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Wardrobe advice for newbie

nuggieboknuggiebok Posts: 63
edited April 2014 in Women's cycling forum
Hi all

I've had my bike a couple of months but not been out on it much, however with arrival of the New Year and the countdown to my first 100km charity ride underway (May) I have a training plan to help me towards the distance, which means getting out riding in whatever the British Weather will throw at me.

I have absolutely no idea what kit to buy. At the moment I wear:
full length Nike running leggings,
a Helly Hansen l/sleeved base layer (for skiing)
thin fleece top
High vis gilet over the top
If raining I wear a cheapo waterproof jacket - I think its just a hiking jacket but found it to be very dry and windproof.

Sometimes when my leggings are in the wash, I wear some cheap 3/4 cycling leggings, over a pair of baselayer trousers.

I've just bought some clipless shoes/pedals.

I want to get a few more bits of kit, but whats the best way forwards on a budget? Shorts with leg warmers, or tights. If tights, windproof/waterproof? Tights seem expensive!?

Thanks

Posts

  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 4,749 Lives Here
    I'd go and have a look in your local LBS especially as the sales are on this month.

    Early spring 3/4 leggings will be fine, but then you will need some good shorts, spend more on shorts than anything else, you'll feel the benefit, then Short sleeve top with arm warmers for the cooler mornings, short sleeve wicking top should sort you out as well, winter is whole different, here's my recommendation for winter: -

    Full length Big tights with no padding
    Shorts underneath as it is warmer
    Full Length wicking top
    Winter Airblock long sleeve top
    Gilet
    Beanie or skull cap under your helmet.
    1-2 pairs of thermal socks.
    Thermal gloves
    Neck Buff

    Hope that helps?
  • I should preface everyone will have different details but it allis usually base, mid & outer layer. When its sub zero I use a warmer mid layer than when in single digits. Some people use a warm winter jacket; I prefer a light wind breaker ... But I'm also in thermal tights until its over 10 degrees out!

    ***

    I highly recommend investing in good thermal tights. I have a pair of assos (non bib) that I've used for 7 winters now. worth it for warmth & comfort. They have an outlet web site with last years stock for about 50% off. For work commute I just wear fleeced running tights. No chamois.

    It looks like you could use a warm mid layer. Skiing or running is fine. No need to be cycle specific.

    For the rest I go relatively cheap -- warm base layer (like your ski one), a men's Rapha winter jersey got on sale years ago but any decent warm mid layer will do as mentioned; and a cheap nike wind breaker that can take light rain (otherwise I use a rain jacket). I spent crazy amounts on cycling winter jackets and found that a simple wind breaker w vents was perfect for me as kept the heat in at my core -- and the vents meant I could regulate temp. I can ride in up to about -5 in this as long as don't stop.

    Topped with a beanie, warm gloves & wool socks & toe covers. I hate booties so if it's really cold I wear sealskinz thermal socks. Sun glasses actually help-- or rather sun glasses w clear or yellow lens to keep wind out & protect from grit.

    Luck with the 100 km. trick is building up mileage in your legs -- even spin class is good.
  • Try a discount website like sportspursuit and you can get good brands for less if you're lucky. Just be aware that cycle sizes are oddly a bit more fitted than running sizes. Good luck with your metric century!
  • olake92olake92 Posts: 182
    Some cycling specific bib-tights would be a must. Alternatively, you could wear cycling bib-shorts with some leg warmers. In my opinion, bibs trump standard shorts/tights for comfort, and you won't see pros wearing anything but bibs.

    Layering works best, so my winter wardrobe (from bottom upwards) goes like this:
    - Shoes w/thick cycling socks - Specialized shoes, Endura socks
    - Waterproof(ish) overshoes - Endura
    - Bib-tights/bib-shorts with leg warmers - Team issue, if it was my money I've always bought Sportful, but dhb are good too.
    - L/S base layer - Mavic
    - S/S base layer - Nike
    - L/S winter jersey - Team issue again
    - Gilet - Team issue
    - Rain jacket if necessary - Endura
    - Bulky long finger winter gloves (Sealskinz in my case)
    - Skull cap - Castelli
    - Helmet - Team issue, Giro are nice, as are the Bontrager ones we'll use this year (not a shameless plug)

    I don't go outside if the temperature is less than 0, excluding the wind. However, I've only missed one training session due to weather this winter. This turns into a Spring/Summer wardrobe quite well.

    I would say that you can get a good pair of bib-tights for £50 using sales; I would rather pay more for a comfortable chamois than pay less and find it's uncomfortable.

    Also, I'm not sure if this is relevant but it's worth saying all the same, don't wear underwear beneath your cycling shorts/tights; the chamois is designed to go against skin and, paired with some good chamois cream (or Sudacrem, which is a lot cheaper!), will be very comfortable. Try to get female-specific clothing if you can, particularly for shorts/tights.

    (EDIT: Included brands)
    I'm on Twitter! Follow @olake92 for updates on my racing, my team's performance and some generic tweets.
  • olake92olake92 Posts: 182
    As someone else mentioned temperatures, I thought I would chime in too. My clothing 'rules' for personal use are:

    0 degrees - everything on! Long fingered gloves etc
    5 degrees - everything but the rain jacket
    8 degrees - only one base layer (usually L/S), medium weight long fingered gloves
    10 degrees - S/S base layer only, light weight long finger gloves, no skull cap, oversocks (cut up white socks from supermarket) not overshoes
    15 degrees - short finger gloves, shorts, no gilet
    18 degrees - S/S jersey

    I hope that makes sense!
    I'm on Twitter! Follow @olake92 for updates on my racing, my team's performance and some generic tweets.
  • SFTSFT Posts: 156
    Re underwear under padded shorts or bibs - absolutely fine to wear if you have your period, but if you do, don,t use chamois cream. Else , better no underwear, and with chamois cream, as directed on the pot.
    I find shorts by Rapha and Assos are fine, bibs are a pain to go to the loo in, shorts are fine for anything under 60 miles. but then , I am a woman, so don't have the same ease of weeing that a man does.
    Do not get Assos bibs, as they have a special garrotting feature in a clip that is supposed to make it easier To go to the loo, but doesn't.
    Other than that, you have all the info you need.
  • i also dislike bibs -- but that may be because my only pair is assos, and describing it as garrotting is brilliant ... if you go non bib, some brands make them with a pregnancy pants like panel, so there is no binding at the waist.

    it is really interesting to read this thread, as all of us seem to do a similar system, albeit have different preferences in brands. i'm still struggling with decent gloves, as i have really bad raynauds. now i just accept i won't be moving the shifters on longer rides in the winter.

    actually any thoughts on that would be appreciated. i sweat in my heavy gloves, and then my hands freeze up -- thinking perhaps do a liner and a mid layer glove?
  • taon24taon24 Posts: 185
    In order of priority:
    1) Waterproof warm gloves. (Cold, wet hands are awful.)
    2) A pair of bibshorts with padding for year round use (without leggings in summer, with leggings in winter.)
    3) A beanie hat for under the helmet.
    4) A short sleeved summer jersey (for summer riding on its own, as a midlayer/baselayer in winter)
    5) Windproof Jacket/Gilet to keep the warmth in on dry days.
    6) Overshoes to keep rain out of shoes. (I can cope with my body being wet, but my feet get cold if they get wet)
    7) Waterproof jacket to keep the water out on wet days. Proper waterproofs tend to make me sweaty, so I try and avoid them unless it is properly raining.
    8) Bibtights for winter (more comfortable than bibshorts + tights.
    9) Baselayers

    What you buy should depend upon budget, and use frequency. but nicer padding in shorts and better windproofing are worth paying for.
    Zips in the front will enable you to cool down easier, keeping kit useful over a range of temperatures.
    If you are going to ride frequently (daily) I would prioritise having duplicate kit over expensive kit, so stuff can be in the wash, while you still have stuff to wear.
  • olake92olake92 Posts: 182
    it is really interesting to read this thread, as all of us seem to do a similar system, albeit have different preferences in brands. i'm still struggling with decent gloves, as i have really bad raynauds. now i just accept i won't be moving the shifters on longer rides in the winter.

    actually any thoughts on that would be appreciated. i sweat in my heavy gloves, and then my hands freeze up -- thinking perhaps do a liner and a mid layer glove?

    Firstly, I'm sorry that this is now a bit late for the worst of the weather, I've been on a training camp *laughs smugly*.

    On a more serious note, I always struggled with cold extremities until I started wrapping up my torso a lot. 4 or 5 layers is standard below 10 degrees, sometimes more. I still only use the one layer of gloves but no longer get cold fingers. I hope that helps!
    I'm on Twitter! Follow @olake92 for updates on my racing, my team's performance and some generic tweets.
  • cadseencadseen Posts: 170
    Definately High Heels :D
  • nuggieboknuggiebok Posts: 63
    Thanks for all the replies. I am still struggling for kit. I don't have much expendable income at the moment so finding it hard to know what to buy without wasting money.

    And the weather is improving! Yay!

    I popped into Evans cycles and was extremely disappointed. I wanted to get a wind proof jacket to use as a mid to outer layer but the range was appauling not to mention the colours. Surely if something is suitable as an outer layer you would want it in any other colour than black!?

    Talk to me about jerseys. Are these meant to be base layers or what? I see people riding around in what looks like a normal jersey but how are they not cold?

    I'm making do with some cheap 3/4 length padded shorts at the moment. I bought a pair of Adidas response leggings and they were awful! Massive around the waist so they kept falling down, slippery on the saddle, poor padding comfort.
  • bikergirl17bikergirl17 Posts: 344
    I use a cheap nike running wind breaker most of the time. It vents (the sleeves come off) & it was a big rear pocket. I also have expensive Rapha wind jackets -- and think cheap can be better here.

    Jersey wise I'm all about good pockets as that's what you basically carry everything in. I prefer ones that include one small zipped pocket so i don't lose money/keys. Rapha have by far the best pockets in the women's classic jersey as well as a full zip . Yes jerseys crazy expensive but can go on sale. And they will last.

    Layering is preference. You can layer with them -- in spring most people wear a jersey, gilet and arm Warmers. I prefer wearing a base layer under a jersey up until about 17. I was out last weekend like that & with thermal tights & everyone else seemed to be in shorts & short sleeves!

    I agree that evans is pretty poor. I've only purchased women's jerseys from Rapha. Otherwise I buy men's -- I prefer the look of the classic campagnolo jerseys. Sportful and castelli look like they make rather inoffensive women's jerseys.

    Perhaps try wiggle, as they have a huge selection of women's tops. There's a women's specific site in the us -- team estrogen -- and perhaps use that to browse & if you see anything you like to find it in the uk.

    Quite honestly I wasted money in that it took me awhile to figure out what worked for me. For shorts/tights & shoes I think worth paying up. For the other bits I don't think it matters.
  • From warmest to coldest.

    Lightweight jersey and shorts
    Add a base layer under the jersey
    Ditch the shorts and wear long bib tights.
    Swap the lightweight jersey for a merino one
    Back to the lightweight jersey but add a gilet
    Back to the merino jersey
    Swap the gilet for a merino jacket.
    Swap the merino jacket for a fully wind proof one.

    So, now you have a base later, long bib tights, a merino jersey and a wind proof jacket. This should be ok even if it is snowing.

    Gloves are personal. Start with nothing, then fingerless, then full length, then full length with liner.
    Hats are also personal, start with nothing, then cotton cap under the helmet, then skull cap, then thermal skull cap.

    It's not just about outside temperature. It's also about how hard you are riding.
  • olake92olake92 Posts: 182
    nuggiebok wrote:
    Surely if something is suitable as an outer layer you would want it in any other colour than black!?

    Try wiggle or evans online for more colour choice, you can try it on and if it doesn't fit, send it back. Repeat until you get the desired item. You are right though, I have a black l/s jersey that I always wear a white team gilet over the top of, just for safety's sake.
    nuggiebok wrote:
    Talk to me about jerseys. Are these meant to be base layers or what? I see people riding around in what looks like a normal jersey but how are they not cold?

    I bet they're cold! Generally a standard zip up jersey will be worn over the top of a base layer. For spring, I'd recommend a base layer like this from dhb. I purchased the lighter version except in the men's (obviously!) before my training camp *hahaha*. I really like it, and it's a great base layer for 15 degrees+. The heavier version would be a good one for between 10 and 15 degrees. For lower temps, I generally use my mavic l/s base layer, but if the dhb one is anything like the rest of their products, I'd use that too!
    nuggiebok wrote:
    I'm making do with some cheap 3/4 length padded shorts at the moment. I bought a pair of Adidas response leggings and they were awful! Massive around the waist so they kept falling down, slippery on the saddle, poor padding comfort.

    My tip would be to stick with a company like dhb, who are well used and have a dedicated women's line and won't break the bank! Rapha are great too, however they smash the bank right open!

    In case you're wondering, I'm not affiliated to any of these companies! I ride for Richardsons-Trek RT and we have Italian-made kit from Giessegi and accessories from Bontrager. It's great but custom ordered, so not great for individuals.

    From a quick search:

    dhb Women's Vaeon Roubaix padded bib tights 4.7/5 stars from 90+ reviews - Roubaix is generally for colder temps. In fact, there's a hand little guide at the bottom of the description.

    OR you could go for some heavier shortswith leg warmers (as I do this time of year) meaning you would only need to buy the shorts and leg warmers to suit weather from Spring through to Autumn. Lighter shorts like the dhb Aeron range would work too, if not better, now the weather is warmer.

    How much are you looking to spend on shorts/tights?
    I'm on Twitter! Follow @olake92 for updates on my racing, my team's performance and some generic tweets.
  • homers_doublehomers_double Posts: 6,572
    If you don't have much in the way of free cash then surely you should be in lidl or aldi for their stuff?
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • nomelettenomelette Posts: 13
    Decathlon always seem to have something fairly priced.

    I also believe sports direct not to be total trash and very cheap but their womens' cycling range is limited but ok for simple stuff :)
  • olake92 wrote:
    dhb Women's Vaeon Roubaix padded bib tights 4.7/5 stars from 90+ reviews - Roubaix is generally for colder temps. In fact, there's a hand little guide at the bottom of the description.

    I have those tights - they're excellent and really good value for money but way too warm for all but the coldest of riding. If the temperature is approaching double figuures then I overheat massively in them and would rather be in standard shorts + leg warmers.
    Small fat weak punter
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