What we recommend for the ride
- Helmet—Helmets are an essential part of your cycling gear. They offer crucial protection to keep you safe from head injuries. They dissipate the peak energy of an impact and help your head decelerate slowly. Like the crumple zone of a car, the foam in a helmet crushes to absorb energy. And just like the crumple zone on a car, a helmet gets destroyed in the process of protecting you and must be replaced after a major impact.
Fit it. Buy the right size, and adjust it properly.
Wear it. It’s not a magic talisman that will protect you when hanging from your handlebars.
Replace it. After about six years or after any major hit.
Whether they be destined for kids or lightweight racing, all helmets are subject to the same certification standards. Before you purchase or use any helmet, ensure it has a certification sticker from the CSA, EN, ASTM, CPSC or Snell B90/B95.
Everyone must wear a helmet to ride in the event.
Cycling clothing does not differ radically from other outdoor clothing. The concept of layering cycling clothing to wick sweat, insulate, and protect you from the elements still applies. Wearing layers also makes it easy to remove and add items to regulate your temperature while cycling. Technical synthetic fibers – lightweight polyesters, nylons, and stretch fabrics – move with you and dry quickly.
- Shorts and Tights—These reduce the chafing that can occur from the continuous leg motion of cycling. Specially designed shorts and tights have a sewn-in padding called a chamois (commonly referred to as a “shammy”) that covers inside seams and protects vulnerable body parts.
- Jersey—Cycling jerseys with three rear pockets are handy for carrying snacks, your wallet and other items. Summer jerseys are usually made from moisture wicking materials that draw sweat away from the skin, keeping you drier and more comfortable. While it may be convenient to simply pull on a T-shirt for a short ride, sweat (or a rain shower) makes cotton heavy and clammy on extended summer rides.
- Jacket—They come in two main categories: lightweight windshells and waterproof-breathable jackets. For short distances or light rainfall, lightweight, windproof, and highly breathable jackets are a good choice. These are usually made of a polyester microfibre that has a DWR (durable water repellency) treatment, providing excellent water resistance. Light and compressible, they stow easily in a jersey pocket, or even their own pocket. For longer distances or heavier rainfall, a waterproof-breathable garment is best. While these jackets are more expensive, less breathable, and a little bulkier, they offer complete protection from the elements. Extra ventilation zippers help you stay cool. Note: Since cycling garb is exposed to a lot of grit and grime, wash and tumble-dry your jacket regularly to maintain its performance.
- Gloves—Bike gloves have padded palms to absorb road vibrations when riding and to prevent road rash in the event of a crash. Short-finger cycling gloves absorb perspiration for a safer grip, protect against raw spots and blisters. Most have a terry back that gives you a way to wipe sweat from your eyes or energy drink from your chin.
- Shoes and socks—Dedicated cycling shoes, either for road riding or mountain biking, are the best choice. The reason? Very firm soles that let you press as hard as you want without feeling uncomfortable pedal pressure. You can use mountain bike style shoes with or without toes clips and straps, or with clipless pedal systems. Plenty of casual riders simply wear running shoes, but their softness makes them less suitable for longer distances. Socks are important for comfort and sweat absorption. Choose the low-cut style if you’re worried about a funny tan line.
- Eyewear—Though this isn’t an essential piece of riding gear, it will make your experience more enjoyable by offering some protection and clearer vision during your ride. Sunglasses or clear lens glasses will protect your eyes from foreign objects (bugs and road debris) at faster speeds. In sunny conditions, sunglasses will provide protection from UV and glare, giving you better visibility of the road ahead.