Safety, comfort and weather protection are all key considerations that need to be made when commuting by bike, and with these suggestions, your cycle commute can become an enjoyable part of your daily routine all year round.
Commuter Cycling Helmets
First and foremost for a commute in terms of safety is a cycling helmet. A good, bike-specific helmet will provide excellent protection in the event of an accident whilst being light and unobtrusive the rest of the time.
As well as their traditional foam construction, many modern helmets also feature new technologies to add further protection. For example, MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) and WaveCel are both concepts which aim to prevent rotational forces from causing harm and ANGi sensors are able to phone for help if they detect a likely crash.
Some helmets concentrate on providing good airflow for cooling and others offer greater protection against the weather with a more solid construction that also helps protect the helmet when it's being carried around, stuffed in a locker or left on the floor. Peaks are popular as they shelter the rider from rain or bright sunshine whilst high-performance options often offer an aerodynamic benefit.
What Helmet Should I Choose For Commuting?
For most commuters, a reasonably robust helmet that can withstand the small knocks of day-to-day use is the best idea, but riders with longer commutes or a warmer climate will appreciate a cooler, light helmet that is better ventilated. However, the single most important thing when choosing a helmet is that it fits correctly and is adjusted properly in order that it can do its job when needed.
Commuter Cycling Jackets
When riding daily in the UK’s ever-changing weather, a decent waterproof and/or windproof cycling jacket is worth its weight in gold for commuting. Many modern fabrics are excellent at providing good weather protection whilst still remaining breathable enough to cope when making a bit of an effort.
What To Look For In A Commuter Cycling Jacket
For shorter commutes or for wearing over normal clothes, look for a cycling jacket with a more relaxed fit whereas a slimmer, racier cut might be more appropriate if worn over cycling clothing for ‘performance commuting’. Similarly, if you are integrating your commute into a training plan and thus working up a sweat, then it is well worth spending money on a more breathable option whereas a cheaper alternative may well be fine for shorter, easier rides. Dedicated, year-round riders should ensure that the jacket is 100% waterproof, and durable enough for daily use.
Regardless of the jacket’s style or performance, make sure it features bright, hi-viz colours and ample reflectivity to improve visibility. It should also be compact enough to be packed away into a bag when not required, ready for the ride home. A full-length zip and high collar are worth looking for, although a hood is more likely to be a hindrance than a help when on a bike.
What Commuter Cycling Jacket Should I Choose?
The aim when choosing a jacket for commuting is to balance fit, comfort, suitability and price as best you can to ensure that it provides the protection that you need for your commute. For most bike commuters durability, waterproofness and fit will be more important than lightweight and highly breathable, whilst every rider should place safety features at the top of the ticklist.
Commuter Cycling Shorts
Why Do I Need Cycling Shorts For Commuting?
For commutes of more than a short distance, a decent pair of padded, cycling-specific shorts will work wonders in terms of comfort and save your work clothes from getting wet, dirty or sweaty. The pad provides comfort in the saddle and the close-fitting Lycra gives unrestricted movement for easier pedalling.
What Kind of Cycling Shorts Do I Need For Commuting?
For convenience, a short without bib straps is the simplest to change into and out of on the commute. Should modesty or style require that the Lycra is covered up, then mountain bike or gravel baggy shorts or trousers work perfectly as they are cut to fit well in the riding position with a higher back and tough materials as well as slimmer legs that don't flap around and won't impede pedalling.
For daily commuting, cycling gloves provide protection against the weather when it’s chilly and prevent chafing or discomfort when it's warm. Even in the summer, many early morning commutes will still be cool enough that a pair of gloves is required.
Winter Commuter Gloves
You should ensure that any full-finger gloves are dextrous enough that the gears and brakes can be operated safely, and the ability to use a touch-screen device without removing them is a useful feature that many gloves offer now. Windproof and / or waterproof materials are useful in the worst conditions but can make the gloves feel bulky and unwieldy if not well cut, so bike-specific gloves are best.
Summer Commuter Gloves
Short-fingered summer cycling mitts offer the ultimate in terms of dexterity for commuting. They should be lightweight and breathable, but still offer a padded palm that helps to minimise vibrations through the handlebar and protect the ulnar nerve to prevent numbness.
The simple addition of some cycling-specific headwear underneath a helmet can have many benefits in both the summer and the winter.
In the summer, a lightweight, quick-drying cycling cap helps to wick away sweat, shade your eyes from bright sunshine and keep any stray showers off your face when commuting. The simple, traditional cap works well, but many brands now offer a similar style made using modern, technical fabrics. These breathe better and dry faster than cotton for greater comfort.
Winter Commuter Hats
Come cooler weather, then a simple under-helmet skull cap will keep you warmer but can be easily tucked away in a pocket when not needed on the commute. In full winter conditions, peaked hats with earflaps offer the ultimate protection and are available with a fully waterproof construction or with windproof and insulating materials.
Very simple and highly packable, a neck warmer is extremely effective in protecting the throat, chin and even face from cold air on the commute. It also plugs the gaps at the neck of any jacket, preventing the warm air from escaping and thus improving the jacket's effectiveness too.
A few core items, tailored to your particular needs, can make all the difference between arriving at work ready for the day or getting there cold, wet and uncomfortable. Sigma Sports has a huge range of commuting clothing available to cover all budgets and scenarios, helping you enjoy the ride to work more.