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Cyclist Dress Code

The cycling dress code stripped bare

The cycling dress code stripped bare

Style, they say, isn’t something you learn, it’s something you’re born with.

Yet from a young age we learn certain ‘rules’ of thumb for fashion. Pink and red clash, blue and green must never be seen, don’t wear your socks with sandals. And just when I thought I had these rules down pat – I start a sport that has more no no’s than a chocolate fondue fountain at a weight watchers meeting.

Like a secret society, cycling has its own dress code, and much of it isn’t as straight forward as you might suspect. So to help you along here are a few of the unwritten rules to help you glide smoothly into the pack.

Kit Rules:

How good do the Team Sky and BMC kits look? Right? Sure on them, not on just anyone. This unwritten rule was drilled into me early that unless you’ve ridden for one of the pro teams in Europe, don’t be wearing their kit out on the road.

This was clause 1 of the cycling code and it is slightly ironic that the pros are the benchmark for trends in cycling fashion with teams and bike shops alike pushing the sale of their kits for a sizeable profit, yet it’s not socially acceptable to wear their kits out on the road. But if you want to do so, (I say go for it!) just make sure you don’t mix the pro team kits up ie. GreenEdge shirt with BMC shorts and Team Sky socks etc, the line is drawn there. Cyclist_Dress_Code

Matching cycling club kits, however, are acceptable. Makes sense? Fashion never does.

While on kits too, if you’re road cycling apparently they have to have sleeves. Short sleeves are left to the triathletes and even then it’s only when they’re racing. I thought more skin would be in, there are few other sports where it’s taboo to wear less clothing…but not cycling.

Easy solution – stick with the LivGiant kit.

The Long and Short of it (socks)

imageDoesn’t this simple debate over whether size does matter flame the embers of the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry.

Short socks seem to be a Sydney thing. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s simply a desire to do the opposite of what Melbournians do, but Sydney socks are shorter than your typical Melbournian cyclist. The short of it is they show off more of the leg and they sure don’t cause as much of an awkward tan line.

Regardless Melbourne riders like theirs long… to the middle of the calf and regardless of which is best both do agree on one thing – ankle socks are a no-go zone.

You can, however, be as creative as you like with the style of sock you wear and there are some pretty wacky ones out there.

Headcase (Helmets)

Unless you’re wearing an orange stackhat from the 80s you should be pretty sweet on this one. But just make sure you take it off at the café before you order your coffee.

Oh and leave the aerodynamic ones for races, wind resistance isn’t going to hinder your efforts on pack rides.

I Can See Clearly Now (Sunglasses)

Photo 7-02-2014 5 14 11 pm

LivGiant sunglasses will solve all those problems

Look I’m probably not the best one to comment on this as I’ve taken a stand on this one and still wear my dark Jackie O glasses while riding, much to the embarrassment of my cycling friends and husband.

If you are doing so, there’s another point in the cyclists’ unwritten dress code that says to make sure the arms of the glasses go over the helmet straps. Again it comes from the pros who want to maximise the coverage their brand of sunglasses receives, but is followed here feverishly.

Easy Solution: Luckily Liv/Giant is bringing out their own Oakley sunglasses!


So there you have it, the dress code for cycling. It does seem strict, over the top and pretty unforgiving and for that I say… don’t stick to any of them.

Wear your singlet tops, ankle socks, your unsporty sunglasses and pro team jersey, because at the end of the day riding is all about freedom and fun. Rules are supposed to be broken and, ironically, if we cyclists were always worried about how we look, we wouldn’t be clad head to toe in tight lycra in the first place.

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