The more serious people start to take any bike riding discipline, the more important the little things start to matter. Not that many people starting will worry too much about proper gravel biking clothing, but it becomes more of a focus when looking for ways to make the ride a little more enjoyable.
While standard athletic gear is going to work to a certain degree, there are some tips and suggestions to wear something a bit more appropriate. It ultimately depends on the time of year, but most people invest in at least a couple of pieces that they can have ready to go at all times.
Riding a gravel bike on many different types of surfaces out there means that people need to invest in pants that can handle anything thrown their way.
They are usually a bit rugged and fairly streamlined to help with an aerodynamic feel. That is not to say that there are some baggier options, but most people are just looking for quality fabric that will last and prove to be versatile.
Not everyone feels comfortable wearing very tight clothing like in road bike riding, so it is welcomed to see so many baggy options for gravel riding.
They still need to be waterproof and capable of fighting off dirt and grime that is inevitably going to kick up. There is nothing worse than having one or two puddles end up ruining a person’s day because their pants became wet.
A lot of gravel bike pants will also come with pockets and other storage options so that people do not need to carry a bag. This is pretty much unheard of in different types of riding, but since gravel bike riding is a little more casual, people like to have access to what they need in standard locations. Pockets are not necessary, and it might be a little weird to begin riding that way, but they are still available.
There are some pants options for gravel bike riding that also allow for removable bottoms to make them essentially shorts or long pants.
This comes in handy during the colder months, as people do not usually have a lot of longer pants options. Gravel bikes are capable of holding up in the winter fairly well, so this allows people to extend the riding season a bit more.
Finally, make sure to have some padding with the pants when going on a very long ride. This is because a person’s behind it is going to go through a lot of wear and tear when riding for hours.
It all starts with making sure that a good seat is installed on the bike, but after that, it comes down to making the right decisions in other ways. Get out of the saddle for some rest at times. It will be fine.
Some pants come with padding, but there are also inserts available if a person wants to use their pants that come without padding.
Do not be afraid to make some decisions here and there that end up being pretty smart from a comfort standpoint. Out of all the clothing, people might think that pants are the number one place to start.
Shirts and Jerseys
Much like the pants, the jerseys for gravel bike riding lose the type of road bike look that so many people are frustrated with. It is not always the best look for people who want to go out there and have some fun on the bike. A lot of the jerseys are a little baggier, and something that does not automatically stand out.
There are even some people who will go with clothing on the top that looks much like a standard T-shirt, albeit with some welcome additions.
Not only are the majority of gravel bike riding jerseys waterproof and sweat-wicking, but they also offer a level of protection against UV rays. When riding on any bike for hours and hours, the body needs as much protection as possible.
Every brand has their special names for the type of fabric they use, but almost all of them are full of polyester. It comes down to if a person is riding in the middle of the summer, or if they need some added protection because it is a little colder.
During the warmer months, a jersey that is thin and breathable makes the most sense. In the winter, it is about adding layers and killing any wind that can make it very frustrating to cut through the air.
It might not seem like that big of a deal when shopping for something casually, but it is vital to get a jersey that fits properly and provides a full amount of coverage when writing.
Some people want to have a short sleeve jersey to stay very clear of any restrictions. Others will want to have full coverage of their arms, and there are options out there that provide coverage and still do not make it that hard to move around.
If a person wants to have sleeves to take on and off, that is another option to go with. Some warmers will keep people very comfortable while riding, but it could get too hot to the point that people want to take them off.
Instead of wearing a long sleeve jersey, using these warmers instead is one way to go. They are also very thin layers to go on the arm if a rider needs to make sure that they have a fair amount of coverage.
With gravel bike riding being so long, it is generally recommended for every single person to invest in at least one pair of gloves that they can use when on the bike. It might not seem like it is that necessary for some beginners, but they will quickly realize that they make a lot of sense.
For starters, there are a lot of different ways for people to start building up calluses whenever operating a bike for an extended period.
A gravel bike is unique in that a person is tackling different terrains, which means that they always need to ensure that they have the right type of coverage on their hands at all times. If a person does not have their hands covered, they can get wet, they can get sunburnt, they can develop nasty blisters, and so much more.
A person does not have to wear gloves all the time, but most people get in the habit of doing precisely that. If a person wants to operate a touchscreen on their phone or need extra precision when moving around, that is also possible with the right gloves.
A helmet is essential for any bike riding, and gravel biking is of course, no different. There are not a lot of gravel bike specific helmets out there these days, but more companies are starting to develop something that works precisely for that.
What works best as a gravel bike helmet? It depends on what type of weather a person usually rides in, and whether or not they are trying to go at a fast speed.
The majority of people opt for a mountain bike type of helmet, as it is a little more comfortable and heavy-duty for added protection.
A road bike helmet can also work, but keep in mind that it is designed to be very lightweight and provide protection when on the road. It might not feel like it is strong enough to help protect against off-road riding, which might not give people absolute peace of mind.
Opting for a full helmet that has no holes in it for extra breathability can help a person feel a lot more secure, but it does come at a bulkier and warmer price. It also feels a lot heavier for those who are moving around, and that might get to a person if they are riding for hours and hours.
Most helmets have enough flexible options so that the right fit is possible. Make sure to look at the different options and make smart decisions on what helmet works the best.
Neck and Face Protection
Whether they are referred to as neck tubes, gators, or a bath, many people who start to ride bikes like the opportunity of having extra protection in the neck and face area.
There is a chance of a person getting pounded continuously by the wind throughout the ride, and it can get pretty sunny and dry as well. When that happens, a person can do some abuse to their face, which is why a versatile option to provide some coverage makes a lot of sense.
With these covers, a person can slide them down and have plenty of breathabilities when they want. When pulled up all the way, it provides sun protection, absorbs sweat, and can cut down on skin dryness.
There are options for warm and cold weather as well, so keep that in mind. Some gravel bike riders will look to cover every bit of skin so that they do not feel uncomfortable when riding. It is not something that beginners think about too much, but it makes a lot of sense.
Socks are like just about every other accessory for gravel bike riding in that they need to provide a full amount of coverage and keep a person dry as much as possible.
There is nothing quite like wet socks in bike riding, as a person can begin to regret going on a ride in the first place. Every single pedal can start to become annoying, which is why investing in socks to keep people dry makes a lot of sense.
Sweat is also likely going to accumulate, and no one wants to have to deal with that. Socks need to be built in a way that people feel very comfortable in them, and they also have a fair amount of cushioning.
Finding socks that fit the foot properly also helps out a ton, as there are too many people who do not put the socks on correctly and then regret it later. Getting something that fits for the very beginning makes the most sense.
Everyone has been in a situation where they are riding along as they would normally, and then all of a sudden, there are some changes in weather. Maybe it gets a lot colder, and another layer is needed to complete the ride. When that is the case, having a jacket that is ready to go makes a lot of sense.
There are packable jacket options for quick and easy coverage when needed. A lot of people put this in their bag so that they are always covered. They can also work as another layer of dry clothing if that is what the person wants to do.
Usually, a jacket does not need to be too thick, even in colder weather. That is because it will still be able to kill wind and keep people warm in that regard, which is all that a lot of people want in the first place.
Jackets are going to have to be very durable because they will go through a lot of abuse when riding on gravel bikes. There are a lot of people who are always looking for some extra savings, and it comes down to shopping for what fits best.
Keeping Costs Down
After going through all the different clothing options for gravel bike riding, it might be a bit overwhelming for some shoppers out there. It is one thing to go out and buy a brand new bike, but then purchasing additional accessories can start to add up as well.
The good news is that there are cheap options out there, and people do not always have to invest in a name brand. While some companies put out better products than others, there are a lot of ways to save money by looking around and seeing what is available. Borrowing from different types of bike riding is very common, and sometimes it is much cheaper to go that way as well.
Buying piece by piece is also another way to keep prices down at least a little bit. Some people will go with each new item once they actually need it. It softens the blow a little bit because some people will go out there and buy a bunch of clothing in the very beginning. While it is always nice to be prepared, it can be overwhelming to go this route.
Unless a person is super competitive, gravel bike riding is more about the experience and taking in the sights and sounds along the way. Outfits do not need to be made of high-end technology to get the most out of the ride. Just make sure that something is comfortable and provides the right amount of protection, and the body will recover from long rides that much easier.