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Do We Really Need Cycle-Specific Clothing?

By Christopher Ashley

I’ve reached that stage in life where I put on my bib tights, look in the full-length bedroom mirror, and instead of a Froome-like physique staring back at me, it’s a pregnant frog in a Rapha jacket. It’s time I grew up. What’s the worst that could happen riding in normal clothes?


Many clothing companies now offer cycle-specific trousers that look like jeans. But what’s wrong with wearing actual jeans? Apparently, there’s a condition called crotch blowout which, believe it or not, is perfectly safe for you to Google. Here’s a picture of a blown-out crotch.

But, rubbing jeans against a saddle until they fall apart is only part of the story. Cotton is, actually, very resilient – but wears out quicker if bacteria feeding on sweat isn’t dealt with quickly. Keep a few pairs of jeans in rotation and wash them regularly. Who doesn’t work up a sweat on a bike…?


The socks are quite possibly the most underrated and most important bits of cycling kit and you should never, ever, ever wear cycling-specific socks. Because non-specific cycling socks are way better. To be precise, my go-to brand were Gammarelli, as favoured by The Catholic Clergy.

Trust me, when you get on a bike wearing these socks, you’ll feel closer to God – even if you’re not religious. Gammarelli’s mix of Merino and polyester helps to regulate temperature while making these exceptionally hard wearing. Watch Sportive Cyclist explain why merino is the best:

So, these socks out-perform the best technical cycling socks. And Gammarelli’s black socks stay black no matter how many times you wash them, making them ideal for priest work – as well as properly matching either your black jeans or bib-tights. Thank God for Gammarelli.