Sunday 24 August 2014

Clothing Stages

I've noticed that my cycling clothing has changed in stages.   I like to call them Casual Clothing, Serious About Fitness and Spandex Invasion.  I'm glad I did it in a staged manner as "Spandex Invasion" clothing was off putting at first; now I feel great in it.

The Casual Clothing Stage

aka if it fits, wear it.

Shirt: Formless black cotton T-shirt
Shorts: Any that fit.
Shoes: Beat up old pair of shoes.

When I started biking on my hybrid this year, I had one clear requirement for clothing... it had to fit!  I was getting so big that even my baggy clothing was starting to get a bit tight.  I wasn't opting for looking good, just something I could change out of after.

The Serious About Fitness Stage

aka cotton?! what were you thinking!

Shirt: Polyester blend T-shirt
Shorts: Polyester blend shorts.
Shoes: ASIC running shoes with a stiff sole.
Gloves: Cycling gloves

Sweating profusely in a cotton shirt is gross.  So I switched to something with wicking properties.  At this point I had dropped some pounds and reduced my waistline and some older workout clothes started fitting.

This transition wasn't particularly difficult.  Adding gloves in made my hands feel a lot better.  The stiff soled shoes made my feet feel a lot better; the shoes were also mesh so my feet stayed cool and dry.  The hardest thing was getting used to wearing polyester as I found cotton really comfortable.  That was also an easy switch as I found clothes that wick a lot more comfortable than being a sweaty disgusting mess.

The Spandex Invasion

aka ugh, I used to make fun of people who wore spandex

Shirt: Jersey with pockets in back.
Shorts (light duty): Cycling liner & cargo shorts.
Shorts (medium duty): Cycling shorts.
Shorts (heavy duty): Cycling bib.
Gloves: Cycling gloves.
Shoes: Cycling shoes with clipless pedals.

Having clothes that could wick made a huge difference, but they were starting to get baggy.  Then they'd ride up (my arse, not the road).  Putting anything in the pockets usually meant I'd lose it.  And long distances were starting to hurt my derriere.  At first I went with a cycling "inner liner" which is underwear with a chamois pad in it.  Now I'm one of the Lycra clad cyclists I used to make fun of.

This transition was more difficult.  First of all, cycling clothes are "body fit."  Being overweight, body fit feels like you're putting the rolls of fat on display.  Secondly, cycling clothes tend to fit smaller people.  Third, bright colours (especially neon) are not my thing!  Last but not least, you are expected to wear the cycling shorts "commando style".

For a while these reasons prevented me from getting serious with my clothing.  But as your weight comes down you start to feel good about body weight; and when you are hunched over your bike at speed, no one's really noticing your gut.  I also went to a store (MEC) that had a lot of clothing selections and XXL/XXXL sizing.  I was able to try out lots of makes and sizes of things that actually fit me.  Colour is easy to get over when you realize you want to look garish and outlandish; the cyclists who blend in also tend to get blended into the pavement by cars!  And the cycling shorts?  Well, more on that another day, but they help so immensely you'll get over the no-underwear part fast.

There's enough details about the shoes and pedals for their own post, so another day!

1 comment:

  1. I can't bring myself to join the Spandex brigade. Shorts and a T-shirt.