Know your apparel with Joanna Dobinson and Helderberg Cycle World

Helderberg Cycle World

I’m sure you have noticed a move towards riders wearing looser fitting clothing of late. South African riders are so far behind European and American riders with this trend, but baggies, longer socks, helmets with more coverage, long sleeve riding tops and flat shoes with flat pedals are being spotted on the trails more frequently these days.

I raced super light bikes and wore lycra for 16 years before ‘seeing the light’ so to speak. Yes, aero is everything! It’s been proven, that even your ponytail should be braided to shave off precious seconds if you are gunning for podium positions! Fashion is important to us girls, but clothing needs to be functional too. Racing snakes in the XC and marathon scene need to be in lycra, but that does not mean that you need to be!

Why Baggies? – Yes, so you think baggies are not attractive on an average size or larger size lady, but is lycra really any better? Baggies act as a second skin, so they prevent gravel rash if you fall.

Specialized baggies have a detachable lining with super comfortable chammy as well as the SWAT integrated system. You can store spares and your credit card in the lining under your baggies, at the side of your thigh, and not in your back pocket. This is not only safer when you fall, but more comfortable.

Trail tops – Long sleeves prevent sunburn and also protect you from gravel rash if you fall. They are slightly warmer, but in summer, just add short sleeves!

Long socks – You can’t go out riding these days unless you have the cute socks right? Haha, they are fun and trendy, act as protection when small rocks come up and bite you on the shin, or a thorn bush grabs you! I’m always surprised at how much my socks protect my legs – the longer the sock the better! So what about that stupid tan? We all know that we actually dig it right, lets just face it, it comes with the territory – own it!

Full finger gloves – I haven’t worn short gloves in over 5 years.  Full finger gloves may be a little warmer, but they provide you with incredible protection and the right glove is ventilated correctly to prove maximum protection and comfort.

Trail helmets: Tail Helmets are larger, and have a visor to protect your temples and have more coverage at the rear to keep you safer from big knocks. The visor projects you from sun and rain. A ponytail port also keeps your helmet straight and super snug!

Jo and Roxy in full trail gear Photo credit: Parick Aubert de la Ruee

Flat shoes – Flat shoes and a proper flat pedal is one of the best things that you can do to improve your riding! Being a skills coach, I encourage you to fit flat pedals and invest in a good pair of flat shoes. They will increase your confidence on the trail because you won’t be so scared of not being able to unclip! You will also improve your pedal stroke, corner like a queen and learn to bunny hop and jump with the correct technique!  Just remember to drop your heels to keep proper contact with the pedal on descents. Helderberg Cycle World have amazing shoes called 2FO’s as well as numerous pedals for you to choose from.

Cleated shoes give more power on the climbs and have their advantages if you are doing long distances and are competitive, but give flats shoes with the right pedal a try – I reckon you will be amazed at what you experience! I spend most of the time in my cleated shoes and definitely race in them, but then every so often I fit flats to improve my technique.

Then when I get back into cleats I fly and have even better technique!  Spoil yourself with some ladies specific trail gear! You will not only look stylish, but feel protected and super comfy, whilst celebrating life on your bike!

Be sure to check the Specialized apparel at Helderberg Cycle World, 7 The Hub, Urtel Cres, Somerset Mall, Somerset West or call 021 850 0082.

Article by Joanna Dobinson 

For more information contact 074 169 4376  or visit

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