap can also help to shield the bright sun. There are also cycling caps designed for cold weather or winter cycling that can provide warmth and insulation to keep your head and ears warm. If you’re looking to give a cycling cap a try, you can consider a high visibility cycling cap like the Louis Garneau Course Vent Cap.

Bike helmet

And the last piece of cycling gear that will be mentioned in this first section: a bike helmet. It’s not mentioned last because it’s the least important, but because hopefully it’s the most obvious! If you’re doing any kind of biking outdoors, as they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry! And quite honestly, if you’re geared up in a cycling kit without a helmet, it’ll look weird! ?

In the extremely unfortunate scenario that you crash your bike, your helmet is your first line of defense for your head if it hits the pavement. The helmet will absorb some of that impact to keep you from being further injured, if not save your life. So don’t skimp on buying a helmet.

If you’re doing any kind of decent riding in which you’ll be sweating, you want to try to get a helmet that will allow for a good amount of ventilation through the top. You don’t want your head to become uncomfortably hot when you start to sweat. Vents on your helmet can help with the air flow it allows.

Decent adult helmets can start at around $50 and go up from there, and you’ll come across helmets that are significantly more expensive. One such helmet that has a higher price tag is the Giro Savant Bike Helmet. This high visibility bike helmet comes with a few added performance benefits including added ventilation to keep you cool and is a relatively lightweight helmet. And having this helmet as a bright yellow big blob on your head will surely will help drivers to spot you better in city traffic or on country roads. 🙂


High visibility cycling in cooler temperatures

Just because the temperature is cooler doesn’t mean that the bike needs to be stored in the garage! You just want to make sure that you bundle up well for the weather conditions and you can be good to go! There are a few additional items you want to keep in mind specifically for fall cycling or spring cycling when you have cooler temperatures outside. And so, here are just a few clothing items you’ll want to consider for your cooler weather riding.

Keeping your head warm

When the temperatures start to drop, it’s important to start thinking about how to protect your head from the cold wind. One way of doing this to be better seen on the road is to wear a bright helmet cover like the RockBros Bike Helmet Cover. This high visibility bike helmet cover can serve to protect against the cold wind and the elements. A helmet cover can help to keep you drier and warmer in wet and very cold conditions, while minimizing the cold air that seeps in through the top of your helmet.

Because the helmet cover blocks off airflow to the head, it is possible that a helmet cover can start to make your head uncomfortably hot. In these situations (as long as it’s not raining!) you can easily snap off the helmet cover. If you choose to wear a helmet cover when it’s really cold, you’ll also want to make sure you wear something to keep your ears protected as well.

You can also opt to cover your head directly with a high visibility winter cap like the Pearl Izumi Thermal Cap. There is also the Pearl Izumi Barrier Cycling Cap which has the features you’d expect in a traditional cycling cap and is designed for cold weather to keep your head and ears warm. You can wear these winter caps under your helmet to keep your head and ears warm on your cold weather bike ride.

Keeping your upper body warm

Layers

In cooler temperatures, a system of layering can work to keep you protected from the weather elements while being comfortable enough to not let your sweat be a bother. Generally speaking, this layering strategy could be grouped into 3 layers: your base layer primarily designed to wick away your sweat from your skin, your insulating layer to trap air to keep the warmth closer to you, and your outer shell layer to protect you from weather elements like wind. All of these groupings of layers may not be necessary when the temperatures are on the milder side.

If the temperatures are not too cold, you could wear high visibility cycling jerseys like the Louis Garneau Ventila Long Sleeve Jersey or Louis Garneau Edge CT Long Sleeve Jersey on its own. Or if it’s colder, you could wear a base layer under it, or you could add a layer on top of this long sleeve jersey. Or… really, there are many possibilities! A lot of it depends on what makes you comfortable and what the outdoor temperature is.

If it’s a bit cooler than just wearing a long sleeve cycling jersey, it’s time to think about layering up a bit more. Along with a base layer, and possibly an insulating layer, you’ll want to start looking at cyclist-friendly jackets. Oh hey! It’s the high visibility cycling jacket in the way of the Pearl Izumi Ride Elite Softshell Jacket.


When you’re looking for a jersey, whether it be short-sleeve or long-sleeve, or a jacket for cycling, consider what the design on the back is like. The latest version of this Elite Softshell Jacket, listed above, has a bit more of a black design on the back, although there are some high visibility elements as well. If you prefer to have a bit more of a bright color design on the back as well, if you can manage to find an older version of this jacket floating around online – oh hey, look at that! – pretty much the entire front and back is in a highly visible color. It’ll probably be cheaper too.

Jackets like these are ideal for cycling in cold weather because of the protection it can provide from the elements with the warmth and insulation it provides while being comfortable to ride and move around in.

Arms and hands

Yet another outfit choice for temperatures that are a bit cool, but not extremely cold: You could wear a normal short sleeve cycling jersey to go with a pair of high visibility arm warmers like the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Arm Warmers. As the name indicates, these work to keep your arms warm when the wind blowing on your arms is a bit too cold without any coverage of your arms.

And finally, it’s also very important that you not let your fingers get too cold when you’re out riding. This is because you need to keep your fingers mobile so you can safely brake and shift your gears. If your fingers are cold and stiff, it makes it hard to be a safe cyclist!

Standard cycling gloves won’t offer full protection from cold weather elements, so you’ll want to wear a pair of full-fingered gloves. If the temperature is just cold enough to warrant extra protection, you could try wearing a pair of thin yet warm wool liner gloves underneath your normal cycling gloves.

For more protection than that, while still getting the padding in your hands, you can start to look to high visibility cycling gloves like the Pearl Izumi Cyclone Gel Gloves. These gloves give you the quality padding, breathability, and gripping you can expect from Pearl Izumi gloves, and the warmth and insulation to go along with it. But keep in mind, with any type of gloves, they may only be warm up to a certain temperature. In these cases, you either want to start layering up on your hands, or try to find thicker gloves. Just be sure that you don’t sacrifice the mobility and grip of your fingers too much so you can stay safe on the road.

Here are more ideas for cold weather cycling gloves and how to choose them.


Keeping your lower body warm

If you’re out biking on cooler days, it’s especially important to keep your lower body adequately warm. You don’t want to increase your chances of getting one of the common cycling injuries because of muscles and joints of your legs that are too cold.

Tights can help to keep your legs warm on those cooler days. When you’re looking for tights, you’ll want to check if they offer the padding for comfort on the bike seat. You can go for tights without the padding, and just put your regular bike shorts on underneath them. These types of tights can be helpful so that you can use your tights for activities other than just cycling. Or you can find bike tights that have the padding so you only have to wear a single layer.

The Louis Garneau Pro Knickers that are cycling tights with high visibility elements are ideal for cooler temperatures you may experience at the beginning of fall or spring. These are 3/4 length tights that reach to about half way down your calves. These tights do have padding, so as long as the temperature isn’t too cold, you can wear this single layer and be on your way out the door.

For more leg coverage, the high visibility cycling tights of Pearl Izumi Ride Sugar Thermal Cycling Tights for women and Pearl Izumi Ride Elite Thermal Cycling Tights for men that are full-length tights can also help to keep your legs warm on crisp day.

In terms of how you can be seen, these two pairs of tights are almost the opposite of each other. The Sugar women’s cycling tights have a bright yellow design going down the back of the tights so cars can see you better from behind. The Elite men’s cycling tights has the bright yellow design on the bottom part of the leg on the front side, so it will better help drivers see you from the front.

Another way to keep your legs warm where it matters most, or at least matters a lot, is to provide added warmth for your knees. And you can do that with high visibility knee warmers like the Louis Garneau Knee Warmers. As the name indicates, you can put these sleeves on your legs so that they will cover the knees to protect them from cold wind. You can wear these knee warmers with your bike shorts when the weather is cool enough to warrant a bit of extra protection, but not so cold that you want to wear full tights.


For more bike safety >> High tech bike lights

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HAPPY SAFE BIKING!

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