If you’ve just started cycling, you have probably underestimated the importance of your top. Like many other inexperienced cyclers, you probably assume that since the top is the part that does not touch the bike, you do not need to invest in a quality jersey. If you have been cycling for a while, you know exactly how important a jersey can be.
A jersey needs to absorb sweat and wick it away, because that’s how you cool down. The act of sweating, however, does not actually cool you off. You cool off because your body uses some of its heat to heat up the water on your skin. When it evaporates, it takes some of your body heat with it too, which reduces your body temperature.
However, if your jersey does not help wick sweat away from you for the purpose of evaporation, you will not cool down. You’ll just continue sweating and your jersey will just get wetter and wetter. Plus, you’ll start to chafe, which should be the last thing you want.
The Pain of Chafing
Chafing occurs any time there is repeated skin irritation, typically caused by something rough rubbing against the same point of skin over and over until the skin is rubbed raw. This becomes a more significant danger if your cycling jerseys do not wick away sweat. When your shirt material is wet with sweat, it gets heavier and hangs closer to your skin. That means it will create more pressure when you are cycling and when it is rubbing against you.
While the added weight of sweat might not seem like much, it adds up over the course of a bicycle ride. Furthermore, sweat has salt and other minerals dissolved in it. That means there are tiny crystals of salt in your sweat; they will condense on your jersey and add to its coarseness. It does not take long for this to produce considerable discomfort.
A moisture-wicking material needs to be lightweight. It should be made from state of the art fibres that allow your skin to breathe as well as allow moisture to pass through. Cotton is great for a lot of different purposes, but it is not great for this. Cotton allows air to pass through, but it is too absorbent, it soaks up the moisture of your sweat and does not allow it to evaporate quickly.
Instead, you need a material like a polyester blend. While that sounds like it would be even worse than cotton, polyester has undergone many innovations since its invention. Some of the best jerseys are made from synthetic materials that combine the softness and breathability of cotton with the moisture wicking of synthetics. They allow you the best of both worlds.
However, to find these great jerseys you need to know where to look. You need to look for the best suppliers who sell all sorts of materials. Don’t just look for jerseys; if you find that they sell many different kinds of cycling gear, then they are committed to cycling and to cyclists. That’s a good sign that their products are high quality.