Are You Guilty of These 7 Cycling Fashion Faux Pas?

Cyclist with ripped pants versus cyclist with stylish pants

This post may contain affiliate links, which help to keep Discerning Cyclist rolling. Learn more.

Like it or not, cycling has its own set of fashion rules.

And it’s just as well because what use is conquering that incline if you can’t do it in style?

While it’s a great opportunity to express your clearly unique and quirky character, there are some no-go’s regarding how you choose to dress.

This article will look at the top 7 fashion Faux Pas in cycling. Now, you can’t say we didn’t warn you.

Cycling fashion aero gear

1. Aero Everything

In the elite levels of racing, everything is done to reduce air resistance. And that doesn’t just mean with the bike.

Skin suits and aero helmets designed for professionals are not intended for your weekend ride out of the city. While you might shave a few fractions of a second off your times, you’ll also look like a xenomorph in the process. 

They also sacrifice ventilation at the expense of aerodynamics, meaning that when you pick up that flat white at the end of your ride, you’re likely to arrive at a sweaty mess. 

For everyday cycling, prioritize comfort and not speed. You’re not in the velodrome.

Cycling with torn pants

2. Worn Out Shorts

All clothing has a life cycle, and cycling gear especially has a tough time.

Stretching and flexing constantly as you pedal, as well as bearing the brunt of the saddle friction, cycling shorts are nothing short of a miracle when it comes to riding.

That being said, while they may be comfortable for you, they’ll reach a point when you need to replace them. Just because they’re still holding together doesn’t mean that everyone behind you isn’t treated to an intimate view of where the sun doesn’t shine.

If you think it’s time to buy another pair, it almost definitely is. If not, don’t be surprised if you get some funny looks or a quiet word.

A cyclist wearing plastic bags over their shoes

3. Plastic Bags Over Your Shoes

We’ve all been guilty of it. 

Wanting to protect our shoes against mud or rain is a legitimate concern. But let’s be honest, it’s a makeshift solution.

Wearing plastic bags over your feet might protect your shoes, but as they accumulate moisture and offer no breathability, they’re not protecting the noses of your colleagues, friends, or family. 

In addition to this, not only do they look ridiculous, but they could significantly affect the grip and stability of your feet on the pedals. The slippery conditions inside and out of the bags will ultimately compromise your control.

Instead, consider investing in proper cycling shoe covers or even waterproof socks for a more long-term measure.

branded yellow jersey

4. Overdoing It with the Branding

We’ve all got our favorite brands, and adorning their clothes and logos is a great way to feel like you’re part of a community of like-minded individuals who all wear exactly the same thing.

That being said, there are limits. With your look in mind, overdoing it when it comes to wearing big-name cycling gear is pretty tacky. 

We all want to express our identity, feel comfortable, and get the nod of approval from other cyclists, but too many logos can be an aesthetic overload. Spare the rest of us with the visual bombardment.

Whilst we’re on the subject, don’t wear a pros kit, this isn’t football. Don’t ask us why, but it’s a tad cringeworthy when it comes to cycling. And don’t even get us started on the yellow jersey. If you haven’t earned it, don’t wear it.

Cycling overdoing it with reflective gear

5. Reflective Gear Everywhere

When we’re out on the bike, we all want to be seen, admittedly some of us more than others.

Sorry, we meant to say that safety is paramount, and remaining visible to other road users, especially cars, is crucial for an enjoyable ride.

Reflective accessories and clothes are great but can quickly be too much. If it’s covering your entire cycling ensemble, it’s overwhelming and distracting. The idea is to assert your presence, not scream it to the rest of the world. 

Just because you can buy reflective vests, bands, stickers, and components doesn’t mean that you should wear them all at once. It looks cluttered, and it’s overkill.

Pick a few decent reflective items to wear, wear them strategically, and don’t wear them all during the day. 

Cyclist wearing vintage

6. Overdoing Vintage

It’s good that we do our bit to help the environment. Buying brand-new cycling gear every other week is wasteful and costly.

Vintage, or even just second-hand cycling apparel, is great in this regard. The pieces are usually fun, colorful, and not something you see daily.

But there are rules to follow. Combining vintage elements from different eras without any cohesion looks disjointed and ugly. 

They also shouldn’t be vintage at the expense of comfort or performance. Remember, vintage pieces for accentuation and flair are a win, but best not to wear them as a costume. 

Cyclist wearing lots of tech

7. Too Techy

Over the last few years, there’s been an explosion in the popularity of gadgets in sports, and cycling is no exception. Incorporating them can enhance functionality and enjoyment, but there’s a fine, unspoken line between practicality and overload.

Wearing excessive distracting wearable devices, such as the latest smartwatch, fitness tracker, and headset, can give you a bit of a robotic appearance. 

This also applies to helmets, where mounting too many devices like cameras and lights does more harm than good.

We’re sorry to say it, but gadgets can’t compensate for training. Spend more time on your bike and less time worrying about the latest technology. 

By all means, invest in good equipment, but don’t shell out your whole paycheck on it. After all, you don’t want to look like you’re the one with all the gear and no idea.

At the end of the day, as Bike-Mag point out, the only real faux-pas is shaming others for how they’re dressed. Who cares if they don’t have the latest gear?

If you’re having a good time on your bike, wear what you please.

Take the cycling seriously, not what you look like.

Share the 🚲 Love

Discerning Cyclist Store

Visit the Discerning Cyclist's Shop

Ride in style

Join our weeky newsletter to get early access to our latest discoveries.

Related reads