Sportive kit tips keep you protected and focused on the important stuff – like KOMs, QOMs and peanut butter sandwiches – whatever the weather.
As summer approaches, the cycling calendar is jam-packed with sportives to get stuck into. If you’ve signed up to a mass cycling event, you’ve likely already got the basics down: your favourite jersey, padded shorts or bib shorts, helmet, fingerless cycling gloves, shades – and socks worthy of a #sockdoping social post. But there are some extra kit considerations specific to the weather you’ll be riding in.
Bad Weather, Good Ride
We’ve all been there: you’ve done the sportive training, bought a shiny jersey for the occasion and the weather has been glorious all working-week long. Then sportive day arrives, and brings with it clouds of doom. Fear not! Even if you’re expecting a cold, wet and windy day – you can still enjoy the ride if you’ve got the right kit.
First up, even on bad weather summer days, it’s usually fine to stick with shorts and short-sleeved jersey, because the temperature is, on average, high enough. Carrying some additional packable items won’t add much to cycling weight but will be worth their weight in gold when it gets chilly or wet.
A packable lightweight cycling jacket will ball-up to a small size and is easily whipped out to weather a passing shower. If it’s wet but hot, too, opting for a packable gilet will keep you cooler while keeping your torso dry. Removable arm warmers are easily packed away and make a big difference when cycling into the wind – and quality summer versions are made to be lightweight and wicking.
If rain is a dead-cert, then you might like to add summer overshoes to avoid trench foot come sundown. Avoid the fleecy winter overshoes, and opt for simple Lycra. Not only will this protect your feet from spray and dirt, but keep you more aero too. The addition of a lightweight summer cycling cap with a decent sized peak (worn down!) helps to keep the rain out of your face.
Finally, wet weather and long days in the saddle mean a higher chance of puncture. So take your inner(s), and a patch kit too….because nobody want to end their sportive day sat in the sweeper with an unfixable flat.
Bad Weather must-haves: packable jacket or gilet, arm warmers, gloves, and extra puncture protection! Consider: Rain peak cycling cap, summer overshoes
Hot If you’ve got sunshine and warmth in store for your event, first of all – yes! Second of all, should you just wear your summer basics and nothing else? While the minimal pro-look is tempting, carrying arm warmers are a great shout for glorious days, too. Sportives can start really early so, even on the fairest days, a pair of arm warmers are a must-have for that early morning chill; and if your course is hilly, you’ll be glad to have them to hand before the last sweeping descent of the day. What’s more, worn on really sunny days not only summer cycling sleeves protect you – with many serving up UPF ratings (the textile equivalent of SPF) – but coverage can keep you cooler, too.
When the sun’s beating down, protect yourself from damaging rays and heat stroke with a neck protector, (usually a tube of material) and consider a small-peaked summer cap made from lightweight moisture-wicking material. Fingerless gloves will stop sweaty bars, shades are a must – and don’t forget your sunscreen!
Hot Weather must-haves: head/neck protection, shades, gloves and sun cream! Consider: arm warmers, packable gilet.
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