Cycling Shirts – 4 Great Reasons to Wear One Out on the Road

Most cyclists do not bother wearing performance cycling shirts, preferring to opt for an ordinary t-shirt or a hoodie. There are four great reasons to switch to wearing a cycling jersey instead. They can help keep you dry during high exertion, but they could even help save your life one day.


On the roads, as a cyclist or biker, you are at a distinct disadvantage. First of all, the two-wheeled construction of your vehicle makes you look narrower, especially head on, and it is all too common for drivers of other vehicles to pull out of side streets without having noticed an oncoming bike. This leads to the other important disadvantage. In a collision, it is almost always the cyclist or biker that comes out of the encounter worst. Head, neck and spinal injuries are some of the usual outcomes for riders involved in traffic accidents with cars or trucks.

Whereas riders of motorcycles usually protect themselves with helmets and padded leathers, the people who ride bicycles are often not well protected at all. More and more cyclists are wearing helmets, but this is a more recent development, and heavy leathers would not be practical.

The best method of defense for cyclists is to be clearly seen by other road users; to wear high-visibility clothing and this is where cycling shirts come in. Most cyclists would not dream of riding around town in a cycling shirt because many of them are very highly colored, or Day-Glo, or just plain garish! But these are precisely the reasons why you should wear them; so that you cannot be ignored by a truck driver waiting to pull out at a junction. So find the most colorful and easily seen jersey you can buy, and be safe.

Cycling Shirt Design

Cycling jerseys are designed differently to normal t-shirts. This doesn’t matter so much if you are on a mountain bike and sit up straight on the saddle. If you ride a racing bike though, you will be leaning over towards the handlebars. Ordinary t-shirts tend to ride up the back of the rider on a racing bike. Cycle shirts are made with the back longer than the front, so that even when leaning to ride fast, it will not slide up and expose your lower back. This is fairly uncomfortable for the rider and perhaps unpleasant for anyone behind.

The other great thing about cycling shirts is the extra long zipper at the front, especially if you are cycling in a race, or just riding in very hot weather. With a normal t-shirt, your options are limited, but with a proper jersey you can adjust the zipper to cool yourself down.

Hi-Tech Fabrics

Perhaps the best part about wearing a quality cycling jersey is that most are made from hi-tech fabrics which wick moisture away from your body on challenging rides, and so you are left comfortable and dry, rather than soggy and wishing you had brought another couple of tops with you.

Pockets on the Rear

Cycling shirts generally have pockets on the rear. This is an advantage for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is less likely that things will fall out of them – some shirts even have zipped pockets. Secondly, and an important point if you are racing, heavy items in your pockets do not stretch down and interfere with your riding.

So to summarise my four great reasons for road riding with a proper cycling shirt: bright colors mean you’ll be seen and be safe; more length in the back of the shirt is more comfortable and protects you from getting a chill; moisture wicking hi-tech fabrics keep you dry and help you control body temperature; and rear pockets stop items bouncing off your knees, and breaking your rhythm, when riding.