When choosing cycling apparel for a long bike ride on a summer’s day, and assuming you’re a casual rider instead of a serious and competitive one, select clothes that are comfortable, breathable and offer some degree of sun protection. Your first priority is an effective base layer to wick sweat away from your skin and keep you dry and comfortable when you perspire. Then, if the temperature drops, it will also help keep the cold away. For summer rides, a short-sleeve or vest-type base layer will work just fine.

For extra comfort on so many levels, you may want to invest in a pair of padded cycling shorts. You may think bike clothing like this is strictly for serious riders, but they’re great for casual riders too. They’ll make the ride more comfortable, and help you pedal more efficiently, which will maximise your enjoyment. Good shorts will provide protection for your more sensitive areas when you’re sitting on the saddle of your bike, and deal with the perspiration and rubbing that causes painful chafing. If you’re worried that bike shorts are those ultra-tight things that only the professionals should wear, then rest assured that there’s a growing range that looks just like casual shorts, but with all those excellent qualities we just discussed.

The same applies to jerseys. Conventional cycling jerseys were very tight and covered in logos and for many casual bike riders, that was a bit too much. Today, things are different and just like shorts, you can now buy a bike jersey that looks cool and casual. A jersey is another smart investment; th breathability of the fabric wicks away sweat and takes away that horrible wet feeling that you may be used to when you perspire during a ride on a hot day. The combination of jersey and shorts really is a supremely comfortable one so don’t buy one without the other.

Finally, a decent jacket that is resistant to wind and to rain should be on your shopping list. When things cook down in the late afternoon, or a summer shower strikes, you can stay protected from the elements. Even if conditions are perfect when you set out for a ride, conditions can change quickly so you should always have a jacket with you. The best jackets are lightweight, breathable, highly protective, and with plenty of pocket space.

These days it is possible to wear what serious riders wear without looking like a serious rider. For that casual summer ride, you can remain fashinable but you can still enjoy all the advantages that proper cycling gear gives you. Remember, serious riders wear what they wear for a very good reason, and so should you. It will make your ride a much more pleasurable experience.