With the ongoing global situation, more cyclists than ever are riding indoors to maintain physical and mental wellbeing. You don't need to spend mega-bucks to be comfortable when cycling indoors - join Andy as he discusses what is the best cycle clothing for indoor training.
I'll be honest - I started writing this blog a few months back - but then moth-balled it on the basis that Spring was coming and nobody would want to spend more time on their indoor trainers than was absolutely necessary - especially with the prospect of better weather on the horizon.
That was then - this is now.
Whilst recreational cycling has already been banned in Italy, Spain, France, and other counties outside of Europe, a limited amount of cycling for health is still allowed in the UK.
The current UK government lockdown guidelines (23rd March 2020) permit you to exercise outside once a day, and cycling is permitted, so long as you cycle solo or with members of your household. We enjoyed this hand-made sign that Emily Wadsworth created to ensure others know she's on the right side of those guidelines.
However, given the challenges posed by the current global COVID-19 situation, many of you have chosen to curtail your outdoor riding, just in case of an accident that would place an additional burden on the already stretched NHS.
I can certainly understand that view and I too have adapted my own personal commute routes to favour use cycle paths / shared paths / etc in order that my interaction with motorized vehicles is now at an absolute minimum. This is despite there being a big reduction of traffic volumes on our local roads.
The economic effects of COVID-19 have had an understandable largely negative impact of many people's lives, however, I was not surprised to see the cycling press reporting a surge in people buying indoor trainers, particularly smart trainers, allowing riders to keep up their present levels of fitness using apps like Zwift.
Much as I think a smart trainer could be a useful tool, now and in the future, I personally can't justify dropping that much money on one right now. So for the time being, I'll be using either a trusty (and rusty) set of with Tacx rollers or my Lemond Revolution (pictured above).
Whilst Zwift continues to spend mega-bucks are their advertising with Geraint Thomas featuring last year and Mathieu van der Poel this year in what seems like a never-ending series of ads, there are plenty of alternatives out there, some of which have free or reduced pricing to entice new customers to sign up.
Whilst the benefits of indoor training, or turbo training for us old school types, are undeniable if done correctly, there are also pitfalls to be avoided.
Indoor training is an environment in which it can be only too easy to overtrain. It would be virtually impossible to overtrain by going out on the road for 30 minutes every day.
Yet 30 minutes on the turbo aiming for an over-ambitious power output or heart rate for a couple of weeks can be enough to dent somebody enthusiasm, and given the danger we all face, I'd suggest battering your immune system by overtraining is not the best of ideas either.
More is not always better...
There are also a plethora of other things you can do to pass the time and still be within the guidelines. This past weekend I fitted some new Cinelli handlebar tape to my gravel bike, not a lengthy job, but one that I've been meaning to do for some time.
If you are feeling like you need some mental stimulation - check out the following list of recommended free sources of inspiration, studying and knowledge:
I've really enjoyed joining the kids and taking part in Joe Wick's daily #PEwithJoe workouts that have been live-streamed across the globe via his YouTube Channel. It's only 30 mins of your day, and if it's good enough for Mark Cavendish, it's good enough for me.
Back to the original premise for the blog...
In recent months, numerous clothing brands have created indoor-specific cycling clothing ranges to appeal to Zwifters, and I can certainly understand why companies are trying to cater to the indoor cycling market.
However, in my experience (I've been involved in the bike trade since 1990 and now run Prendas Ciclismo) sales of Winter clothing are not as high as they once were, so I'm guessing they see this as a bit of an untapped market.
We have also looked at either reselling or creating some indoor-specific garments ourselves, but in the end, we couldn't really better our existing products by much more than very marginal amounts.
So without further waffle, here's my list of suggested clothing:
A good quality, new(ish) pair of bib shorts is essential. When I first started, I used to use any old pair of bib shorts, taking clubmate's advice that the combination of sweat and repeated washes would ruin your best shorts and to be fair they are right.
However, unless you are doing specific out-of-the-saddle drills, you spend more time on the saddle than your typical road ride which leads to greater pressure between you and the saddle. So, in order to get the best out of your session, use a decent pair of bib shorts with a pad that is made for the job.
Mesh braces are also recommended too as lycra doesn't breathe too well. I don't tend to use chamois cream for outdoor cycling, but I do apply a little prior to an indoor workout.
If money is tight - take a look in our clearance section and see if anything in there fits the bill.
Look for a lightweight cycling-specific sock that ideally has an open weave for the best ventilation and made using yarns that deal with sweat effectively. You're going to get hot!
It is also worth seeking out a garment that is good after repeated washing.
My go-to sock for indoor training are the Prendas Spring/Summer BK1210 cycling socks.
With 8 glorious colours available, they are also part of a multi saver deal. Thanks to a recent website update, you can now combine garments across the different multi saver deals, giving you the lowest price.
Some may prefer to ride without your torso covered, but I feel by using a baselayer the sweat is managed more effectively.
We have sold the Craft sleeveless mesh baselayer now for many years and it's a favourite for either indoor training or the Summer months.
It's a very small item, but it does mean you can avoid having a towel draped over the handlebars to wipe the inevitable build-up of sweat from your brow.
Some cyclists use a headband, however, I prefer a wrist band, very kindly donated to me by my brother out of his team-issue London 2012 team kit bag.
The best news? When unrestricted, outdoor riding finally returns to us all (hopefully with temperatures in ascendency), you'll be able to put any of the above-recommended garments to good use outside!
Happy training and stay safe.
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