Basic clothing for a new commuter


New Member
Hi all,

I'm after some advise on clothing for my commute to work. I intend to commute daily and we have showers here so life is good :tongue:

I shall carry my work clothes in a pannier. However i know nothing about what clothing to wear on the bike. apart from its normally lycra :-D

I intend to cycle summer and winter so i guess i need a warddrobe for both.
Any suggestions on a basic setup i will need? Shorts?Jerseys?Waterproofs?reflectives?

UPDATED: I will be cycling about 10 miles a day
UPDATED: I have the standard seat that comes with the Carrera Subway

Would be interested in what others wear



John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
How far are you riding?

up to five miles, and/or if you can take it easy, don't worry about it too much.

More than that, or if you work up a sweat, "technical" fabrics will make you feel a lot more comfortable. If you're uncomfortable with the tight lycra look, go for "freeride" jerseys (t-shirt styled) and MTB shorts (i.e. bike specific, but baggy).

how's your saddle? Comfy without padding? If so, you may not even need bike shorts...

Jerseys on offer at Halfords;


Long term loafer
Today I will be mostly wearing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.
I started commuting about this time last year and have worn knee length shorts the whole time, with waterproofs in bag just in case. On top I wear a base layer and a t-shirt in the colder weather with waterproofs carried just incase. I try to take clothes for work in at the start of the week. My commute is only 3 miles each way so I never get too cold, unlike some others on here who commute much further and consequently wear lots more clothes.
Really what I am saying is wear what suits you and your commute.


New Member
Thanks for the answers i've updated the OP with more details :-)

really really appreciated



My Armchair
I ride 9 miles each-way and wear baggy shorts (Endura Humvees) with some padded undershorts or inserts underneath,T-shirt/loose fit cycling shirt if it's warm,if it's cooler I'll put a gilet on top.
Colder weather it's Ronhill bikesters over the padded shorts,base layer,shirt and jacket.Oh and a buff to keep your head/ears warm.
The fact you have showers means you can wear whatever you feel comfortable in though,unfortunately I don't have that option so just take a spare shirt/undies in each day.
I used to commute just under that (about 8 or 9miles depending on my route) we never had showers though. Some days I would wear bib shorts when I wanted to build up a sweat but most days I commuted in my work trousers wore a cycling top and kept a shirt in a pannier to change with at the far end (I also had a liberal supply of deodorant in my desk).
In summer I'd carry a light foldable jacket out of Aldi and a pair of montane featherlite overtousers as they both compress down to the size of an apple. In winter I'd wear a more heavy duty jacket regularly and occasionally heavier duty overtouser. With overtrouser you've got to way up the benefit of keeping elements out to the boil in the bag effect, getting more wet from sweat. Tbh I would try to avoid using the overtrousers on a commute of 5 miles.


New Member
I'm relatively new to commuting, mine is 7 miles each way, I've been wearing ronhill tracksters, trainers, cotton vest and a adidas lycra jacket thats quite thin.

No showers at my work.

I was going to get a thin waterproof and a couple of long sleeved tops when it starts to drop cool and see how I manage from there.


Man or Moose!
5 miles each way, at a leisurelly pace, i.e. probly about a trip length of about 30 mins max. You probly dont need any cycling clothing. Some pack away waterproofs could be handy and something high vis for winter, but wouldnt sweat the need for cycling specific clothing, unless you want it.

What im saying essentially is, there is absolutelly no need for you to feel obligated to get cycling specific clothing for this distance (or any other really). If you want it by all means buy it, but dont feel you HAVE to.


New Member
Thanks for the responses people.
I would like to get some cycling specific clothing as i'm getting everything else including the bike :smile:
So any advise on which shops to check out? apart from wiggle which i know from me running?

Also any advice on specific items people love!


Alan Whicker

Senior Member
I'm a big fan of rain legs. They really do work, even though they look like they won't.

FWIW I'm a jeans in winter/shorts in summer rider. On the top half I have a hoody if its cool and a short, thin (and bright red) Lowe Alpine jacket if wet. I do 7 miles each way, riding like an elderly vicar (most of the time). I've got loads of proper bike gear from my MTB days, but I've never felt the need to wear it in a city with a short commute. I'd rather spend the money on beer than get proper city kit :smile:
I'm a girl so answers suitably modified, but can answer for my husband as well I suppose!
We both do about 5 miles each way so mileage same as yours.

He rides in merino top pretty much year round (this one here ) - in winter he also has a heavier weight one; and a jacket over the top (non cycling specific; from an outdoor shop). He doesn't actually have a proper waterproof jacket (he does have a paramo waterproof but we haven't actually tested it out on the bike). We both make sure to carry waterproof overtrousers on longer trips - he has the Altura Nightvision ones and I have Altura something-elses; but they're both a bit short to be honest; if you're not careful thus funnelling water into your shoes! I find in winter that wearing boots solves that problem; in summer if it's hot I prefer to get wet than wear waterproofs (provided you're not in jeans or something else that'll just retain the water and make life uncomfortable). He rides in normal trousers/shorts; nothing cycling specific. I did get him padded shorts but he hasn't bonded with them... For me my 'bottoms' are nothing special, aside from my skort which I love but I think won't really do it for you :wacko:

Pretty much year round I ride with an Altura Nightvision jacket - in winter it keeps the cold out to some degree (and with my double layered Merinos as in the previous link underneath, and my scarf, and my ski gloves, and my waterproof leather shoes with merino possum socks inside, I'm usually warm enough! - although the fingers/toes do still feel the nip); in summer it keeps the breeze off. This last week or two when it's been really sunny I've gone back to more 'normal' clothes and pedalled a bit slower.

I can't recommend merino highly enough though - not too hot, handles being wet better than cotton, doesn't smell...

Of course, if you're happy to pedal slowly and you don't sweat a lot (or have a huge hill or three) you can get away with non-cycle specific clothing, but then the waterproofs become a bit more essential. If you do sweat (Mr SHK sweats a lot) I recommend merino even more. I can't wear synthetics on my upper body next to my skin (even though I don't sweat much at all), they really do start to smell very quickly.

For shoes, be careful that the ones you cycle in have fair grip if you're not going clipless. My goretex waterproof 'trainers' are actually quite awful in terms of grip (in the wet); normal trainers are better, but some smart 'work' shoes would probably be bad as well.

EDIT: you'll also need a buff and (to prevent helmet hair...) a skullcap


Formerly just_fixed
in summer i use ron hill tracksters, merino base layer, goretex approach shoes, gilet and arm warmers. if it rains i get my endura convert out.

for this winter it will be goretex fleeced lined bib tights (or endura event bib tights dunno yet), endura event stealth jacket, shimano winter boots spd's (flat pedals ice up on the climb home), thermal buff and goretex winter gloves and silk liners.

- Baz -

Active Member
Good question, and one I mused over as I've just begun to commute :wacko:

I decided on a Ronhill running T (good at wicking) and a pair of Polaris baggy cycling shorts, socks and grippy trainers (flat pedals on my hybrid). Same for the rain. Getting a bit wet doesn't bother me - and less to pack in my bag. If it's really tanking it down, I have a high viz dhb Amberley waterproof cycling jacket that packs away quite small. Also good for the dark nights. Ronhill running tracksters on standby when it turns colder plus another top layer. I reckon if I'm still cold, I'm not pedalling hard enough...


Last of the Summer Winos
For Summer:
Padded Lycra bib-shorts, short sleeved lycra top, buff under helmet, track mitts.

Padded Lycra 3/4 length bib-tights, short or thin sleeved top, buff under helmet, long fingered gloves.

Padded longs, long sleeve top (slightly thicker), base layer, skullcap, buff, thick long finger gloves.

Windproof Gillet, overshoes and arm warmers/leg warmers are great additions for those intermediate periods that don't quite match their season, but can be thought of as "luxury" items.

Forget about water proofs, you're not made of sugar and wont melt. As long as you keep reasonably warm you'll be OK - the secret to this is to keep the extremeties well covered (fingers, feet, head) and pedal quicker.

Build up to 3-5 of each item and swap out each day. Keep it clean. Start with cheap stuff and as a cheap one wears out buy a better one to replace it.
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