What are the benefits of cycling clothing?

There are many benefits that occur from the use of wearing cycling clothing on a long bike ride, from lycra to hi-vis each component will add towards your journey and ensure it is enhanced to the max.

Here are a few reasons why you may want to indulge in our luxurious range of cycling wear.


Your regular street clothes are fine when you’re not going far or fast and the weather’s good, but for longer rides or when the weather turns nasty, you’ll be a lot more comfortable in cycling clothing. The use of our cycling bottom wear provides an extra layer of shock absorption is one of the first benefits. Modern shorts pads have at least one layer of foam inside them, often more or different thickness and density. The idea is to help reduce the road shock that gets through to your bum, working in tandem with the padding in your saddle. The further use of our jerseys and tops adds additional comfort with their breathable and quick-drying design really adds to a satisfactory ride.


Cycling gear moves with you as you ride. That’s especially important for legwear because your legs are the part of you that moves most. That’s why cycling shorts are made from Lycra fabric because it has enough built-in stretch that it doesn’t bunch up and chafe. Similarly, cycling tights.


The cycling clothing we offer can make you go faster by ensuring you don’t waste energy as you ride. The most important difference is that our cycling clothing is more aerodynamic than your regular gear because it fits closely with no spare fabric flapping in the breeze. It can also help in other areas such as our range of cycling shoes which have stiff soles, so your energy isn’t wasted flexing rubber over your pedals. That also makes for comfier feet because the pressure on the pedal is spread over your whole foot.


Wearing a fluorescent cycling jersey allows an attentive, alert driver to see the cyclist earlier and further down the road. The driver then has more time to plan his path around the rider safely, without inconveniencing himself.

What are the different types of clothing?

Base layers and thermals

The key function of base layers and thermals is to keep you at a comfortable temperature while you’re pedalling along. You’ll want these layers to be close-fitting but not excessively tight, and the type of material they’re made from will determine whether they’re right for your needs. A light, breathable base layer material such as polypropylene will help your sweat evaporate and keep your skin cool - perfect for hotter conditions. Conversely, a more insulated base layer will help you maintain your body heat while cycling in the cold winter months.

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Cycling shorts

There are two key features to look out for when it comes to cycling shorts. First, you'll need flexibility; after all, your legs do most of the work on any bike ride.

Cycling shorts need to be able to move with your body and not restrict movement. The best option is usually a stretchy elastane fabric, and ensuring your shorts have plenty of panels to help fit them to your legs properly. 

Padding is the other key feature. As your body weight usually rests on a few points on the saddle, soreness and stiffness can occur in sensitive areas, especially if you ride for extended periods of time. To combat this, many of our cycling shorts come with built-in padding or a chamois, which helps to cushion some of the pressure from the saddle.

You'll certainly be thankful for extra padding if you're just getting into cycling, as you won't be used to sitting in an awkward position! If you're planning on longer road rides, then a pair of bib shorts may be the best option.

Bibs offer straps that sit on the shoulders to prevent them from falling, and a specially designed thinner waistband to prevent them from digging into your stomach. Once you've tried bib shorts, you'll never look back! If you don't want a snug fit, then try out baggy shorts that are ideal for leisure riding, mountain biking and commuting. They'll still offer plenty of flexibility, with the added bonus of padding.

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Cycling jerseys 

Choosing a good cycling jersey will make life a lot easier, even on short rides. As well as conforming to your body shape as you either hunch over the handlebars or ride upright as you climb hills, cycling jerseys do a few important jobs.

If you're working hard in the saddle, then it's likely you'll start to sweat. A decent cycling jersey will draw this sweat away from your body, keeping you both dry and comfortable and helping to regulate your temperature.

They'll also do the opposite if it's cold, acting as another insulation layer to help you retain heat. Our favourite cycling jersey features however are the pockets you'll find on the lower back of the jersey. These are very handy on long rides and allow you to store your keys, phone, energy gels, multi-tool, or spare tyres on your back and out of the way.

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Jackets and gilets

If you're riding in winter, then a long-sleeved jersey is a great way of conserving heat and keeping the wind off your arms. Ask any rider what the key to staying warm or cool is and they'll tell you it's all about the layers.

Try mixing up a jersey and jacket or even adding a base layer underneath your jersey for additional heat conservation. Other features to look out for are dipped hems, to stop any unwanted drafts, and neon colours to help you be seen out on the roads.

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High visibility clothes

One key piece of clothing that all cyclists need in their wardrobe is a high-visibility jacket or gilet. Cycling on roads at night or during bad weather can get dangerous, so giving other drivers the best possible chance of seeing you is critical. High visibility and reflective clothing use special materials that reflect light from street lamps and car headlights, making other road or path users aware of you.

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Cycling gloves

Just like pretty much every piece of cycling clothing, gloves do several important jobs that will not only keep you comfortable, but safe too. Spending a lot of time supporting your upper body on the handlebars can result in sore palms, so some gel padding to support the main pressure points will allow you to ride for longer, as well as make it easier to get back on your bike a few days later without too much soreness.

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Cycling socks

Whether you're a road rider putting in effort on a hot day or a mountain bike rider battling against the elements, a good pair of socks will go a long way to keeping you comfortable. If sweat and heat are problems, then a decent pair of cycling socks will wick sweat away, keeping your feet nice and cool. If you're on the other end of the temperature spectrum, then look for a pair of thicker cycling socks that will keep your feet warmer for longer.

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Cycling shoes

While we're on the subject of feet, cycling shoes are super important. Although it's totally possible to ride a bike in trainers if you're commuting a short distance, we'd always recommend cycling shoes with cleats for longer journeys. These specially designed shoes allow for a cleat (or clip) on the sole that clips into specially designed pedals (which you'll need to fit to your bike). This means you can not only push the pedals but also pull, increasing efficiency and allowing you to cycle further by using more muscles in your leg. The other benefit to cleats is that your feet won't slip off the pedals, ideal if it's a particularly wet ride or the mud is flying up!

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Cycling active wear

Although it's tempting to get covered in elastane fabrics and splash out on a flashy pair of cycling shoes, it's important to remember that you don't necessarily need to dress like a cyclist 24-7. We also stock a great range of relaxed and casualwear like chinos, loose shorts, t-shirts, and rain jackets that can be worn on a daily basis and not just when you're on your bike!


A pair of clear glasses will keep wind and bugs out of your eyes, so they're a must-have if you're planning on flying down hills or winding up the pace on the flat. If you're riding in summer or in bright conditions, then consider a pair of cycling sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.

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As we all know, a helmet is a must! And, here at Halfords, we have a wide selection of helmets for every type of rider. Whether it’s something aero for roadies, a stylish number for your daily commute, or a trail-ready mountain bike helmet, you’ll find the perfect option to help keep you safe out on a ride.

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MIPS technology 

MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) is at the forefront of safety technology. By adding an extra low-friction layer into a helmet’s shell, MIPS helps to reduce the rotational forces exerted on the head during an accident. Going above and beyond current European safety standards, helmets with MIPS technology are a worthwhile investment.

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Smart helmets

Even if you've already got a helmet, we always recommend upgrading to a smart helmet. The Livall BH60 SE is a clever bit of kit for cyclists of all abilities, featuring rear-facing LEDs that give riders a better chance of being seen. The helmet comes with a handlebar-mounted indicator so you can show drivers if you're about to turn and there are even built-in Bluetooth speakers so you can take calls hands-free - impressive stuff!

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Important cycle clothing properties

Now that you know what the common pieces of cycling clothing are, let’s look at the key features shared by some of these kits and why it makes a difference to your cycling experience.


Staying dry is key to a comfortable ride. Waterproof clothing means that all the seams will have a special tape stuck to them to stop water from getting in, and all the fabric will have a water replant coating applied. You can see just how good a waterproof jacket is by looking out for the 'Hydrostatic Head', which is a measurement given to how much water it takes to get through - the higher, the better!


Cycling in winter can be tough enough if there's already a wind-chill factor when you're stationary, so imagine cycling into an icy breeze at 15-20mph. As with waterproofing, windproofing involves applying a special coating or layer to the fabric to keep the breeze out.


This is when a fabric is designed to be especially breathable, allowing sweat and moisture to be drawn away from the body, ensuring you stay warm. These fabrics are clever enough to be able to keep heat in when required too, ensuring that you will stay comfortable regardless of the conditions.

The best cycling clothing brands


Ridge provides a wide range of cycling jerseys, activewear, jackets and much more. Offering good value for money as well as a great selection of materials and colours, Ridge clothing is great for casual cyclists and beginners who want to start exploring the world of cycling.


Altura clothing is a good step up for cyclists who are starting to look for ways of improving performance and increasing the amount of time they can spend on their bike. You'll get features like water and windproof materials, added reflectivity, improved gel padding on shorts and clothing designs that make cycling comfortable - perfect for intermediate to advanced cyclists.


If you're looking for performance clothing to match your high-spec bike, the Boardman is a great choice. Featuring outstanding breathability, high quality materials, and specially-designed panelling that help to improve your performance. Boardman cycle clothing is ideal for intermediate cyclists. Remember that if you aren't sure what size you'll need or which cycle clothes are best particular ride, just visit your local Halfords store and one of our bike experts will be more than happy to help! From tips and tricks for staying warm to choosing the right outfit for the weather, we'll be able to give you plenty of advice - and don't forget to bring your bike in for a free safety check too!

Cycling clothing FAQ’s

Just in case we haven’t quite answered your question just yet, here are some answers to common bike clothing questions.

Reflective clothing for cycling – is it essential?

Absolutely. Whether you’re cycling in the evenings or in dull, dark weather, wearing reflective clothing increases your chances of staying safe on the roads, so it’s definitely worth grabbing yourself some reflective gear. If you can be, say, 20% less likely to be seen by a driver at night, why wouldn’t you take that opportunity?

Are there options for casual cycling clothing?

If you’re looking at the range of cycling clothing out there and thinking some of it looks a little specialist for your needs, then you might want to consider browsing for more casual cycling clothing. Our range includes this, and casual cycling clothing generally looks baggier and looser fitting when compared with more professional/enthusiast items. Be sure to check that the clothing you’re buying is still cycle-specific, insofar as it holds the important properties we’ve listed above, but with casual cycling clothing, you’re likely to look more discreet while you’re on your bike.

Are there any other types of cycling clothing to be aware of?

Aside from searching for clothing by item (jackets, shorts, etc), you could also search based on the type of cycling you’re doing. For example, mountain bike clothing is often specialised to fit off-road needs, while winter cycling clothing could help you stay warm on icy roads.

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