Riding A Bicycle To Work Supports Weight Loss And Dress For Comfort With Cycling Specific Clothes

Riding a bicycle to work or using it for other commuting errands is a great way to support a healthy weight loss program, lower stress and save money on auto expenses. Triple-A now puts the cost of operating a vehicle at over $8000 a year so every day you ride your bike to work you could be saving $20 or more!

I love riding bikes and often recommend using a bicycle as part of wellness and weight loss coaching for my clients.

Once you have your bike set up (that article is available here as well) it’s time to set yourself up. Always ride with a helmet. Helmets can cost between $40 and $250. All have to pass the same safety standard and offer the same level of protection. The difference in price is the weight and ventilation. Higher quality materials found on the more expensive helmets allow the manufacturer to use less material so the vents are larger, making the helmet more comfortable in warmer weather.

Glasses are recommended to protect from foreign objects as well as keeping your eyes from drying. Glasses designed for cycling tend to wrap around your face for more protection and many come with interchangeable lenses for different light conditions.

There is nothing wrong with riding to work only on very nice days. If you want to be a serious commuter you will dress for the bike and change at work. Own a pair of quality cycling shorts or cycling pants. These have a pad that increases comfort and wicks perspiration and come in styles that are both close-fitting and lose fitting. Most cycling-specific clothes are made from materials designed to wick perspiration away from the body. A cycling “jersey” is handy because it has pockets in the back for small items but other styles are also available.

One challenge to commuting on your bicycle may be weather that is very cool one way on your commute but more temperate the other way. Layer for cold weather. A common mistake made by novice cyclists is over dressing. Layering makes it possible to peel some clothes off and adjust as you warm up or the conditions change. Own a set of Gore-Tex outer clothing. Gore-Tex protects from wind and cold and even precipitation while still breathing and allowing perspiration and body heat to escape. Cycling has some very specialized garment options that make your riding more comfortable. Two favorite accessories of mine are arm warmers and a vest.

Arm warmers are basically tubes, like open-ended socks, that slide over your arms from wrist to shoulder. They are made from fabrics that trap heat while wicking perspiration and are perfect for time when you start a ride and it’s cool but warms up. You can peel the arm warmers off and stuff them in your bag similar item called either knee warmers or leg warmers are available for your legs.

Another specialty item is a vest. Cycling vests stop the wind in front but are well vented in the back. When you ride in cooler weather your front gets hammered by wind chill but your back side, from head to toe, is not affected. Traditional jackets or vests will cause over heating and profuse sweating whereas the specialty cycling items will allow your body to regulate its temperature. When you warm up the vest will roll up the size of a baseball and tuck into your jersey or bag.

Gloves are a nice accessory and you’ll appreciate them if you ever fall. We all put our hands out in the event of a fall and gloves will protect your hands from injury.

For most people they will be riding in the early morning and late afternoon and exposure to the sun is not a major concern. You should always use a quality sunscreen while riding a bike and even if you will be riding in lower light conditions using a quality skin product will help protect your skin from the effects of exposure.

Another specialty item that can increase the comfort and pleasure of cycling is a cycling specific shoe. There are many “pedal systems” to choose from but there is nothing wrong with the pedals that come on your bike. Cycling specific shoes have stiffer soles so that when you pedal it spreads the pressure evenly over the ball of your foot. A good cross-training shoe may also work but then generally have thicker, wider soles. The cycling shoes also allow for the use of “cleats” which you may or may not use.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your clothing. With some practice you’ll know what to wear for the conditions.