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Becoming a mountain biker, or a roadie is easy. You buy a bike, put on a pair of old takkies, a helmet and off you go? Wrong. Unless you want to look completely out of place, like someone playing golf in their slip slops and baggies, best you ditch your ideas and listen to the cycling fashion gurus.

Managing Director, Carey Mol of Commander HQ, an online sports and lifestyle clothing store, says that while there are many essential items cyclists can’t live without, like a well-padded pair of cycling shorts, a good pair of shoes or gloves, the beauty in having so many sophisticated and stylish brands to choose from cyclists can still be fashionable and functional at the same time. So if you want to look the part of a pro-cyclist listen up.

UNDERWEAR

Say goodbye to underwear. Besides it being uncool to display your underwear lines, it causes chafe between your legs that is both uncomfortable and can mean the end of your race if you’re planning to cycle longer distances or even 2 or 3 day rides.   

HELMET

Always wear a helmet. You might think it looks dorky on you, but wearing it could mean the difference between life and death if you had to fall and hit your head. Helmet designers are regularly reinventing styles and bringing in new designs and colours, so you will find a helmet that suits your style. If in doubt go with a matt black helmet with minimal patterns and colour.  

CYCLING SHORTS

To save yourself the embarrassment, avoid transparent cycling shorts. For various reasons including colour and fabric type, some actually are transparent and it’ll be the guys cycling behind you that will have the last laugh. Make sure you do the squat test in the mirror before heading out. If you can see your bum cheeks, so can everyone else. It’s also a good way to tell if it’s time for a new pair.

Avoid wearing baggies unless you have a pair of cycling shorts on under it. It’ll ruin your cycling experience. Opt for a pair of well-padded cycling shorts or bib shorts. It’s a personal thing but cycling bib shorts are far more popular amongst riders than regular cycling shorts. New riders tend to buy regular cycling shorts since the leotard look of bibs can be a little intimidating, but before long most are converted.

CYCLING JERSEYS AND TOPS

Fabric is everything. Avoid cotton and down. It may be freezing at the beginning of your ride and it may look good, but you’ll warm up very quickly and you’ll be wishing you left your down jacket at home. Cotton and down absorbs sweat like a sponge and once its wet, it will stay wet, risking rubbing, chafing, and leave you freezing at rest stops. It’s also very heavy when it’s wet. Opt for breathable layers of clothing. Synthetic fabric or wool is your best bet for quick drying, comfort and style. With lots of colours and designs to choose from you can find your own unique style.

SHOES

If you are new to cycling and haven’t yet got the hang of clip-on pedals, regular running shoes are fine, just make sure your laces are tied well. However, if you want to look like a pro, and plan to ride longer distances, invest in a specialised bike shoe that can fit clip-on pedals. There are many bike shoes brands on the market with various colours and styles to choose from, but keep in mind that your shoes will be dirty often so opt for darker colours.

Mountain biking isn’t all about cycling, it’s also about hiking. At times you will need to carry your bike and then your bike shoes need to be comfortable to walk in. Go for durable, well-ventilated clip-on compatible shoes with good hiking traction and soles that are moderately stiff but still flex sufficiently to allow for comfortable walking.

SUNGLASSES

You know you look great in your pair of Ray Ban Aviators, so do your friends. But unless you want to crash into the pavement because they’ve fogged up or keep slipping off your sweaty face, choose glasses designed for this sport and save the Top Gun look for the beach.

POST-CYCLE ATTIRE 

You may think it’s stylish to wear your sweaty kit to your local for a cuppa, but sweet smelling patrons who have recently showered might not share your sentiment. It may a good idea to bring along a change of clothing before celebrating your ride.

While we all strive to look the part, looking good while cycling isn’t as important as feeling good in what you are wearing. What you wear is just as important as the bicycle you ride. If in doubt you can’t go wrong with top cycling brands like Craft, Assos, Endura or Specialized.

CommanderHQ is a members-only online store offering up to 50% off on top international brands, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Shop brands such as Canterbury for rugby,  Columbia for the outdoors, Speedo for swimming, and Craft for cycling. Don't miss out on these deals.
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