A guide to apparel for beginner cyclists

Chris Willemse Cycles cycling apparel guide

Whether you ride a mountain bike or a road bike, it’s essential that you own and wear the correct cycling apparel. If you think about it, every sport has its own specific clothing. Cycling is no different. Sometimes, the amount of apparel available to buy can seem overwhelming. Sometimes it could even seem unnecessary, especially for beginners. But as you become more experienced, you will see the benefit of specialised clothing. So, whatever your level of proficiency, here is an explanation of why exactly bike apparel is important and what types of clothing you’ll need.


Why is bike apparel important?


Yes, you can cycle without any specialised clothing. But there’s one very good reason why both women’s bicycle clothing and men’s bicycle clothing is better. And that’s comfort. You are going to be uncomfortable if you attempt to cycle for any significant distance while wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

Fit and movement

Cycling means that you’re hunched over your handlebars for many hours at a time. This means that your legs are bent in an odd position, that your shirt rides up in the back and that your hands are often the only exposed part of your body. You’ll need, and be grateful for, cycling jerseys that are longer in the back and have slightly longer sleeves, thermal gloves which keep your hands warm, and legwear that allows your legs to bend as you cycle.


Cycling is an intense form of exercise. Everyone who has even thought of participating in the Cape Town Cycle Tour knows this. You are going to sweat. Cycling clothing is made from fabric which moves sweat away from the body and causes it to evaporate. This is called wicking and you’ll be pleased you invested in buying specialised bicycle clothing online as you cycle along Chapman’s Peak.


Whether you’re sitting on your saddle for a quick hour-long ride or a gruelling seven hours, you’ll be grateful for the padding in your clothing. This is for two reasons. The first is shock absorption and the second is to provide an extra layer of soft fabric. The amount of padding you’ll need in your cycling shorts depends on the padding of your saddle and your personal preference.


What type of cycling apparel do you need?

From arm warmers to tri suits, the range of cycling apparel available is astounding. Of course, when you’re just starting out, you might not need quite as much. But when you start to take the sport seriously, you’ll find that piece by piece, you really do need it all. So, here are just some of the bicycle and cycling accessories you’ll need.


As mentioned, you’ll need a pair of cycling gloves which will keep your hands warm during those frosty morning cycles. Bike gloves are also useful in providing better grip on your handlebars and wiping the odd bead of sweat from your brow. They’ll also protect your hands in the event of a fall.


Head protection is, as you know, incredibly important for every cyclist. You know that you need a good quality bicycle helmet. Luckily, there is a large range of bike helmets available among the many types of bicycle accessories for sale. Among the many road helmets available for sale in South Africa, you’ll find options at all price points.

Bicycle clothing

While you don’t need the most stylish bicycle clothing, you’ll likely soon need an entirely fresh wardrobe to assist you with your new hobby. Specialised clothing is going to be especially important during those cold weather months and long rides due to the comfort it will provide.


The main feature to look out for when shopping for cycling shoes is their stiff sole. Because of this, you won’t have to use your energy flexing your foot over the pedals. This makes for a more comfortable ride as the pressure on the pedal is spread over the entire foot. The cycling shoes you’ll need depends on your bicycle’s pedals. This will impact your choice of shoes as the pedal may or may not require your shoes to have cleats.


There are many different types of cycling glasses for sale. A pair of quality biking glasses will not only ensure the sun, wind and rain are out of your eyes, it’ll also prevent all sorts of grime and dust from getting into your eyes. Imagine you’re cycling along at full tilt and an insect gets into your eye. That wouldn’t be pleasant, for you or the insect. Look for a pair that will adapt to different weather conditions.

Hydration pack

For every cyclist, there’s not much worse than getting into your cycle and realising you've forgotten your water bottle at home. With a hydropack, this won’t ever happen to you. There are a number of different hydration packs for sale to ensure you find the right one for you. These packs are lightweight and aerodynamic, meaning your water will never slow you down.

Body oils

Like all sports, cycling comes with a fair amount of wear and tear to your body. We stock a range of oils and creams to treat your various ailments. You’ll find chamois cream for cyclists which helps to prevent discomfort caused by the unfortunate yet inevitable chafing following long hours in the saddle. We also stock active wear cleanser so that you can hand wash your cycling clothing without causing any damage.

With Chris Willemse Cycles, you can buy your cycling apparel online or visit us in store to speak to one of our many helpful staff members. You’ll be able to purchase all of your cycling clothing essentials including all of the above and arm warmers, socks, sweatbands, travel bags and so much more.