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With summer on the way, the long, sunny days means lots of opportunities for rambling, hot bike rides. Here’s some cycling gear that will make those big touring rides even more enjoyable.
Ride a long way and you’ll appreciate a proper cycling jersey, with rear zip pocket storage for snacks and maps, a full-length zipper to cool off in a breeze or lock it out, and excellent breathability. On a long ride there’s a good chance that many people will see you, so look the part and hit the hipsters for six by choosing the 2XU Retro Sublimated Cycle Jersey. A streamline fit and funky Italian sublimation print and colour reproduction make you look like you belong on Le Mont Ventoux, while a combination of three High Fil fabrics help you keep cool and dry so you can perform better for longer.
You can avoid cycling shorts, but there comes a time – or rather, a distance – where these babies come into their own. A slick look is not enough – for hours of continuous wear, consider the 2XU Compression Cycle Short to get the full benefit of fatigue reduction that comes from decreasing the muscle vibration. A wide waistband with concealed power mesh makes ensures the shorts won’t slip off the hips even after hours of riding. The FUSION PRO 2 Chamois will keep you comfortable where it counts over the long rides, while the highly durable fabric also provides UPF 50+ sun protection.
Pardon us while we get down inside your pants for a moment. Once people wear cycling pants, there are two things they tend to regret. The first is cotton underwear. There’s little point wearing tight cycling shorts that breathe beautifully if you have wet, sweat-laden cotton undies bunching up underneath them. The second regret is not wearing underwear at all. Going into the second or third hour of a ride, you could well miss having that extra layer – ’nuff said. The solution is light weight underwear made from a highly breathable fabric, such as the 2XU Performance Sports Trunk. With more coverage than the Brief yet shorter than the Boxer, the Sports Trunk is perfect under cycling shorts, with low profile seams for minimal chafing and an antimicrobial finish to reduce unwanted bacteria.
Your choice of shoes and pedals will largely be determined by how leisurely your ride is and whether you want the flexibility to jump off the bike to see the sights whenever the urge hits. A toe cage can be a good compromise. If you’re doing some more leisurely, long rides mixed with normal training, then it’s worth considering a pedal like the Shimano PD-T780. This pedal type allows mixed use, as it has a click binding for SPD shoes on one side and a profiled platform on the other for use with either cleats or normal shoes.
For long rides in summer, you can avoid some pain by using a larger size shoe than you’d normally wear so that your feet have a little room to swell. Be wary of anything with Velcro-only fastenings – they can slip over the course of the day. Think about the type of terrain and surface your rides may take you to. If you expect to find yourself pushing your bike up gravelly dirt, you may want to consider a more traditional mountain bike shoe. If you go with normal shoes, pick a flat, stiff shoe, but avoid anything in a boot style. Often, one shoe can’t do it all – for some rides, the best option might be to carry a light weight pair of second shoes.
Over a certain time, you can get away with any old sock – but hours into a long ride, you’ll be thankful for choosing a more technologically engineered option such as the 2XU Low Rise Performance Sock. This gives you great moisture control and antibacterial protection, plus a reinforced toe cage and a low-rise cut to allow sweat on the legs to wick away in the wind (and so peeps can admire your bulging calves!).
Cushioning, airflow panelling and a linked toe panel will all be appreciated once your feet start to swell, too.
Deuter is a brand making some great backpacks for cycling. Sleek with racy designs, these cycling bags are also incredibly practical. The Race EXP Air is a favourite for all-day excursions, as it has a 12-litre pack with room for an additional 3-litre hydration system (get one – water bottles just won’t cut it in long summer rides). A chest strap and mesh hip wings ensure the bag won’t jostle about, but even with the bag fitted snug to your body, the AircomfortFlexLite back system ensures plenty of air circulation. There’s a detachable rain cover if you’re caught in the wet and reflectors at the front, sides and back if you’re still going in the dark. Mesh side pockets are easy to get to while riding, and when you make a stop there’s a fold-away helmet flap and front pocket with zipped valuables pocket.
Early morning starts or a brisk wind on a sweaty body can quickly take the heat out of a summer ride, but the 2XU Elite Vapor Mesh Cycle Vest will provide all the protection and warmth you need. First up, by choosing a product with a full length zip, you can put it on more safely while still riding. This vest is also a great choice for summer because its combination of four unique fabrics enables optimal air flow and impressive moisture management, yet it still provides protection from the wind. It’s light weight, but the 3D THERMAL fabric delivers heat regulation, and the reflective trims ensure that you’ll be easily seen from any angle. The material of the vest also contains silicone so that the vest is water-resistant.
After hours of cycling on a hot day, the last thing you’ll want to do is enclose your feet in a pair of compression socks! Fortunately, 2XU provides the option of Compression Calf Sleeves so you can help your calves recover by improving circulation and reducing muscle damage. You can also wear them on the bike to help cut muscle vibration, which in turn can lessen muscle fatigue and cramping. 2XU calf sleeves use PWX POWER fabric to create a great muscle containment device that is breathable and moisture wicking.