Fashion vs Function
Many cycling style rules exist for a purpose – they function to make us safer, faster, more efficient and more comfortable.
Fashion: Yes, sunglasses are a fashion accessory in cycling just as they are in street wear, however, as well as making you look good they do have some serious functionality that you won’t get from a pair of welding glasses or the $20 pair you bought at the servo.
Not just to protect your eyes from bugs and grit, they also provide:
- Ventilation to ensure that when you stop they won’t fog up and prevent you from going again.
- Photochromic lenses that change their tint according to the prevailing light conditions meaning that you don’t have to stop and take them off or change the lenses when light conditions change.
- No distortion of your vision – quality cycling glasses are created by opticians to ensure that your vision is not distorted by the necessary curvature of the lense.
- Anti slip nose piece to ensure they stay on despite sweat and sunscreen
Fashion: Baggy t-shirt flapping in the wind or sticking to your body with sweat or a well cut jersey that fits your body’s contours like a second skin? You decide.
Just some of the functions of a cycling jersey:
- Visibility – reflective patches or bands ensure you’re seen by other road users
- Sun protection – many jerseys now have a UV protection factor to help you stay sun safe
- Moisture management – wicking moisture away from your body to keep you dry and comfortable
- Temperature regulation – technical fabrics now allow one garment to keep your cool or warm depending on the conditions
- Ergonomic cut ensures that the jersey fits the contours of your body like a second skin, if it’s flapping in the breeze it’s not serving its purpose.
- Pockets mean that you’ve got space to carry the essentials like money for coffee…
Fashion: Every serious rider’s secret for a polished look
Function: They fit better, are more comfortable around your midsection and keep your shorts from drooping, so your chamois stays in place and you never reveal more than you want to. For the blokes, they also keep everything in position so you don’t need to constantly adjust yourself. For the ladies, women’s specific versions exist for a reason – a different cut and a different chamois protect the girlie bits; don’t be conned into buying men’s shorts or bibs.
Function: Cycling specific socks do have multiple functions besides keeping up with the fashions for cuff height. Like so many cycling garments, moisture wicking and ventilation are very important features, in addition, compression plus heel and toe protection become more important with every hour you spend in the saddle. Warmth is another functional factor to consider as the winter months draw closer and wool socks are a great way of keeping your feet warm but also well ventilated. Thicker does not equal better in cycling socks.
Function: putting fashion aside gloves provide vibration absorption, sun protection, crash protection and with correct pad placement can support and protect the ulnar and median nerves (very important if you’re going to spend multiple hours in the saddle).
Warmers & Coolers
Fashion: coordination is the key – coordinate them with the rest of your kit to achieve a pro look
Function: Leg, arm, head, ear, foot – the options are endless but the most basic function of all warmers and coolers is to moderate your body temperature during a ride. Layering is definitely the key to dressing for comfort when cycling. Also, coolers, and to a lesser extent warmers, offer the added advantage of UV protection.