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Sportive Training Guide Part 5 – Going Pro

Thursday, April 5th, 2018 9:27am
Category: Latest News

This isn’t a casual commute or a Sunday spin, this is a sportive, so it’s time to get into the spirit of the event with some decent pro-style kit.

The Hub’s definitive sportive training guide – Part 1

The Hub’s definitive sportive training guide – Part 2

The Hub’s definitive sportive training guide – Part 3

The Hub’s definitive sportive training guide – Part 4

The Hub’s definitive sportive training guide – Part 6

The Hub’s definitive sportive training guide – Part 7

The Hub’s definitive sportive training guide – Part 8

Would you turn up to a parkrun in a pair of Doc Martins? Would you enter a triathlon in a lounge suit? Would you address the gym’s squat rack in top hat and tails?

Well you could, but probably only once.

Our previous sportive guides have covered training, nutrition, techniques, tips, and etiquette, so now you’re physically and mentally prepared we’re going to look at how you can feel part of the road cycling community.

It’s easy to dismiss cycling clothing as an indulgent fad, but as we’ve mentioned before, quality gear provides a number of significant benefits in terms of performance, practicality, and how they make you feel.

Remember, sportives like The Fred Whitton Challenge, L’Etape du Tour, or Dragon Devil in Wales, can be extremely tough. Attempt these in tracksuit bottoms and polyester t-shirt and you’ll be in for a mangling. This is where quality gear can really make its mark.

Flattened seams and a race ready-fit reduces wind resistance, while specialist materials ensure warmth without the weight or the bulk. Venting and sweat-wicking properties will also keep you cool and dry. And don’t underestimate the necessity of a decent chamois for tackling those long miles.

There are practical advantages too. Thin fabrics allow you freedom of movement for an efficient technique, while pockets on the back of jerseys provide the perfect storage place for energy gels.

Then there are the mental advantages.

Looking like a cyclist will help make you feel part of the community, which is really what the sportive is all about.

Of course, if you’re determined to be a black sheep, there are ways to express your individuality within the parameters of the pro-cyclist look. However, if you still want to toss aside the long-established rigour of road cycling regalia, then know it’ll come at the cost of comfort and performance.

The road to looking good on the road

Wearing quality cycling kit is enough to overcome the practical and performance limitations of non-cycling-specific gear.

But at some point the practical must meet the aesthetic.

So before we go on, it should be pointed out that you can wear whatever the hell you want and ignore all the conventions of style.

Some people don’t give two, or even one, hoot about fashion. If that’s you, then great.

However, cycling has a long, rich tradition, while both the historical and modern sport has been graced by some of the most dedicated exponents of any pursuit in the world. It’s respect for that heritage that the well turned-out cyclist honours today.

So if you want to pay homage to those towering figures of fitness and finesse and you’re not sure how, then what follows is some practical advice.

Looking good isn’t as easy as picking different gear at random; a bit of planning and good taste goes a long way. There are also a number of long-standing dos and don’ts.


  • Wear a full team kit: Many cyclists proffer slavish support of one professional team or another, and wearing a pro team jersey with black shorts and socks is fine. But turning out head to toe in full replica kit isn’t quite cricket, especially if you don’t have the bike to match. There are two caveats: If the full pro kit is retro or it’s the kit of your club.
  • Mix different team kits: If you’re determined to wear a team kit, you may as well go for it all the way. Mixing kits, however, can be quite the eyesore for your fellow cyclists.
  • Wear all one colour: Considered matching of shades throughout your kit is encouraged, but turning out in one complete bloc – shorts, jersey, socks, shoes, shorts and helmet – is borderline hilarious. However, all black or dark grey with small contrasting details can be a winner.
  • Go aero: Aero helmets, suits, boots or gloves are strictly for time trials and elite triathletes. This kind of gear will attract strange looks at a sportive – and that goes for aero bars too.
  • Be a moving billboard: A few tasteful logos can look cool, but don’t overdo it, especially if you’re not being paid.


  • Express yourself: While there are pitfalls to avoid, there is a world of classy, vibrant, and eccentric cycling gear with which to explore and experiment. Whether you want ultra-cool and understated, or big, bold and attention-grabbing, expressing your personality is encouraged.
  • Go for quality: Shabby gear is a false economy. Unlike big brand fashion clothing, which is rarely built to last, cycling gear is tested literally to destruction by cyclists every day. Poor workmanship gets found out very quickly on the bike, so premium gear must produce the goods in terms of performance and durability.
  • Emulate the pros: While wearing a full pro-team kit will earn you a funny look from the peloton, emulating the style and spirit of the pro rider is advised.
  • Go retro: Retro gear is classy and always appreciated.

Getting suited up for your sportive

The Hub has scoured the latest cycling gear for spring summer 2018 and highlighted some of its top picks for your sportive clobber. We’ve also provided some advice on how to create your own slick sportive outfit.


Get the pro look: Match the colour of your lid with the bike itself for good results. Also, consider your helmet and eyewear as a combination. All things being equal, white helmets tend to be a tasteful choice.

MET Trenta Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition 2018

MET Strale Helmet 2018

The Hub’s expert pick

Bell Zephyr MIPS Helmet 2018 

The Bell Zephyr features a relaxed, aerodynamic style that is effortless yet impressive.

Shop helmets at Chain Reaction Cycles


Get the pro look: A proper cycling cap with peak up or down is a nice addition to your garb, and useful if you’ve got long locks to worry about. Subtlety is key here, and avoid wearing while off the bike.

Sportful Italia Cap

Castelli Performance Cycling Cap

The Hub’s expert pick

Alé UV Protection Sunny Cap SS17

The Alé sunny cap is a classic.

Shop cycling caps at Chain Reaction Cycles


Get the pro look: This is where you can do to town, especially if you’ve been conservative throughout the rest of your gear. It’s good practice to match the colour or of your jersey (or one of the colours) with a panel on your shorts, and or with the colour of your gloves or socks. If you’re yet to attain a whippet-like body shape and uncomfortable with the second-skin fitting of cycling jerseys, look for ‘club fit’ or ‘relaxed fit’ in the product description. It’s also ‘pro’ to keep a rain jacket or gillet rolled up neatly in the middle back pocket.

Sportful BodyFit Team Jersey SS18

Castelli Flusso Jersey SS18

The Hub’s expert pick

Nalini AHS Discesa Jersey SS18

Nalini’s pro-style designs for 2018 are outstanding, and this one caught our eye.

Shop cycling jerseys at Chain Reaction Cycles


Get the pro look: You don’t wear underwear under your Lycra shorts, let’s just get that out of the way. Go for dark colours, black is standard, while navy is enjoying a surge in popularity. Again, reflect the detail and panel colour in your jersey and ideally match the brands for that ‘pro’ look. Bib shorts are standard.

Nalini AHS Gregario Bib Shorts SS18

Sportful BodyFit Pro LTD Bib Shorts SS18

The Hub’s expert pick

Castelli Free Aero Race Bibshorts


Subtle, sharp, and built for performance, Castelli’s new Aero Race bib shorts are too good to overlook.

Shop cycling shorts at Chain Reaction Cycles


Get the pro look: Absolutely no football socks. Socks should be above the ankle but under the widest part of the calf. Again, reflecting the colour of the jersey can look great but there is flexibility here. Go white or black if unsure.

Castelli Podio Doppio 13 Socks SS18

Sportful BodyFit Pro 12 Socks SS18

The Hub’s expert pick

Nalini AHS Fulmine Socks SS18

Nalini is a well-respected brand throughout cycling circles and their quality socks look great on anyone’s feet.

Shop cycling socks at Chain Reaction Cycles


Get the pro look: No one expects you to have different shoes to match different outfits, so flexibility is generally exercised. If your shoes are black, at least they’ll match your shorts. White shoes, however, tend to look good with everything. MTB shoes are a hard no on the road bike.

Fizik R1 Infinito Road Shoe 2018

Giro Empire ACC Reflective Road Shoes

The Hub’s Expert Pick

Sidi Shot Carbon SPD-SL Road Shoe 2018
Sidi has done it again this season with these sensational shoes.
Shop road cycling shoes at Chain Reaction Cycles


Get the pro look: Gloves are by no means a must-have, but they do have a certain ‘pro’ zing to them, especially if finger-less. They should generally be a continuation of your jersey’s colour scheme, match your shoes, or be black.

Castelli Circuito Gloves SS18

Assos summer Gloves_s7 2017

The Hub’s expert pick

Sportful BodyFit Team Gloves SS18

Sportful’s Bodyfit gloves come in a variety of different colour combinations and can work with any kit.

Shop cycling gloves at Chain Reaction Cycles


Get the pro look: The frames of your eyewear should match your helmet, as mentioned above, but beyond that the eyewear world is your oyster. Feel free to experiment with styles, shapes and lens colours. The one rule is that they should always be on the outside of your helmet straps.

Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm Road Sunglasses

100% Speedtrap Sunglasses

The Hub’s expert pick

POC DO Blade AVIP Sunglasses

The POC DO Blade AVIP sunglass are among the sharpest in the market.

Shop eyewear at Chain reaction Cycles

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