A cycling jersey is a specialized shirt designed specifically for cycling. While most cyclists will wear conventional clothing, a cycling jersey offers advantages for everyone. You do not need to be a road racer to benefit.
These jerseys are:
- cut long in the back to accommodate the bent-over riding position, keeping the lower back warm
- cut long in the neck to keep the neck warm as well
- zippered, sometimes the full length, to enable the rider to cool off easily when needed
- usually worn tight to reduce resistance
- made of materials that wick moisture away from the body
- equipped with 3 pockets in the back
These 3 pockets are the most important feature. They are easily reached by either hand when riding and over the years have been used for a wide variety of items. Before the technological advances made with saddle paks and tools, riders would stuff spare tubes, tires, tools, water bottles, snacks of all sorts and whatever else they may have needed into them.
Oh, how things have changed. Generally, I carry 4 items in my pockets keeping in mind that I have the necessities already in my saddle pak and that I am usually only out for a few hours at a time:
- Banana. Bananas provide exceptional nutrition. They support muscles and nerves with potassium, help lower bad cholesterol with soluble fiber and, in addition to basic vitamins and minerals, they’re a great source of vitamin C. And, they are filling, sustaining and easily consumed.
- Compact camera. You may have noticed. I like images. And, when I ride I am continually innundated with visual images that provoke and inspire me. Every ride is memorable and deserves to be recorded. It is a challenge to not keep stopping during a training ride to capture an image, especially if I am travelling quiet, rural roads. I make a point of stopping once to eat the banana and take a shot.
- Cell phone. Just for emergencies. I often ride alone and long distances from home. I turn the ringer off and do not check for mesages until I am done.
- House key. So I can get back into the house.
One day, I may upgrade my cell phone with one that supports an HD camera to lighten the load further.
I travel light compared to many. The following video illustrates the wide variety of items cyclists pack into their jersey pockets and the types of problems they try to anticipate on the road. The bottom line – be prepared.
What do you carry in your pockets?