What Are Cycling Jerseys For?
By Alastair Wain
The cycling jersey is a classic garment designed to be functional, practical and comfortable for cycling. A jersey has a cycling-specific fit and storage for riding essentials. Jerseys are cut to be shorter at the front and longer at the back to provide proper coverage of your lower back during your ride. Depending on the season, this fit prevents sunburn or a draft on your lower back.
For cycle touring, cyclists will be wearing their jersey both on and off the bike at cafés, restaurants and scenic stops. Jerseys are traditionally designed to be figure hugging and without excess fabric to slow you down. When touring though, consider a jersey fit for all day comfort rather than a tight race fit.
Choose a fabric that is breathable and moisture-wicking. This can either be a synthetic or natural fabric. Merino wool is a popular choice as it is breathable, quick drying and odor-free. If you are riding in strong sun, consider a fabric that includes SPF skin protection.
A jersey with a full-length front zipper provides great ventilation and makes for an easy roadside maneuver to add or remove layers to control your body temperature.
Cycling jerseys typically have three rear pockets to carry a cyclist’s essentials. There is ample room to store a credit card, multi-tool or cell phone, along with a light windbreaker top and gloves if riding in the shoulder seasons. You are more likely to stop to take a picture or adjust your bike if your camera or multi-tool is conveniently located in your jersey pocket rather than in a trunk bag or tool kit.
Some extra tips when choosing a jersey:
- Consider bright colors and reflective materials. These can make you more visible on the road and trail. Cycling jerseys come in Day-Glo neon colors that are very visible to drivers and other cyclists.
- A short-sleeved jersey is practical for all seasons and climates. By adding a pair of cyclist’s arm warmers to your jersey you can take the chill out of the early morning or late afternoon rides.
- Jerseys make great souvenirs and conversation pieces. You will see jerseys from classic Tour de France climbs, race events and organized bike tours. A tour company or local bike shop will be able to let you know if the region you are riding in has some unique jerseys.