Cycling isn’t all about the bike, you know. We can all appreciate that a state-of-the-art carbon fibre frame will give you a head start over some kid on a Raleigh Chopper, but if you want to get the edge – or simply the look – of a Wiggins or a Froome, then the attention to detail goes way beyond the machine itself.
It doesn’t need to cost a bomb to get that yellow jersey feel either, although if you want to claim those little one-percent advantages on your nearest and dearest there are plenty of ways to do so...
We hear a lot during the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia about aerodynamics, and the humble bicycle helmet has evolved markedly over the years. These days you can get the lightweight, wind-tunnel-tested Kask Protone lid with Tridimensional 3D DRY padding which Chris Froome wore to great success over a number of years in Le Tour for as little as £185.
Alternatively, you could go big with the Gio Aether MIPS Road Helmet boasting ‘Halo’ Reinforcement, featherweight webbing and even a sunglasses docking port in the front vents, all for £289. Then again, you have the more everyday options such as the Oakley ARO5 MIPS 2.0, which looks the business and comes in every colour from black to ‘retina burn’ yellow, all for under 100 quid.
What’s the point in getting the best bike and helmet but then sticking on your Reebok Classics that don’t properly fit in the pedal straps? It will only cost £34.99 to get your hands on some Muddyfox RBS100 cycling shoes, which have two hook and loop tape fasteners for a secure fit, plus give you increased comfort with a cushioned insole and padded ankle.
The more avid cyclists among us might opt for Le Col’s Pro Carbon Cycling Shoes, which are built around a UD carbon sole and use a durable PU leather upper for strength and supple support. The Atop dial makes adjustment dead simple, and there are black or grey colours to choose from. Well worth the £250 outlay.
As we approach winter, you’ll need to make sure you have a firm grip and a dry hand when out on the road, so the Proviz Classic Waterproof Cycling Gloves will work a treat. Their optional illuminous yellow colour will help to make you stand out on the busy roads too, so for £39.99 you’re making an investment in both style and safety.
A decent lower-priced alternative is to go for the GIANT Winter Shockproof Cycling Gloves, which can be picked up these days for just £7. They come in linen and polyester with anti-static features and have touch pads for your smart phone.
Ok, let’s get on to the subject of Lycra… You don’t need it. While there is a bit of a stigma with donning the infamous stretchy fabric, there are plenty of comfortable alternatives for cyclists nowadays.
La Passione’s Mimesis Bib Shorts are made of Polyamide and Elastane, and boast a UV sun protection factor of above 50. Complete with non-slip silicone leg grippers and a rear reflective strip, they’ll look after you in all weathers for £105. There are plenty of more modest alternatives on the market too, with the Pro Giant range bringing you cycling jersey and bib short combos in a variety of colours for between £10 and £20.
There’s tech for everything in 2020, and cycling is an obvious case in point. The various gadgets and accessories available to riders these days is seemingly endless, but that simply makes for plenty of choice.
The £499.99 Garmin Edge 1030 is considered the king of cycle computers, since it can hook up to heart-rate monitors, cadence sensors and more, as well as doing the more basic stuff such as linking with Strava to monitor your progress.
If you’re after something more modest, the Bryton Rider 15 comes in at under £50 but is still highly-rated for its sat-nav reliability and barometric altimeter. It’s great for monitoring your speed, cadence and heart rate too.