You’ve bought your shiny new stationary bike, and feeling ready to rock your ride...but wait, what will you wear? The age-old question: what should you wear for indoor cycling? I’m here to talk you through the basics of indoor cycling essentials from apparel to accessories, so you don’t have to sweat it (literally).
When indoor cycling, ideally, you’ll want to think about three factors to determine your ideal outfit of choice:
- Temperature: Remember, you’re indoors so no need to bundle up. Short-sleeved or sleeveless tops and shorts will be ideal for most indoor cyclists.
- Functionality: Choose sweat-wicking gear designed to reduce chafing and won’t get in the way of your movement while on your cycle bike.
- Comfort: Aerodynamics isn’t a concern with indoor cycling, so whether compression or loose fit, choose what you feel most comfortable wearing.
There are plenty of cycling apparel options out there designed to keep you feeling at your best throughout your workout. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s up to you to pick the elements of your outfit that fit your comfort and needs.
1. Indoor Cycling Tops
When it comes to cycling tops, there’s a wide variety of options out there to choose from. Most people cycling indoors will likely err on the side of being too warm than too cold. Short sleeved or sleeveless tops will be ideal for most indoor cyclists to prevent overheating and keep you nice and cool throughout your workout. You can always wear a light jacket for warming up and remove it when you’re warmed up and ready to lay on the speed.
When it comes to the fit and material - look for form-fitting designs made of sweat-wicking material. This will ensure you stay dry and comfortable and keep your clothing out of the way throughout your workout. With an indoor cycle bike, you luckily don’t need to worry about loose pants getting stuck in the spokes or any other unfortunate mishaps if loose fit clothing is your preference; however, again it’s nice to keep clothing out of the way if you’re hoping to put your best performance forward in a cycling session.
If you participate in outdoor cycling, and already have cycling gear such as cycling jerseys, you’re welcome to wear them for indoor cycling sessions. However, it is absolutely not necessary to purchase cycling jerseys simply for indoor cycling, and there are plenty of other affordable and comfortable options out there to choose from. Find something that’s comfortable to you based on the tips above, and you will be dialed in and good to go!
Ladies, let’s talk about sports bras before moving on (gentlemen, feel free to breeze through to the next section). It’s absolutely essential to find something both supportive and comfortable. The wrong sports bra can contribute to discomfort while cycling and distract from your overall performance during your ride. Find a sports bra that fits well and you feel great in, so you have nothing to worry about but going for the gold during your ride.
2. Indoor Cycling Bottoms
I get this question at least a few times a week from new Sunny cyclists! When first dipping your toes into indoor cycling, many may not realize that a standard performance seat on an indoor cycle bike is pretty hard. Some seats may have a slight cushion to them or be a bit wider or softer than others; but, in general, they’re designed for quick changes - in and out of the seat, and all-out pedaling. And most new cyclists will experience sore sit bones for the first few weeks until they build up a tolerance to their seat. Just know, this soreness is totally normal and will go away!
While getting used to it, many cyclists enjoy padded shorts for a bit more protection and comfort when cycling. Padded cycling shorts are soft and smooth and designed to protect from any saddle discomfort you may experience and reduce chafing. They’re an awesome option to have in your regular outfit rotation!
For others, regular cycling shorts will be just fine. Ideally, compression shorts will help to once again reduce friction or chafing at the seams in comparison to loose-fit clothing. If you prefer loose-fit shorts, you may benefit from a combo short that includes a compression base layer, with loose-fit shorts on top.
Do you need to wear underwear under your shorts? Nope, in fact, cycling shorts were designed to be worn without underwear, as underwear seams can contribute to chafing. However, if you prefer that extra underwear lining, look for cycling underwear which is designed for wear under your cycling gear!
3. Indoor Cycling Shoes
I could write an entire article on cycling shoes (which I did, and you can find it here). For the purposes of this article, I’ll go over the basics. When cycling indoors you have plenty of options from wearing regular training shoes or cycling shoes or adding cleats to your cycling shoes to clip in.
Regardless of what type of shoe you plan to wear, look for something light and breathable, with a nice stiff sole to both protect your vulnerable midfoot area, as well as for a more efficient cycling experience.
If you plan to use pedals with toe cages, you can use your regular training shoes if the sole is rigid enough to provide enough support and protection during cycling, and you feel comfortable in them. You can also upgrade to a flat cycling shoe, or one that comes without a cleat connection.
Clipping in during cycling can offer a more stable, secure, and powerful ride. If you’re ready to take that next step, and clip in while cycling, it’s important to note that any Sunny Cycle Bike that offers the option to clip in is equipped with SPD-compatible pedals. This means when looking for cycling shoes and cleats, you’ll want to search for those that are SPD-compatible. Cleats are typically installed separately and do not come with the shoe, so be sure to pick those up as well.
Let’s talk accessories! I’m all about getting the accessories you need for your best workout experience possible. I mean you’re already investing in the bike and the right clothes to get you there, may as well go the extra mile. I don’t know about you, but over time little annoyances and distractions in my environment can eventually lead to excuses not to work out on my worst days. If you’re like me, set yourself up for total success and get the accessories you need to be comfortable and effective.
4. Cycling Gloves
Cycling gloves are more of a personal comfort choice than a necessity. Outdoor cycling may be one thing, but for indoor cyclists, the handlebars are just there for balance. I always remind throughout my classes to keep a light grip on those handlebars and focus on using your core and legs to power the ride.
For some, they may prefer the grip that gloves provide during their sessions. To me, that’s a personal preference! If you want to wear cycling gloves go for it; if you don’t, it’s totally fine too – you don’t need them for a successful ride.
5. Indoor Fan
Keeping a fan accessible for your workout space is always a nice touch. A small fan with a clip is great for clipping straight onto the handlebars of your bike and will provide direct airflow during an indoor cycling workout. A large room fan can also be nice as well, especially if you enjoy participating in boot camp classes where you’re on and off your bike throughout a workout.
6. Sweat Towel
A sweat towel for some may be a nice touch, while for others is a pure necessity. This is always something I would recommend, not only for when you’re really pushing yourself during a workout, and need that towel off, but also to wipe your bike frame of any sweat after your workout to avoid corrosion. Wiping your equipment down after use is a great daily cycle bike maintenance practice to keep your workout space clean and sanitary.
Think about it, at a gym they have someone who sanitizes the workout equipment regularly, or if in a studio between every class. A clean workout environment is ideal for your health and performance. After use, be sure to throw your towel in the laundry and use a clean one the next day.
7. Device Holder
If your bike didn’t come with a device holder and you’d like to follow along with workout videos or listen to music while cycling a device holder can make your cycling experience a lot more convenient. There are tons of options out there from standing desk type set ups to clip-ons that fit on your handlebars. I personally love this Universal Bike Mount Clamp which can fit everything from a regular smartphone to a tablet and has an easy-to-use notch adapter that can be tightened to fit on any bike handlebar set up. Shop around and find something you’re really going to like and use for a long time to come!
8. Lightweight Dumbbells
Last but not least, lightweight dumbbells are a must for your cycling collection! While you may not take Cycling/Strength Fusion classes often, they’re a great way to mix up your indoor cycling routine. I’d recommend getting a small variety of weights - from 2-3 lb, 5 lb, and 10 lb dumbbells. Depending on the class, you’ll want to make sure you have the right amount of weight to challenge you. If your bike doesn’t have a dumbbell holder, you can always purchase a dumbbell holder as an add-on for your bike!