Emma’s Guide To Women’s Cycle Clothing | What Cycling Kit To Wear?

Emma’s Guide To Women’s Cycle Clothing | What Cycling Kit To Wear?

– There are lots of things about cycling that are just the same for men and women, but one area where we do see some differences is in clothing, which is kind of obvious
really, because there are some fundamental
differences in body shape. So let’s look at how to change
your kit if you’re a woman. (dramatic drum booms) I get loads of questions from women who are taking up cycling about what is the best
kit to wear on the bike? And there really is so much choice out there these days that
it can be super confusing. Sometimes the advantages and disadvantages of certain kinds of kit aren’t really that obvious until
you’ve been for a few rides. So here is the lowdown, well, okay, my lowdown, on the kit options for women. (relaxed music) The clothing you wear on the bike is one of the most important things affecting your comfort, so if you want to enjoy your cycling, then it’s really important that you feel good in it. Now, part of that should, of course, also be looking good,
because let’s face it everybody wants to look good. But for my money, looking good is not as important as being comfortable, which is kind of just
as well for me, really. Your kit is what is in direct contact with your skin, that, and
especially the chamois, the padding in the shorts, makes it the first thing
you notice on the bike. Plus, your clothing protects you from external influences, be that the sun, rain,
snow, or hopefully not the road, if you crash. And I’m afraid that most cyclists have a little tumble
(bicycle boings) every now and then. I seem to have one
crash a month, at least. Cycling clothing which you
don’t find comfortable, or which does not protect
you from the elements, will leave you feeling
miserable on the bike, but it’s a hugely personal choice what is comfortable, even me. Let’s dive into some detail. (relaxed music) First, the cycling jersey. Now, thankfully, these days, no longer usually made from
knitted wool, but instead, from sleek and lightweight Lycra. Now, I have to confess that I’m quite a fan of baggy clothing,
and I would much rather, usually, wear a loose-fitting
t-shirt than tight Lycra. That body-hugging shape, though, is actually a really
good thing on the bike, because as well as being more aero, which is very important
if you wanna go faster, it actually also stops
your jersey flopping around due to all the stuff in the back pockets, which is where you keep your food, your pump, your telephone. So actually, on the bike,
tight is a good thing. Now, with your cycling jersey, you have loads of options. First of all, you’ve got long
sleeves for when it’s cold, short sleeves for when
it’s hot, full-length zip, and in some jerseys, a half-length zip. Now why a zip at all, I hear you ask. Well, a full-length zip allows you to unzip your jersey totally to take it on and off, and also for cooling when it’s hot. The half-length zip is
slightly more aerodynamic, but a lot more hassle to get changed. You can actually, of course, use a cycling jersey without a zip, it’s just harder to get dressed. Personally, I find that
men’s, or unisex jerseys actually fit fine, except that they’re often too long, which means that the pockets
hang really low at the back, which is not a good look. (relaxed music) Next, cycling shorts. This is a very important topic, so take a seat, and settle
down for some details. Firstly, let’s talk about the chamois. Now, this is the padding in the shorts that protects your
undercarriage from the saddle. A good quality chamois, like the ones in these UMA GT shorts, or this is ASSOS’s women
specific laalaLai shorts, they can really help you to be comfortable for long days in the saddle. There’s a huge variety in fit of shorts and shape and thickness
of the chamois out there. Now is women’s specific shorts
and chamois better for you? Maybe, but not necessarily. For example, I’ve found that
some women specific shorts are fantastic, but also
some unisex shorts. The important thing is to find
something that works for you and that your shorts fit right and that the chamois is the right shape, that doesn’t move around
when you’re riding. Now we come to underwear and some people are gonna
find this really gross, but no, most cyclists
do not wear underwear under their cycling shorts. Now, I can see how this seems really weird and I can still remember being
appalled to find this out when I took up cycling, but the thing is that underwear
only creates extra friction and chafing in the area
where you need it least. Chafing is really bad, so you don’t actually need underwear, you just make sure you
wash your cycling shorts after every ride. Easy. Now we come to another major question, half shorts or bib shorts? Bib shorts have this brace
system to hold them up and you might well ask, why
have braces on cycling shorts? Well the reason is, that
if you have the braces, you don’t need to have a waist band, which some people find a bit uncomfortable when they’re hunched over on the bike. On the other hand, the waist band shorts, allow you take them off,
frankly a lot quicker, than with the bibs, Because you don’t have
to undo your jersey first to take off your shorts, those can be valuable seconds to lose if you’re desperate for the toilet. (relaxed music) Now we come to the undervest which is commonly worn
under a cycling jersey, not just for insulation but also, and this is absolutely vital, to stop rogue bees and wasps
from flying down your cleavage. Very unpleasant
experience, I can tell you. Undervests come in various thicknesses, and shapes and sizes, for example this is ASSOS’s
summer skinFoil vest and it’s really thin and it wicks the sweat away from your skin whereas this is ASSOS’s
spring/fall evo7 base layer, not only has it got
long sleeves obviously, but it’s very thin, and yet super insulated to keep you warm on slightly cooler mornings. There’s a wealth of
different kinds of gloves for different weather conditions, starting from the summer
track mitts with short fingers through to neoprene for the pouring rain, to keep your hands warm, windproof when it’s cold but not raining, and these are my personal favorites, these are the tiBuru
autumn or spring glove, it’s very thin but nice and warm and it even has conductive
patches on the fingertips so you can use your phone without taking them off. (energetic music) Accessories. There is a plethora of
accessories in cycling. This is not a comprehensive guide, but just a quick overview. Let’s divide it into
accessories for the rain, and accessories to stay warm. Sometimes you need both. For example, this is the
sturmPrinz evo ASSOS jacket and that is properly waterproof, that will keep you dry
in a massive rain storm. To go with it, you could use a rain cap, keeps the rain out of your
eyes when it’s pouring down. Whereas this is the UMA GT wind jacket. Now it’s not waterproof
but it is totally windproof and it packs down much
smaller than a rain jacket. Then we’ve also go knee warmers,
leg warmers, arm warmers, those are super versatile
ways to keep warm when it’s chilly in the morning
or the evening for example. You can strip them off when it gets warmer and you want to have short sleeves. Moving on you also have booties, now these go over your shoes and socks to keep your toes warm. Very, very useful. There are also waterproof
versions available. And of course the trusty headband to keep your ears and
head warm in the winter. (energetic music) Sock length is a surprisingly
heated topic of debate among cyclists who love
to mock triathletes for not wearing any socks at all. There was actually a time in road cycling when it was fashionable to wear your socks so long they almost came up to your knees, although maybe that was just on me. But actually now that some
pros have outed themselves as preferring short socks in training to avoid the mid calf tan line, I think that any cyclist
should be able to be open and proud of whatever
sock length they choose. (energetic music) And now to style, and who cares about style? Well okay, we all care about style. But the thing is, it’s way more important to be comfortable and enjoy your cycling than to look good. There are though, some
really, really stylish and elegant women’s
cycling outfits out there, and they’re also functional, so why not enjoy how you look on the bike? I hope this video helps you if you are in a bit of a dilemma
about what kind of shorts or what cut of jersey to go for. Why not let us know down in the comments what style of kit you prefer and of course if you’d like to buy our awesome ASSOS GCN kit, you can find it by clicking in the shop and you can see how ASSOS make their beautiful cycling clothing by watching this video down here.

69 Replies to “Emma’s Guide To Women’s Cycle Clothing | What Cycling Kit To Wear?”

  1. Let us know about your kit choices and be sure to share this with a friend who's getting into cycling 👍

  2. I buy men's tops but women's bottoms. I am a girl after all I just have a long torso and appreciate the pockets and sleeves being in the right place.

  3. I'm a MTB'er so all this aero stuff is alien to me. Cotton knickers baggy clothes 4tw. Also i have never suffered from chafing

  4. Undercarriage is the part of a moving vehicle underneath the main body of the vehicle. The term originally applied to this part of a horse-drawn carriage, and usage has since broadened to include the landing gear of an aircraft and the chassis of an automobile.

  5. I prefer high waisted shorts/ tights so they don’t cut into me; which can look unflattering. Ladies cut jerseys fit better on me as i have narrow waist & wider hips… the mens/unisex jerseys alway look baggy either on the waist or chest. I always have to go up a size too.

  6. The only thing you didn't mention was helmets! I know it's not necessarily a women specific issue, but I'd love it if helmet makers thought about pony tails and clearly marked which ones are compatible.

  7. Women cyclists have better options of colours and designs over men's cycling clothes. Mens tend to be either black or very neutral. If any colour is wanted, you generally have to be plastered with sponsors on replica team kits.

  8. Women who occasionally do long training rides need both bib and half shorts. Anything over 2-1/2 hours, that includes a bathroom break requires half shorts. Anything less, and bibs should work…….One other thing. Jerseys are made of a blend of lycra and other fabrics. I still have a jersey from the 80's that is all lycra. Any kind of weight in the back pockets cause the rear to rag down over your rear.

  9. You know with overshoes can you use them with normal trainers or do they have to be used with cleats only. I can't quite afford some cleats yet but what some overshoes for the colder weather.

  10. For both sexes, the pad in cycling shorts should come with a rider weight guideline. We all buy the same shorts regardless of whether we're 60 kilos or 90 kilos. 'Tis a bit daft to think both light and heavy riders get the same comfort from the same pad.

  11. Love the addition of Emma to GCN and women specific issues. What about seats? I have been experimenting with several over the last few years. When I ride a lot my "territories" can take a beating. Any ideas or suggestions. Right now I'm riding a Specialized. Power Expert and on longer more aggressive rides it can be a bit painful down there……thanks for the help.

  12. Awesome video, Emma, and very informative… Whatever gender you are it is worth knowing the difference in kit, and why it is there. After all, if you get into a relationship with another cyclist, it's worth knowing (as a man) what she feels comfortable in and why.

  13. My ex's cycling club didn't have jerseys in a size that would fit comfortably, which was really discouraging for someone trying to get into cycling. There are a few companies like Machines For Freedom and Fat Lass at the Back that make women's cycling clothing that isn't designed primarily for slender figures, and have really good looking designs too.

  14. You get what you pay for in cycling equipment in general. IMHO, it's better to buy the best quality you can afford. I am usually surprised how well higher quality equipment performs and wears over time.

  15. Sun protection — Some of the summer jerseys have mesh panels that let too much sun through. If you've had skin cancer (like me) or have sensitive skin, you should consider covering up. You can get cool sun sleeves and leggings to cover your arms and legs. And a summer balaclava to cover the sides of your face, ears and neck. For added sun protection under a jersey, try a summer wicking base layer. Generally speaking, darker colors usually block UV better than light colors. And some black jerseys and shorts are available with features like "black ice" to enhance cooling.

    Bibs vs shorts — Another benefit of bibs is that they provide more coverage and stay up. When you sit up or stand, you won't expose your tummy when the front of your jersey pulls up. This is especially important if you are tall — I know many tall cyclists who insist on bibs for this reason alone.

  16. As a 6 foot tall, 75kg woman, I find it REALLY difficult to get cycling jerseys that fit. Even though I rigorously look at the sizing tables I end up sending 2 out of 3 purchases back. Most women's gear is just too small and most men's jerseys are too long so as soon as I put things in the back pocket they hang down over the back of the bike which is both uncomfortable and dangerous if it gets caught on the saddle. For me clothing is all about comfort on the bike and I am willing to pay more for clothing that fits and wears well.

    Cycling clothing manufacturers should take a look at people in the real world and make some clothes that fit real people. It would be even harder for those starting off in cycling who want to do so to loose weight and gain fitness. Not being comfortable on the the bike would be a big deterrent from continuing.

  17. #askgcn i have a stupid question I am wandering on a long ride what do you do when you need to pee when there isn't a restroom handy do you find the nearest tree or pee in your jersey like a NASCAR driver #askgcn

  18. Getting correct seat will make a huge difference it’s not the padding as such that makes the difference is correct support on your seat bones

  19. Hi Emma, can you please cover in a video the more awkward questions women may have about cycling? Eg. periods, bras, how women toilet on long rides/races

  20. do something about fat cyclist……. what clothes do wear, when i start cycling i was 114 kilos and now i am 90 kilos, i have to loose 20 kilos more

  21. Very helpful advice even for a bloke, I had often wondered about under vests and when to use them. Great vid, many thanks.

  22. Not your brand, but Gore's bibs have the best drop-tail situation I've found – you can pee without excessive discombobulation

  23. Just a couple of days ago a woman out on the bike trail asked why I was wearing gloves. I realized I don't know why anyone else wears them, but I've scraped up my hands on the pavement before and that's just so easy to prevent with cycling gloves.

  24. Great feature Emma. When I started cycling back in the early 80's there were no women's clothing options and leather chamois!! There are so many options now. I prefer shorts to bibs for the convenience, especially if one needs to dive behind a hedge for a quick comfort break. The only niggle I find are longs. They are alway too long. Ok I'm barely 5ft tall.

  25. The most important bit of style is to win a national and/or world championships so you can have the bands on your kit!

  26. Emma, as a fellow triathlete, I am afraid of the backlash you will feel for calling for sock length freedom on this channel. There are some subjects too hot to touch…

  27. Being tall and not so curvy I find men's kit more comfortable although some bibs have a bit too much room in the crotch. Bibs are also less discreet if you get caught short in the middle of nowhere as you have to peel off jersey and vest etc. Mens jerseys are better for broad shoulders too although some "Italian" brands or "race fit" are often designed for very slight builds male or female! Castelli kit is great but never fits me in the shoulders and is too big in the chest! It's worth trying a variety of brands for what suits as we are all different. A well stocked bike shop is a good place to try before you buy when you first riding. There are some great colourful kits from websites like Queen of the Mountain too but you really need to know your measurements.

  28. Another couple of very useful accessories to add to your kit are toe warmers for when an overshoe/bootie is a bit excessive for the conditions and the versatile buff which you can use as a neck warmer/scarf/ face protector or even as a hat under your helmet.

  29. I have been exchanging messages with GCN about the New Winter Jacket and need it in size TIR. What are GCN’s intentions about the larger sizes?

  30. It’s great you’re talking about women’s cycling gear but l like to know what to wear as a tall rider just getting in to road biking I’m not tallest rider out there i’m 6’4 about 165 Thanks

  31. Definitely bib shorts and tights, can't stand waistbands or having to constantly pull them up. Not so great when you need to dash behind a hedge for a comfort stop though…

  32. If we're talking winter clothes, how about keeping the head warm, and the face without ending up with condensation and misted sunglasses. Neck warmers, too. PS here's a tip for keeping hands and toes warm – those thin disposable heated pads you can put inside shoes and gloves, last for up to 8 hours.

  33. Thanks Emma, my wife looks great in her "Terry" kit! She does not like bibs because of the bathroom think though. Just sharing her thoughts on that subject.

  34. For summer as a road cyclist I have some key bits I love; jersey snoods, yellow/high VIS gloves, any sort of trainer sock and any sort of gym shark flex short. This is because I've had cycling shorts in the past and they have a gel on the seam which prevents movement yet tries to ride up at the same time which can cause a bit of a pinch on the thighs! Sunglasses are an absolute must, and interchangeable coloured lenses are a really nice feature too. I find that jerseys are great but if it is for day to day use and you're not keen on the tight fit, a sports bra and tank is adequate, covered with a 360 degree lightweight waterproof jacket/gilet. I always like to be prepared for a weather change as I have been caught out before. For the winter I highly recommend the cycling caps (without a peak), a jersey and a fleece snood, with reflective bag cover and helmet cover. This is is a commuting cyclist so for races this may not apply. I'd also highly recommend getting a couple of pairs of gloves, so that if you do get caught in the rain then you can put dry gloves on for your next ride. Obviously you will need some waterproof trousers and jacket, if the back pockets are an option get those as it is so easy to grab your keys and lock up your bike.also for winter, long sleeved gym tops are amazing for lightweight warmth. I'd love to see more videos like this out there, but with less brand names thrown in.

  35. Cycling kits are so expensive I cannot afford any. I've been cycling with casual clothes for 3 years now and haven't got any problem.

  36. what do you think about the heart rate chest strap? suitable for women? I've considered in investing in one but it's expensive and I'm not sure if it's suitable for my body type (big tits) or if it's just as well a wrist band? Also, what's actually the difference about the saddles??

  37. I recently switched to wearing boxer briefs underneath my shorts because my underwear was chafing. I guess I’ll try commando next! Thanks!

  38. High visibility accessories or gilet, or vest should be considered, or wear white. I was hit twice by drivers who claimed they didn’t see me. I wear padded underwear under my cycling shorts , also I have extra silicone pas on my seat. I need 3 layers! Thanks for the video.

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