bike touring resources:: get the right clothes for a world bike tour



your clothing counts

If you've had a careful look at any of our photos, then you'll see that we're not obsessed with having the latest in high-tech cycling apparel.  Unless you've never been to a shopping mall, you know that name brand sports clothing is ridiculously expensive.  You could easily spend thousands of dollars kitting yourself out with the latest fads in sportswear.

invest in high quality apparel
While we don't advocate wasting money on trendy labels and clothes with exotic names, we do recommend investing in a few high quality items that will last.  Although some in-store brands offer good value for money, overall we have been disappointed by the wearability of these products.  Zippers jam, seats of trousers wear out quickly, colors fade and sometimes the fit just isn't right.

When you spend time selecting clothing that is really comfortable, fits to a tee and is well-made, you can keep wearing the same items for years.  I've had my Lafuma pullover for 8 years and it shows no signs of wear, even though it's traveled with me through about 70 countries.  I donít  know how I survived before discovering the multiple uses of my Salewa soft shell.

the darker the better

Unless you want to spend your free time washing out your clothes or don't mind looking like scruffy,  choose dark colored clothing.  I can wear my navy-blue Lafuma for weeks on end before it starts smelling or looks in need of washing.  Eric has got a light blue pull-over and it looks dirty after one night camping.  If you ride on a Brooks saddle and wear light colored clothing, you may end up with a nice big black splotch on the seat of your shorts.  Villagers find this quite amusing.

Pack several changes of underwear.  Underwear are light, take up little space and really should be changed on a daily basis.  If you're cycling in an area where water is scarce or are faced with a long spell of rainy weather, you won't be able to wash your clothes as often as you'd like.

leave the lycra at home
If you'll be traveling in the third world you may want to reconsider packing those neon yellow lycra cycling shorts and jersey that make you look like a rolling billboard.  You probably won't want to attract any additional attention and blend in with the local population as much as possible.  For those who insist on having the the extra padding of cycling shorts, I recommend purchasing mountain bike shorts instead.  They're certainly less revealing and you won't look like you're wearing a diaper underneath.  Personally, I find that my Brooks saddle is so comfortable that  I don't need to wear cycling shorts.

layering: the key to warmth
Layering is the key to keeping warm so keep this in mind when you're deciding what to pack into your panniers.  It can get very cold in the desert and of course gaining altitude makes a huge difference in temperature.  We experienced many chilly nights in Africa and the Middle East and were glad to have thick fleece jackets and thermals to bundle up in.

For more details on exactly what we pack, go to our Gear page.

added comfort and protection

Cycling gloves increase comfort and protection.Although I had never worn cycling gloves before our 'big tour', now  I won't ride without them.  Not only do they provide warmth when it's cold, they also protect and add a layer of comfort.  Prolonged pressure against the handlebars places a great deal of stress on the hands.  Wearing padded cycling  gloves will go a long way to increasing comfort and lessen shocks from potholes and bumps.  I've also found that they're good at protecting from sunburn and accelerated aging of the hands.

There's another reason to wear cycling gloves.  Putting a hand out to break a fall is a natural reaction. Your cycling gloves are an added layer of protection and will help avoid skin damage in the event of a fall.

get the right stuff

Your clothing counts for comfort. Even if you hate shopping, you wonít regret spending some extra time finding clothing that works for you.

If you enjoyed this post, you'll like these posts, too:

Getting Started
Gearing UP
The right racks, perfect panniers and a tent fit to become your home  on the road

Touring Advice
Bike Touring Blunders:
6 Pitfalls to Avoid

Getting Started

Choosing the right bicycle:
the most important purchase youíll make

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What are your experiences biking with a partner?  Any tips for cycling together and finding the right pace? 
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contact us at: worldbiking@gmail.com