May 03, 2022

What clothing should I wear while cycling in the city?

George Turvec

By George Hosegood

While cycling in the city, staying safe and remaining comfortable are the main objectives. There are several variables to take into account when deciding on your clothing.


The weather

Cycling means being exposed to the weather, and in the UK that means the ever present threat of rain. Whether it’s falling from the sky, or spraying up your back off the tyres, the possibility of rain can really dampen the enthusiasm to cycle. However with a set of mudguards and some well suited clothing rain needn’t be avoided.

The suitability of clothing depends on the individual and their route. A slower cyclist with a flat route for example will not have to factor in high levels of perspiration caused by exertion. As a result normal clothing would be suitable. In comparison a faster cyclist with a hilly route should consider more performance focused clothing focusing on breathability. A fast cyclist for example could become wetter from perspiration wearing a fully waterproof jacket in light rain than they would wearing a more breathable softshell or thin showerproof jacket.


The helmet debate

There is much debate about the requirement for cyclists to wear a helmet, especially around making it a requirement of law, many argue that it would put many people off cycling in the first place. Some people believe that motorists treat cyclists without helmets with more caution and give them more room on the roads. Whatever your point of view there is no denying that wearing a helmet effectively absorbs impacts and protects from head injuries, greatly reducing the chances of death or serious injury if involved in an accident.


Be Seen, Be Safe

Being seen is one of the most important factors in staying safe. Commonly known as SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You) to both cyclists and motorcyclists, the common occurrence of motorists pulling out from side roads because they were only looking for large car sized moving objects in the short glance before pulling out. Whilst even the most visible cyclist will not be seen by a motorist that does not look, the best practice is to be as visible as possible using lights and high visibility clothing.


City Cycling Guides:

Read our other guides for cyclists who commonly journey through cities:

Following the highway code while urban cycling

What are the Types of Cycling Routes Found on UK Highways?

How Can I Keep My Bike Safe in the City?

The Growth of Cycling in UK Cities

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