Kit guides

Cycling kit essentials: a go-to guide

Whether you’re just getting into cycling, or looking to expand your cycling wardrobe – knowing what you kit you need can be a bit overwhelming. Should you get a road cycling jersey or a mountain bike one? Do you even need a specific cycling top in the first place or will that cotton gym top do the trick? And let’s not even go down the rabbit hole (or should that be fox den) that is cycling shorts!

It that sounds familiar – don’t panic, Vixen. We’ve got you covered! Our go-to guide to the cycling kit basics for warm weather riding will have you kitted out with what you need and ready to make the most of your time out on the bike this summer. No ‘what to wear’ wardrobe dilemmas. No stress. Just ride all day comfort and a whole world of adventures to go and explore on two wheels.

Why do I need a cycling jersey?

First and foremost, a cycling jersey is all about comfort while you’re riding. Whether you opt for a road jersey or a mountain bike jersey (more on the differences in a moment!) you’ll generally find that they’re constructed from technical fabrics which are lightweight, breathable and quick drying. That means when the weather is warm, or you’re working up a sweat while you’re making your way up a hill, you’re not going to get that horrible t-shirt sticking to your back feeling that you’d get wearing a regular, cotton top. And, if the breeze picks up or you’ve got a long descent to cruise down – you’re not going to have a soggy, sweaty t-shirt making you chilly. Put simply, cycling-specific kit is designed to keep you at the optimal temperature while you ride.

Not only that, cycling tops are also cut to be comfortable to wear when you’re in the riding position. Your posture when you’re on the bike versus off the bike is going to be pretty different. By choosing a cycling-specific jersey or top, you won’t have sleeves which get really tight around your shoulders while you’re reaching for the handle bars, or annoying fabric bunching up around your waist while you ride.

Should I choose a road cycling jersey or a mountain bike jersey?

Choosing between a road cycling jersey and a mountain biking jersey comes down to a combination of preference, and your cycling goals. A road cycling jersey is typically designed to fit closely to your body to offer better aerodynamic performance. This close fit means that you won’t have excess fabric flapping about in the wind which creates drag and slows you down, meaning you’ll have to pedal harder to ride faster. A close-fitting road cycling jersey will help you to fly through the air that bit quicker, for less effort. Ideally, you want to look out for road jerseys which offer 4-way stretch so the fit is close yet comfortable. Road cycling jerseys also usually have a few pockets on the back of them, which is ideal for carrying essentials like your phone and keys if you don’t want to have to wear a backpack.

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IRIS Women’s SS Jersey Mayaland

£88.00
Dive deep into Mayaland through the sapphire waves and towards the golden sand. As you float further down, myriad fish wind around you in all directions, flicking their fins with colourful confidence. The sunlight glints and highlights the intricacies of the coral reef, each section uniquely formed. You want to stay here, float free forever in this magical Mayaland.
Stolen Goat women's arcadia pink and rainbow stripe cycling jersey with black side panels
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Stolen Goat Arcadia Ibex Bodyline Jersey

£80.00
Classic stripes, with a Stolen Goat twist. With it’s stunning candyfloss pink and rainbow stripe design, the Arcadia short-sleeved cycling jersey is here to help you stand out from the crowd. Because life is too short for boring cycling jerseys! Brighten up every ride – adventure your way, and do it in style. The Stolen Goat Arcadia Ibex Bodyline jersey is a lightweight short-sleeved cycling jersey, made from premium quality materials with 4-way stretch and 2-way breathability. SG's classic bodyline fit sits close to the body, without feeling restrictive. Offering the perfect balance of comfort and performance, so you can keep the miles coming. Three easy to reach rear pockets keep the essentials handy, while the large water-resistant zipped 4th pocket (now big enough to fit a phone) keeps the important stuff safe and sound. Add in small but mighty reflective detailing and aero sleeves that will have you riding like a pro… and you’ve got everything you need to make the most of every ride. Also available as a matching gilet and cycling cap. Scroll down for more details…
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VeloVixen Bodyline Jersey – Poppy Blaze

£55.00
The VeloVixen Poppy Blaze short sleeve women’s cycling jersey is a strikingly original and graphic on a provenly premium jersey

Mountain biking jerseys tend to offer a looser, less performance-focused fit. They’re designed for off-road rides where you’re less likely to be focusing on riding fast, and instead exploring trails and kicking up the mud. Some mountain biking jerseys will have a pocket, but on the whole you’ll find they tend to be closer to a technical t-shirt as typically they’re worn with shorts with pockets (or a backpack).

Stolen Goat Zion mountain bike jersey with blue gradient fade design
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Stolen Goat Zion MTB Short Sleeved Jersey

£40.00
Featuring a stunning blue gradient fade design, the Stolen Goat Zion MTB jersey will inspire you to get out and ride the routes less ridden! This is a lightweight and breathable women’s short-sleeved mountain biking jersey, offering a relaxed fit for ultimate comfort on all your off-road rides. Pair with the Stolen Goat women’s mountain biking shorts and you’re ready to go explore!
Stolen Goat women's olive gravel jersey technical tee style with half zip front and stolen goat logo at the chest
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Stolen Goat Olive Gravel Jersey

£50.00
Introducing the NEW Stolen Goat women’s olive gravel jersey. Perfect for gravel rides, off-road explores, bikepacking adventures… or just the morning commute. Made from lightweight, technical fabric with anti-odour properties for multiple wears, this short-sleeved women’s gravel jersey is the perfect option for riders who prefer a more casual cycling look – without compromising on comfort. Also available in Maroon and Light Blue. Pair with the Stolen Goat gravel shorts. Scroll down for more details…
Stolen Goat women's Topo mountain bike jersey black short sleeved jersey with orange topographical design and white central stolen goat logo
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Stolen Goat Topo MTB Short Sleeved Jersey

£40.00
Find your Freedom and explore the routes less ridden with the Stolen Goat Topo MTB jersey. With it’s awesome black and orange topographical design, this jersey will inspire you to discover new horizons on all your off road rides! This is a lightweight short-sleeved women’s mountain biking jersey, offering a relaxed and casual fit for ultimate freedom of movement when your tearing up the trails. Wear yours with some of the Stolen Goat MTB shorts for adventure-ready style.

All that being said, there’s no real rule that says you can’t wear a mountain bike jersey while you’re riding on a road bike! If your focus is just enjoying the ride, so speed/performance isn’t as much of a priority, and you feel more comfortable in a looser fitting jersey – there’s nothing stopping you from choosing a mountain bike jersey for your road cycling adventures.

How do I stop cycling from hurting my bum quite so much? Let’s talk cycling shorts!

There’s nothing quite like sore hindquarters to ruin a bike ride. One of the first things that most of us learned when we started cycling was the importance of good cycling shorts! You might feel a bit like a toddler in a nappy at first, but wearing shorts or underpants with a sewn-in pad (known as a chamois pad) will provide you with protection and support from all the bumps out on the road or the trails. For female riders, it’s important to look for cycling shorts/underpants which have a women’s-specific chamois pad. Our anatomy is different to our male riding buddies, and that means we need padding which is tailored to give us support where we need it – without a load of excess fabric which can then cause chafing and saddle sores.  

Here at VeloVixen, we have a few different options to help you keep your undercarriage happy when you’re out on the bike:

Padded shorts vs padded underpants

Padded cycling shorts are your ‘all-in-one’ option. Like a road cycling jersey, padded cycling shorts tend to be close fitting and are made from high stretch fabric so that the padded section can sit right where it needs to and you haven’t got excess material flapping about in the breeze.

If you prefer to wear a looser fitting short, or if you want something that you can wear under your regular clothes for the shorter commutes or the quick pootles down to the pub – our much-loved padded cycling knickers are a great option! Offering a more discreet option, they’ll have you riding like a pro… but keeping it on the down low.

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VeloVixen Padded Cycling Knickers – Teal Stars

£42.00
VeloVixen’s padded cycling knickers are the perfect option for those rides where you want the comfort of a chamois pad,
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VeloVixen Padded Cycling Knickers – Rapida

£42.00
VeloVixen’s padded cycling knickers are the perfect option for those rides where you want the comfort of a chamois pad,

Bib shorts vs non-bib shorts

Okay first things first – what the fox are bib shorts!? Bib shorts are cycling shorts which have straps designed to be worn over your shoulders (creating a ‘bib’ on your torso). Non-bib shorts are well… cycling shorts without the bib part! Non-bibs are a bit more like a traditional pair of shorts with a waistband.

There are pros and cons to both options, and choosing between bib shorts or non-bib shorts will really come down to personal preference. The great thing about bib shorts is that the straps keep your shorts neatly in place (so if your cycling jersey rides up you don’t have to worry about any potential *ahem* full moon incidents), and the bib section also doubles up as a base layer underneath your jersey to help keep you at the optimal temperature. With no waistband to worry about, you also don’t have anything to dig in around your tummy. The only real downside to bib shorts is that they can make loo breaks that bit more difficult because you’ll have to take your cycling jersey off to get the straps down so you can answer nature’s call. It’s not too much of a problem if you’re stopping off at a café… but it can get a bit tricky if you’re caught short and a weeing in the wild is your only option! Thankfully, plenty of brands are now offering a ‘drop seat’ option in their women’s bib shorts now (with features such as a zip or a section that can be unhooked) which make going to the loo without having to get in the nude that bit easier.

Non-bib shorts take the going to the loo conundrum out of the equation, and they’re a particularly great option if you’re heading off on a long ride or a bikepacking trip where you’ll be wearing your shorts for an extended period of time and potentially having to make a few pitstops on the fly. Non-bibs are also an ideal alternative if you don’t like the feeling of having bib straps across your chest and shoulders. Taller riders who’ve struggled to find bib shorts that aren’t too short/restrictive in the straps may prefer non-bibs – though we’ve got it on good authority from some of the wonderful women in the VeloVixen women’s cycling chat Facebook group that the IRIS Escape women’s bib shorts (which feature a slightly longer leg length) are great for taller ladies.

Ultimately the ‘to bib or not to bib’ debate comes down to what you feel most comfortable in and what’s going to be the most practical for the type of riding you have planned!

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IRIS Escape Women’s Bib Shorts Forest Pine

£148.00
The Escape bib short features two cargo mesh pockets with reflective piping for all your necessary and unnecessary adventure essentials. Complete with a magnetic closure system for quick and easy pee stops.
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Stolen Goat Core Shorts (no-bib) – Black

£85.00
Stolen Goat’s Core Bibless cycling shorts bring together the very best of their famously popular bib shorts range with the

What about cycling accessories – what’s a “need to have” and what’s a “nice to have”?

So you’ve got the basics covered: Comfortable cycling shorts, a top or a jersey that keeps you at the optimal temperature (and makes you feel great!), a helmet, something to wear on your feet (we’ll discuss cycling shoes versus trainers another time) and of course… your bike. But what about accessories? The clue is in the name here: accessories aren’t strictly essential – but they can be a great way to dial up your comfort levels, and add a splash of style to your cycling ensemble. It might sound silly, but it’s amazing how much a fresh pair of brightly coloured cycling socks can boost your mood out on the bike!

When you’re just getting started with cycling, the two main accessories we’d recommend you treat yourself to are some cycling mitts and a pair of cycling sunglasses.

Cycling mitts, for warm weather riding at least, are usually fingerless gloves (so you’ve still got dexterity and your hands don’t overheat) with strategically placed padding on the palms. This padding helps to reduce any discomfort from the various rumbles and vibrations you’ll feel through your handle bars out on the road. Cycling mitts are typically made from a slightly ‘grippy’ material which helps to keep you feeling secure on your handle bars, particularly in wet conditions. While we all aim to stay upright while we’re riding, should you take a tumble your cycling mitts will also protect your hands from getting grazed by the road surface. We really like the mitts our sibling brand, Stolen Goat, offer – the slip on style means there’s no annoying Velcro fastening to scratch at your wrists or wreck your other kit if you pop them in the washing machine together.

Stolen Goat Remix mitts pink and black
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Stolen Goat Remix Mitts

£25.00
Mix it up with the Remix cycling mitts! Featuring a striking pink and black abstract design, these mitts will take your cycling style to the next level. Lightweight and super stretchy for the perfect fit, these cycling mitts feature strategically placed pads and a grippy, anti-slip palm to keep you feeling comfortable and in control on all your rides.
Stolen Goat Anaheim mitts pink and blue pattern
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Stolen Goat Anaheim Mitts

£25.00
Keep your hands comfy and your cycling style on point with the Stolen Goat Anaheim cycling mitts. Lightweight and super stretchy for the perfect fit, these cycling mitts feature strategically placed pads and a grippy, anti-slip palm to keep you feeling comfortable and in control on all your rides.
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Stolen Goat Cycling Mitts – Osaka

£25.00
Stolen Goat cycling gloves combine cotton with microfibre. The result? Classy, generously padded, exceptionally comfortable mitts suitable for the longest

When you’re riding on the road, you can have all manner of muck, stones and insects flying at your face – which is where a pair of cycling sunglasses can really be a gamechanger. No one likes the dreaded ‘fly in the eye’ situation, and wearing a pair of glasses on the bike can reduce the chances of that. Cycling-specific sunglasses will be made with high quality lenses designed to offer optimal UV protection, while maximising visibility out on the road. The last thing you want is to hit a pothole because the sun’s glare has compromised your vision! They’ll also be equipped with anti-fog technology and an anti-slip nose piece – so if you’re working up a sweat, your glasses won’t steam up or slip down.

We’d say those are the two main essentials to keep you safe and comfy on all your rides. But we’d definitely recommend treating yourself to a few pairs of cycling socks too – they’ll keep your feet at the optimal temperature (because let’s face it, fromagey-feet just aren’t what we’re here for)… and they look cool! Some folks out there in the cycling world will try and tell you there’s all sorts of rules about what length your socks have to be, whether you’re allowed to match them to your kit and goodness knows what else. But we say: your ride, your style. Mix it up or go full matchy-matchy. Whatever puts a smile on your face!

Stolen Goat pink misty cycling socks bright pink with rainbow stripe at ankle
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Stolen Goat Misty Ibex Cycling Socks

£15.00
Keep your feet fresh and your cycling style on point with the Stolen Goat Misty lightweight cycling socks. With their popping pink colourway, these breathable and fast-drying cycling socks will have you dancing on the pedals, mile after mile. Scroll down for more details…
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Stolen Goat Pattern Socks – Predator Green

£15.00
The Stolen Goat printed socks have been manufactured to the same high standard as the rest of their clothing range.

So there we have it, Vixens. A go-to guide for the cycling essentials to have you riding happy on all your warm weather adventures and explores. Feel free to share this with any of your friends who are just getting into cycling – the more Vixens in the Fox Den, the merrier! Stay tuned for our guide to winter cycling kit once the seasons start to change and in the meantime – if you need any further guidance make sure you join the VeloVixen Facebook group, filled with women of all abilities who will always be happy to give you some advice.