By Josh Ross
You ride constantly and you choose a bike instead of a car whenever you can. You might also feel pretty good about the body that cycling has helped you achieve. When it's time to go for a serious ride it's easy to find whatever kind of cycling gear appeals to you. Like it or not though, there's more to life than just serious riding. You need accessories and clothing for on and off the bike.
You shouldn't have to choose between style and functionality. If you want to spend a few miles cruising across town you need accessories and clothes that won't hold you back. I looked for stylish clothes and accessories that look great when hanging out but also have the performance details you need on a bike. These are my recommendations.
Our pick of the best clothing for on and off the bike
Here’s our pick of the best clothing and accessories on the market right now that let you transition seamlessly from casual cycling to regular life. Look good off the bike then jump on for a ride across town with no need to change.
With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.
Giro Merino Hat
- RRP: $45 / £39.99
- Sizes: S/M, L/XL
- Colorways: black, charcoal, heather red/black
- Pros: natural fiber, good for a wide range of temperature, relaxed fit
- Cons: ear flaps are just a little short
Starting right off this might be a controversial suggestion. There's a theory that the farther you are from your bike the more ridiculous bike specific clothing looks. I wear hats all the time though and if I need something that will fit under my helmet then there's no getting around the need for a bike specific cap.
I featured this same Giro Seasonal Cap in the article where I covered How To Survive The Wettest, Coldest, Rides. This is a wildly different context but it works. The relaxed style and soft merino fabric makes for a cap that is capable in a lot of situations. It can fit under a helmet and keep you warm on the coldest rides. At the same time, it has a place in casual settings and warmer weather.
100% Kasia Active Performance Sunglasses
- RRP: $150 / £119
- Colorways: Matte Black - Black Mirror Lens, Soft Tact Army Green - Grey Green Lens, Soft Tact Black - Hiper Red Multilayer Mirror Lens, Color: Soft Tact Havana - Bronze Peakpolar Lens
- Pros: lightweight, won’t bounce
- Cons: would love to see more color and lens combinations
When it comes to sunglasses there really aren't as many styles as it might seem. There are a few classics and from there it's all about the small details. The ability to take a classic style, like an aviator, and put a small spin on it for a whole new look. The 100% brand is a brash motocross brand from the 80s. They believe in giving 100% in whatever they do and their current connection to the cycling community comes via Peter Sagan. If you pay attention to Peter the connection will make perfect sense. The 100% sunglasses carry an undeniable swagger and style but they also perform. The Kasia looks great around town but it's ability to stay put as well as the high-performance lenses work on a ride of any length.
Pearl Izumi Rove Barrier Jacket
- RRP: $150 / £129.99
- Sizes: S-XXL
- Colorways: Wet Weather, Dark Olive
- Pros: High Recycled Content, Inexpensive, concealable hi-viz drop tail
- Cons: hood removes instead of stows
The Pearl Izumi Rove Barrier jacket is exactly what this article is all about. Pearl Izumi calls it "a bike jacket built for your everyday life." There's no need to make a choice between utility on the bike vs comfort and style off the bike. This is a jacket that has everything you need all the time. Just live your life. Look great, feel comfortable, and when you are ready to go for a ride pull down the magnetic, hi-viz, drop tail. If it's warm, open up the dual zippers as much as you need. If it's raining the permanent dry treatment has you covered too. Whatever life throws at you the Pearl Izumi Rove Barrier jacket will fit the bill.
Rapha Crew Neck Knit Sweater
- RRP: $165 / £120
- Sizes: XS-XXL
- Colorways: black, blue
- Pros: super high quality, tons of subtle features for riding
- Cons: expensive
A crew neck knit sweater is one of the most classic styles in fashion. It works equally well in semi-formal settings or if you want to stay casual. Find the right one and it can easily last a decade. I've had one or two in my life but they are harder to find than you might expect. Now throw in a desire for usability on a bike and the task is herculean. Rapha has risen to the challenge though, their crew neck knit sweater is perfect. The fit is perfect and, on the bike, usability is incredible. The whole back panel has a subtle open mesh stitch that adds to the natural temperature regulation of the merino wool. The sleeve is a double design that folds back to reveal a high-vis, and reflective, secondary cuff. Then, for the final detail, there is a zippered pocket on the left side. Off the bike those details are nearly invisible but they are always there when you need them.
LIVSN Flex Canvas Pant V2
- RRP: $99
- Sizes: Waist: 29-38 and Inseam Length: 30-34
- Colorways: Olive, Brown, Caramel, Black
- Pros: durable, high recycled content, zippered pockets
- Cons: not a lot of size availability
As 2020 has turned into 2021 I've re-evaluated my closet just like a lot of people. I find myself wearing almost exclusively technical pants. The kind of fabrics that will hold up to splatters in the kitchen or on the bike. That doesn't mean I want to wear synthetics all the time. Livsn has created a pant with all the technical details and usability of a synthetic but the feel of a natural fiber. The custom EcoFlex Canvas is 58% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton mixed with 40% Recycled Polyester. Then for a bit of stretch there is 2% Spandex in the mix as well. It dries quick, resists stains, and stretches like a synthetic while feeling like cotton canvas. There's also a roll up leg system with reflective hits and a zippered rear pocket. Whatever you end up doing the Livsn pants can handle it.
Giro Xnetic H20 Cycling Glove
- RRP: $50 / £37.99
- Sizes: S-XL
- Colorways: Black, Highlight Yellow
- Pros: Light and soft to the touch, easy to get on and off
- Cons: touchscreen compatibility could be better
These Giro gloves have a design meant for riding. There isn't any marketing specific to using them off the bike. Still, they have become my go to gloves in every situation. While they aren't ski gloves, they are warm enough for a wide range of temperatures and the internal membrane will keep your hands dry in rain or snow. The wide range of usability as well as the easy on and off makes them perfect for slipping into a pocket in a lot of situations. Riding or playing in the snow, they are equally well suited. They even work with touchscreens although it can be a little finicky.
TicWatch Pro 3 GPS
- RRP: $299.99 / $279
- Sizes: One Size
- Colorways: Black
- Pros: long battery life, responsive interface
- Cons: minutes on the hour bezel design doesn’t make much sense
If you pay attention to tech it seems like every day there's a new article talking about the death of Android Wear. Put on a TicWatch Pro 3 GPS watch and it's instantly clear how overblown that is. TicWatch is a company leading the pack and the Pro 3 GPS is the best yet. The design is classy enough to fit with a suit but also capable enough to stay on your arm for any workout, including swimming. The battery has reached the point where charging for a few minutes while getting ready in the morning each day is plenty. Just because you aren't doing a serious workout there's no reason not to track miles, and heart rate, on casual rides around town. NFC makes paying for a coffee or snack that much easier and talking to the Google assistant keeps you focused on riding.
Endura Humvee Waterproof Socks II
- RRP: $49.99 / £34.99
- Sizes: S-M, L-XL
- Colorways: Black, Forest Green, Rust Red
- Pros: waterproof, thin
- Cons: Slightly stiffer than a normal sock
In North America it's still cold and wet in a lot of locations. A quick ride to the store could mean a day of wet, cold, feet. Instead, throw on a pair of the Endura Humvee socks and be sure that no matter what socks you decide to wear that day you won't have wet feet. There are a few options for waterproof socks out there but the Endura option is so close to a regular sock that there are no special considerations. Aside from a slight stiffness there's nothing to keep you from wearing them all day to stay dry during the limited time you are out on the bike.
Chrome 415 Workboot
- RRP: $150.00
- Sizes: 7-13
- Colorways: Black/Gum
- Pros: a stiff sole for pedaling efficiency, completely waterproof
- Cons: needs time to break in
I've been taking casual rides in Chrome branded shoes for close to 10 years. The 415 Workboot is another hard worker that looks great. Expect a little break in time before they are comfortable but once they get a little use, they will stand the test of time. For casual riding I find it easier not to clip in, the 415 Workboot does not have provisions for cleats. Instead, it features a stiff sole that keeps your pedaling plenty efficient and a sticky tread to keep you from slipping off the pedal. The bike specific details make for a great partner on the bike while a fashion forward design looks great the rest of the time.
Chrome Kovac Sling Bag
- RRP: $70.00
- Sizes: One Size
- Colorways: Black, Olive
- Pros: Useable as a waistpack or a sling bag, exterior straps for extra clothes
- Cons: lacks the signature Chrome buckle
For as long as I can remember Chrome branded bags were objects of desire. Symbols of the coolest, hippest, urban cyclists. I've collected a few over the years and they've always been amazing. As technology has progressed the need for traveling with a 15" laptop has fallen away. With capable tablets and phones there isn't as much need for a full-size bag. The Chrome Kavac Sling Bag fits the new need. Eschewing the space for a full-size laptop allows for a more comfortable riding experience. You can decide if you prefer a waist pack, or a sling pack, the Kovac works either way. All the longevity and dependability Chrome stands for but downsized for more modern needs.
What if nothing feels like your style?
I try to stay connected to what's stylish right now. Everyone has different ideas of what that means though. Consider this a brand guide as much as a guide to specific pieces. If you don't see exactly the item that fits your style click though anyway. Take a look at other offerings from the brands represented. Each of the brands sells other quality, thoughtful, items that might be a better fit for you.
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