The Love and Hate Relationship With Cycling Clothing

The Love and Hate Relationship With Cycling Clothing

Cycling clothes. They can be the bane of our existence as a cyclist. We’re ridiculed because non-cyclists think we look funny in them. We’re self-conscious because of how we look in them (at least I am). I love cycling clothing. It’s functional and jersey designs can be pretty cool. I also hate it.

Do they make cycling clothes for real people?

So what if I can’t fit into the same tshirt I wore in sixth grade. What’s the big deal? You mean, as a cyclist, I’m supposed to fit into a pair of bibs or a jersey designed to look tight on my little sister? Seriously?

By real people I mean cyclists, like me, who are struggling to lose weight. Cycling is a great way to lose weight but the clothing manufacturers out there aren’t thinking about us when designing their spring lineup. I seriously think they use a telephone pole as a prop to help them determine sizes. If they’re designing European sizes then they use a 4×4 post.

That’s all in jest of course but I think the underlying argument is valid. Overweight cyclists have a hard time finding cycling clothes that fit. Then you take somebody like me who’s overweight, and short (only a 27.5″ inseam), and you’re screwed. There wouldn’t be a problem if we (I) were height-weight proportionate but that’s why we (I) took up cycling in the first place. Catch 22.

Are there cycling clothes out there that will fit? Yes, but it’ll be hard finding something that fits right. For instance, in order for me to find bibs that can compensate for my excessive girth I have to buy in the 3XL size which is usually designed for somebody really tall. That means the bibs are too long. It takes some experimenting and shopping around to find stuff that works.

Love and Hate

Love and Hate

Where To Find BIG Cycling Clothes

I know they aren’t popular among the ‘purists’ and ‘pros’, but Bike Nashbar has jerseys and bibs that fit me. I’m talking about the Nashbar brand clothing not name-brand stuff like Pearl Izumi, Cannondale, or others. One of my favorite pairs of bibs is a Nashbar brand. Catch their stuff on sale and you can get some good deals.

Performance Bike sometimes has some stuff that will fit too. I’ve got a good long sleeve jersey I got from them last year that’s great. Jerseys are easier for me to find though. Jerseys for big folks with cool designs are hard to find (there are some). Mostly expect to have your choices limited to solid colors. BikeJerseys.com seems to have a selection of cool big dude jerseys but I’ve never bought from them. I’ll have to do that and do a review. I’ve also recently discovered Aerotech Designs and will look at them too.

There are times I don’t feel like looking like a overstuffed sausage and wear a big workout shirt made by Russell Athletic. It’s comfy and cool. There’s no rear pockets or ‘style’ factor though.

Your Thoughts?

I know most of you just want to tell me to deal with it and ride. I can understand that. You can say as much in the comments. If you’re like me though, and can’t buy your cycling clothes off the rack, perhaps you have some additional resources I haven’t listed above.

In the meantime, it’s back to counting calories and riding.

Feature image courtesy of n0seblunt.

23 Comments

  1. Maybe it's time to come out with the BikingtoLive clothing line for cyclists.

    I have two thoughts on this topic. One is that I feel it is very important to feel comfortable in your clothing, especially when cycling. My second thought is that when clothing doesn't fit properly (too tight) it is sometimes motivation to work harder to make sure it does start to fit.

    So my conclusion would be to get clothes that make you feel good so you are motivated to ride, but then make sure that when the clothes start getting looser, you don't fall into the trap of “hey, I can eat crappy now because my clothes are getting loose on me”.

    Reply
    • BikingToLive cycling clothes. That's interesting. I'm actually submitting a jersey design in the @blackbottoms contest and plan on it being some kind of “Biking To Live' design. I've got several ideas and will post'em here before submitting one.

      True about having clothes that are a little tight as motivation. It always makes me feel better to be able to fit into my clothes better.

      Reply
  2. Oh…..and where did you find that great photo that went along with this post?

    Reply
    • I found the photo on Flickr while searching through the Creative Commons section (it allows you to use photos as long as you give credit). A link to the pic is above at the end of the article. I actually had the article titled something else until I found that pic. I thought it was great and re-titled and edited the article a little to make it work.

      Reply
      • Yeah, I've used the Creative Commons a couple times….there are some incredible shots in Flickr. The love/hate one with the cyclist was just perfect.

        Reply
        • I thought the same thing when I saw it.

          Reply
  3. I have one jersey that I keep for inspiration. One day I am going to put it on, and NOT have manboobs sticking out. I don't see the point in having anymore than one as I already have enough things that I'm trying to squeeze in to.

    Here in Oz, we have a store called Cell Bikes who are trying to establish themselves as a brand but also as the cheapest online store in Australia. They sell Jerseys that for about A$20 (or about US$22 ). The cut is reasonable, and comes in sizes up to 3XL (I think), I'm an XL myself.

    They deliver overseas, so keep an eye on them too. I reckon they are worth keeping an eye on even from the US of A.

    Reply
    • I have a jersey like that. One day it will fit.

      Thanks for the info on the store (fixed its link).

      Reply
      • Spooky. My wife told me today that ALDI are having a week of specials on bike clothing. If you don't have ALDI in the US, it is a large German chain, known for low prices and weird sales. I'm gonna get a pair of bibs, that I couldn't afford if they were name brand, a spare pair of gloves and maybe another jersey. All for under $50 combined.

        Reply
        • Don't believe we have those here in the states. That looks like a good sale though if you can get all that for $50.

          Reply
          • There is a question mark in my mind over the quality though, but for that price, I'm willing to give it a go. If they last, then next time they have a sale, I'll get more.

            Reply
          • It seems you do. AldiTexas

            Don't know if any of the stores are near you, but keep an eye on the weekly specials. I'm going to get some this morning, so will let you know how the quality is.

            Reply
            • They are opening some stores here next month but it looks like they may only carry food items.

              Reply
  4. well… you know me. i don't wear cycling specific clothes too often. The ones I have don't fit me too well & I'm more uncomfortable riding in them than just some loose fitting pants rolled up to the mid calf. I know I approach cycling from a different angle than you in a lot of ways but I agree that it is very difficult to find outdoor athletic clothing of any kind in larger sizes and I find it extremely frustrating. I might even own a few more cycling specific items if I didn't think that a day of shopping would be hell on earth. (I hate clothes shopping esp. when nothing's going to fit right.) It's like they assume if you're heavy you do nothing but lie on the couch and watch tv.

    It's annoying. I agree. Unfortunately I have no good resources to share.

    Reply
    • Thanks for leaving a comment though. I agree with the shopping frustration. Hate it.

      Reply
  5. Hi B. I've been away for a few months. It's too cold to ride here. Although my riding buddy and I went out yesterday for a short ride. First ride of the 2010 season. 12k It got up to 5c here in Toronto. Today we are having a blizzard. Go figure. By the way I really like the new look of your web site. Because of the temperature I wore double pants and three layers on top. I was a vision.

    Reply
    • Hey, long time no see. Glad to see that you are back on the bike though with the weather improving. It's supposed to snow here in Dallas again tomorrow. Glad you like the new design.

      Reply
  6. It seems you do. AldiTexas

    Don't know if any of the stores are near you, but keep an eye on the weekly specials. I'm going to get some this morning, so will let you know how the quality is.

    Reply
  7. They are opening some stores here next month but it looks like they may only carry food items.

    Reply
  8. WE MAKE CYCLING JERSEYS THAT FIT REAL WOMEN!!!!
    Bicycle Barbie move over….We have spent years developing a cycling that fits and flatters “real” women. You won’t believe it tell you try them.
    go to Tonikcycling.com (excuse our models, we will have “real ones for our next photo shoot!)
    Our fit,design,material are all geared to fitting and flattering women. Check out sizing charts. We promise you will love them.
    They are bright,athletic,technical and flattering. (and you order your regular size, no screwy sizing.
    check out what are riders are saying on facebook.

    Reply
  9. I wanted to get some cycling gear in Algonquin, IL for my dad. He just got a recumbent bicycle for working out. Where can I get some gear?

    Reply
  10. If you are looking for Highend or just damn good custom cycling shorts, kincker,tights and some jerseys. and all made here in the USA please go to http://www.boure.com.. I do not work for them but I do ride with there stuff Very very well made.. Both Road and MTN…..

    Reply

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