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Summer Cycling Clothing Guide

Summer Cycling Clothing Guide

Failing to dress appropriately for a long outing on a scorching day may force you to end your ride early – a lesson I learnt the hard way. When I first started cycling, I’d head out without any sunscreen, wearing a standard jersey and short combination that weren’t breathable or comfortable, and almost never wore sunglasses. By failing to protect my skin from the heat and sun, I was regularly left with painful sunburn for days or even weeks after my ride.

These days, when cycling in summer, I protect myself in a so-called ‘bubble’ – which is to say, I try to distance myself as much as possible from the sun and the heat with the best summer cycling clothing and accessories. Granted, this is easier said than done when riding with little or no shade, however, there are steps you can take to maintain your ‘bubble’ regardless of the natural covering.

Man wearing Sportful summer cycling clothing

Firstly, I try to cover as much of my skin as possible with lightweight, breathable and UV-resistant clothing like shorts that come down to my knees, a cycling jersey with sleeves that drop to the elbows and a pair of sunglasses to shield my eyes. Secondly, I wear a high-quality summer baselayer to wick sweat away from my skin and keep cool. Lastly, I use plenty of sunscreen on exposed areas of skin such as my forearms, neck, face and legs. With these broad principles in mind, in this journal article, we’ll take a closer look at some essential items of summer cycling kit and how each piece can revolutionize your ride.

Summer Cycling Clothing Guide: Jerseys 

Ideally, the best summer cycling jersey will be made of lightweight material and come with a full-length zip for effective temperature regulation. If you’re prone to sunburn, then a jersey with a longer sleeve that stops at the elbow is essential. A great summer cycling jersey is the Sportful Bodyfit Pro Light jersey that is constructed with a breathable mesh material to keep you cool, even during the warmest conditions.

Another equally suitable option is the Santini Redux jersey which offers a similar amount of breathability and comes in various designs for the style-conscience cyclist. As an important bonus, the Santini Redux jersey is available for both men and women, so everyone can ride in incredible comfort.

Summer Cycling Clothing Guide: Bib Shorts

On any ride over a couple of hours, we’d rather have the support and comfort of a ‘normal’ pair of bib shorts rather than a pair developed specifically for the heat, mainly as the use of super-lightweight fabrics can result in a loss of comfort and support. Both the Santini Mago and Sportful Total Comfort shorts offer incredible breathability, making them an excellent choice for the height of summer. Constructed with durable bib straps and a soft chamois pad, they’ll both provide lasting support even during the longest days in the saddle.

If you are heading out for a short ride in the highest temperatures, then a pair of lightweight bib shorts could be the best option. The Ale PRS Master Bib short, for example, which is constructed with a perforated pad and ultra-thin fabrics, could be a perfect choice.

Summer Cycling Clothing Guide: Socks

Summer cycling socks should be lightweight, breathable and, most importantly, very comfortable. Thankfully, we stock a wide variety of summer cycling socks that are constructed with the best fabrics to keep your feet comfortable throughout even the longest, warmest rides. Below are a few of our favourite summer cycling socks.

Summer Cycling Clothing Guide: Base Layers

While it may seem counterintuitive to wear more layers to stay cool when riding in summer, believe it or not, a lightweight base layer can make an exceptional difference when trying to keep cool and comfortable in the stifling heat. By wicking sweat away from the skin, a summer base layer will keep you dry and fresh on even the hottest days.

The Sportful Pro Sleeveless Baselayer comes with a ribbed fabric for moisture management and promises to keep the skin clean and dry. Being a sleeveless base layer, it’s ideal for the hottest days. If you need something for slightly more mild temperatures, like late spring or the end of summer, then a Sportful Bodyfit Pro baselayer might be a better option.

Summer Cycling Clothing Guide: Caps

A quality cycling cap can help prevent sweat from running down your face and into your eyes on the warmest days, so can be a valuable accessory in helping to maintain unimpaired vision throughout your ride. Additionally, cycling caps also protect your eyes and head against the sun and UV rays. Below are a few of our favourite cycling caps, which are all constructed with a cotton/polyester blend to maximise comfort out on the road.

Summer Cycling Clothing Guide: Sunglasses

A great pair of cycling glasses perform two primary functions. Firstly, they protect your eyes from the sun and harmful UV rays, allowing you to see clearly out on the road. Secondly, cycling glasses shield against road debris flicking into your eyes, which can be extremely dangerous when motoring along. Scicon sunglasses are the current eyewear choice for Tadej Pogacar and offer incredible colour, contrast and protection.

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Thomas Flynn

Thomas Flynn

Writer and expert

With almost a decade of riding under his belt, Tom has dabbled in almost every major cycling discipline. These days, he's usually found aboard his fixed-gear gravel bike tackling the best trails and towpaths around Manchester and the Peak District.