Leaflets on cycling: What to wear?

If you want to make a fashion statement, there’s lots of specialist clothing available. But everyday clothes are just as good for trips round town and village, with a few exceptions.

Watch the weather forecast. It is surprising, though, how seldom you get wet even when rain is forecast and Cambridgeshire is one of the driest places in the country.

Light showers will hardly affect you. And because you are exercising gently, you’ll find you need to wear less than you might think, even on cold days. Unless it is really pouring with rain, you may end up wetter by putting waterproofs on than not – a light jacket is best in light rain. In the cold, you’ll definitely need gloves and a hat and your toes may need extra protection.

You’ll probably want to wear older shoes to cycle in: they take quite a beating. Cheap trainers are ideal. You might want to consider leaving a towel, brush and change of clothes and shoes at work if you have to dress smartly.

Longer skirts can easily get caught in the rear brakes. Apart from the obvious danger, it is an easy way to ruin a dress. Consider fitting a skirt guard to the rear wheel – semicircles of plastic which keep clothes away from the moving parts. Avoid wearing long scarves.

You may well choose to wear a helmet. If you do, it is essential to make sure it fits properly, meets standards, won’t come off when straps are done up, and remains undamaged. Always try before you buy – fit and comfort are very important. A good bike shop will spend time and trouble for you to get this right. Remember also that a helmet is protection of last resort and it is no substitute for avoiding situations where it might be needed.

Material dated: July 1997