If you’re one of the many people who are newly discovering, or even re-discovering, cycling then here’s a simple guide to help you get going.
The amount of kit and choice available can be a bit intimidating but all you really need is a bicycle and a positive attitude – anything else is a bonus (although we do think a helmet is a bit of a given, we are an insurance company after all).
Padded Cycling Shorts
The first thing you’re going to notice, once you start riding further and more often, is some soreness as your bum gets used to it. So a pair of padded shorts should be near the top of anyone’s list. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from fitted lycra to baggy outer shorts with a lining or full ‘bib’ shorts most associated with road cycling. They all have a soft and spongy pad inside which is traditionally called a chamois. The amount of padding varies and obviously you can choose what you feel most comfortable with. They’re designed to be worn without underwear as that can contribute to chafing and the pad absorbs sweat away from the body (and if you become a truly obsessed cyclist just think of the weight you save by going commando).
Speaking of comfort, a pair of cycling-specific gloves are well worth considering. You don’t need to be doing anything aggressive (like attacking an alpine mountain stage) to benefit from the extra comfort and grip they provide. You’ll find they come in many weights for summer or winter use and can include things like gel pads on the palms, for those who find the pressure on their hands can make them sore.