The OMNIUM cycling kit buying guide

Posted by Claire Pepper on

Let's be honest. The first time most of us went cycling, we probably didn't look very stylish. There may even by photographic evidence of you on your shiny new bike, in a running t-shirt and trainers, wearing a backpack. No? (just me then)

The world of cycling kit can be a bit incomprehensible until you've done a few rides. Why do I need a top with pockets in?! (to get rid of that backpack...) Do I really need a pad in my shorts?! (oh.) And even once you've come round to the idea of those few specialist items, most of us have also been guilty of wearing something that in retrospect, probably looked a bit like a baggy polyester sack. 

And then... you start to discover and appriciate nice kit. Which is where we come in. And then there's no going back!

So here's the OMNIUM guide to buying some good-looking cycling kit and making sure you get what you want and need. Cause let's face it, this stuff ain't that cheap, so you want to get it right!

JERSEYS

What to look for...

A breathable and lightweight fabric. Most jerseys are made from technical synthetic fabrics, which are almost always polyesters or polyester mixes, although some of them have fancy brand names. Some will have a more textured surface, which helps transfer moisture more quickly away from the body, but some will be smooth for a more aerodynamic fit. High quality jerseys might combine several different fabrics for different parts of the garment, eg more stretch on the arms, or more breathable fabric in panels down the sides. Some technical fabrics also have SPF protection which is desirable when riding in hot weather.

High quality jerseys will generally also have lots of nice finishing details such as grippers on the arms, a zip pocket for valuables, a covered zip etc.

technical cycling jersey

Fit...

There are two types of cycling jersey - the club fit or the race fit. The club fit (a more American style) is looser and more relaxed. A race fit (Euro style) is meant to be worn tight on the body. Personal preference is really what it's all about here - although you may find the more technical/high quality jerseys tend to come in race fit.

SHORTS

What to look for...

A high quality pad is essential, and brand names like Cytech or EiT are reassuring to look for as they have a good reputation. If you are heading out for long days in the saddle look for a pad that is rated for longer rides of 4+ hours. 

 

Fit...

Shorts and bib shorts should be a snug fit to prevent chaffing, there's nothing worse than baggy shorts! However they shouldn't be uncomfortably tight. Men's are almost always bib shorts and are fairly standard in length, with most finishing just above the knee. Women's tend to come in a wider variety of lengths. Above the knee looks classic and flattering (no sausage leg!) but a shorter length might help prevent a dodgy tan line showing up when you wear a skirt... Women also have a bit more choice between bibs or no bibs, with lots of brands opting for a classic short instead. In this case, look for a high waist and wide waistband, to prevent any gaping at the back. And finally, for the avoidance of any doubt, always always wear without underwear. ;)

 

GILETS (or VESTS to our American friends)

Why do you need a gilet? Well, in all weathers, don't underestimate how much difference it makes keeping your core body warm. Keeping the wind off your front will stop you from feeling the chill if you are heading our early in the morning, whilst keeping your underarms breathing so you don't overheat! If you are cycling in the mountains, you might be surprised how cool it is at the top and on the descent, even if it's a scorching hot day at sea level. In this scenario, gilets offer unrestricted movement of your arms, whereas jackets can pull on the wrists or flap a bit on the arms. Gilets keep you aero and are also smaller to pack away for climbs or sunny spells, so having one in your pocket means you are prepared for most eventualities. 

What to look for...

the front should be made of a wind resistant material and the back should be made of a lighter, breathable fabric like a mesh. If a gilet has pockets it's more difficult to fold it up small, but in colder weather pockets on the outside are a godsend. 

 

Fit...

not too baggy! You want to stay aero, so your gilet should fit snugly over your jersey.

SOCKS AND CAPS

Not a technical necessity, but socks and caps are where the style comes in! You only have to browse a few classic cycling images to see how important these items are to a cyclists "look." They are also a chance to inject a bit of individuality into your team or club kit. And they make brilliant gifts for cyclists, because you can literally never have too many. The sock and cap collections of some of our customers are really something to behold!

What to look for...

breathable, technical fabrics are important in socks as well. Good quality socks will really make a difference to how much your feet smell... trust us.

Fit...

Caps come in two styles - 1) a four panel construction starting from a point at the top (a more classic look) or 2) a 3-panel style with a flat panel running over the head. They might be made of cotton, a poly-cotton mix that feels like cotton but has better technical properties, or a lightweight polyester fabric.

 

ARM WARMERS

To the uninitiated, an odd piece of clothing. However, like a gilet, arm warmers are brilliant for heading out on a chilly morning, and then stashing in a jersey picket once it warms up. Thin arm warmers with SPF protection are also good for hot weather if you are worried about sweating off your sun screen.

BASE LAYERS

Layering up can really help your body regulate temperature, whether in hot or cold weather. A lightweight base layer transfers sweat away from the skin quickly to prevent it cooling down and making you cold. The air trapped between your base layer and jersey remains a more consistent temperature, so you are less sensitive to the elements, and a base layer can stop the straps of your bib shorts rubbing as well.

What to look for... again, a lightweight breathable, mesh-type fabric. 

Fit... should be tight to the skin in order to work properly. Base layers come in a vest/tank top style, short sleeve style, or long sleeve for winter. And you should wear your base layer tucked into your shorts!

We're always happy to answer any questions you might have about our kit or sizing. Email us on hello@weareomnium.cc and we will do your best to help.

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Introducing... Fingerscrossed

Posted by Claire Pepper on

We love to find out a bit more about the interesting people behind the brands on OMNIUM. People who are turning their inspiring experiences on the bike into the creative fuel that drives them to produce something awesome. We recently found out a little bit more about the couple behind the massively popular Fingerscrossed socks...
Introduce yourselves, you are you, where are you from?

My name is Patrick and I'm 33 years old. Living in Munich, born in a small town close to the mountains.
My name is Susanne 28 years old. Living in Munich, born in the middle of the mountains. 

How long have you been riding bikes and what sort of riding do you do?

Patrick: I've been riding bikes since about 13 years. I started MTB but as I bought my first road bike in the bike shop where I work before my studying I'm mostly on the road.
Susanne: I've been riding road bikes since about 4 years now.
Why do you ride, what do you love about it?
Patrick: There is so much about cycling. It's the bike holidays you do with great friends. It's the afterwork round you do after a bad day. It's the indoor season you don't want to do at all but puts a smile on your face afterwards. It's just the greatest sport in the world.
Susanne: I like being by myself on my bike to think about my day, to dos and what's coming up.
cycling socks story cycling socks hell yeah
Why did you decide to start making cycling socks?
Patrick: I'm into design in general. If it's clothes, furnitures, shapes…and I was always a big sock nerd. A good pair of cycling socks gives you the possibility to give your outfit individuality. It's actually a great way to express yourself.
Susanne: I always felt cycling socks are totally underestimated. 
fingerscrossed cycling socks mountain socks by fingerscrossed
What are your influences or inspirations?
Patrick: Susanne is doing the design and I'm mostly riding bikes ;-)
Susanne: My influences: Shapes /and Materials
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The OMNIUM Winter Edit

Posted by Claire Pepper on

Cycling in winter - especially in Europe - can be a bit of an acquired taste. When most people start cycling, it's a way to enjoy long lazy summer days, and more of a fair weather hobby. But once you are in deep, the thought of leaving your bike to gather dust for 5 or 6 months whilst you slog it out on the turbo is not really an option any more. And you begin to discover winter riding - a different kettle of fish for sure, requiring more planning, more kit, more hardiness and determination, but with it's own rewards in the form of riding into glorious late sunrises, cutting down misty lanes, and the feeling of conquering the elements. 

Winter dressing is a bit of an art - but one that is essential to get right. Practice and experience help, but here are our tips for some items that will help you along the way. 

LAYER UP

Layering is key - by layering with lots of thin layers you trap air in between the layers, which keeps you warm without adding extra weight (just like a down jacket!) You also have the added advantage of being able to take layers off if you get too warm.

We recommend the Good Cycling base layer - it's mesh surface helps trap air, and also transfers sweat away from the body. When sweat cools on your skin it will make you cold, so it's important to have a close fitting wicking layer like this to keep you dry. 

COZY LEGS

Having a fleecy lining inside your bib tights really makes getting dressed in the morning much more pleasant when it's cold outside, and will keep you nice and toasty on the bike as well. We also recommend bib tights instead of regular tights so there is nowhere for the air to escape on your lower back! These options from Twin Six are our best picks.

WOOL

Merino wool in winter is a cyclist's best friend. A fine merino piece like this long sleeve jersey by Twin Six is an absolute staple for cold weather riding. Merino naturally transfers moisture outwards, without letting moisture come through inwards. Merino cycling jerseys are great for keeping you warm and feel a lot more cozy than a lot of man made alternatives. Plus, it's naturally anti-odour so it won't get stinky which is always a bonus...

WRAP UP YOUR HEAD!

It's true, you lose a lot of heat through your head, so to keep warm, the best thing you can do is put on a super cozy winter cap. The Le Velo cap by The Wonderful Socks is one of the most outstanding winter caps we have ever come across, made with top quality Italian fabrics, embroidered with beautiful details, and yep, it's seriously warm. So much so that we wouldn't recommend it for a mild autumn or spring ride, you'll get too hot! But when the deep freeze sets in there is no better alternative.

BE PREPARED

Weather can change, and forecasts can be wrong, so it's always worth packing an extra layer in case you've been too optimistic, or for cafe/puncture stops. We recommend a light jacket or gilet such as the Smoke Shell by God & Famous that packs away into it's own little bag, or a plain goes-with-everything packable gilet like this one by Angeles Creative or this one by Hills & Yonder!

DON'T FORGET...

Eat and drink as normal, you might find it harder with winter gloves on but your body needs the energy to keep warm - and bonking and getting cold is not a good combination. Keep your phone close to your body as cold temperatures can make the battery die extremely quickly and you don't want to get caught out in an emergency (or good photo op) And don't forget to enjoy the special moments on a winter ride, appriciate the beautiful frosty mornings, the quiet and and your warm breath clouding the air... 

 

winter cyclingwinter riding festive 500

*photos from our attempt at the Festive 500, cycling to visit our families over Christmas with bags by Apidura and Restrap! We had great weather although it was cold and misty - highly recommended way to save money and spend time on the bike over the holidays if logistics allow it.

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THE CHRISTMAS EDIT

Posted by Claire Pepper on

We're all about the matchy-matchy this Christmas! Here are some suggestions for the most co-ordinated of gifts for cyclists...

matching cycling gifts

Petersfield jersey with matching bidon and cap

MUUR's jerseys are made from high quality performance fabrics, and their bold designs add a touch of 80's fun.

pink christmas gifts for cyclists

Wilde Jersey, bidon and cap by MUUR, Giro socks by The Wonderful Socks

We think the Giro socks by The Wonderful Socks and the Wilde kit by MUUR must have been separated at birth (in Italy) 

red matching cycling kit gift

Summer jersey and matching socks by Endless

 It may not be summer yet, but it will be soon! in the meantime the red socks feel a bit Christmassy, even if the jersey is confined to the turbo trainer. 

The Climb socks and matching cap gifts for cyclists

The Climb #1 cap and matching socks by The Wonderful Socks

A super high quality cotton cap with matching socks, for a classic Euro-style look from The Wonderful Socks.

matching orange jersey for cyclists

QOM cap and Race jersey in Coral by Queen of the Mountains

Give the gift of performance this Christmas and feel part of the QOM gang with this set. The coral colour is tied together nicely with a flash of trim on the shorts.

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The OMNIUM x The Cycling Store Christmas Pop Up is now open!

Posted by Claire Pepper on

We're excited to open our first proper pop up shop in collaboration with The Cycling Store at The Factory, 120 London Road, Elephant and Castle.

OMNIUM London cycling pop up shop

We'll be here for 3 weeks only until 13th December, and we've partnered with The Cycling Store to give a broad offering for all types of cyclist, so alongside our performance wear will be their selection of city and commuting wear by independent designers. We hope it will be a great opportunity to get a bit of Christmas shopping done and also for us to meet some of our lovely customers!

omnium cycling pop up shop

Alongside the shop we have a display of bespoke bikes including builds from Hartley Cycles (as featured in the Design Museum's Cycle Revolution exhibition last year) Saffron, Field, Quirk (the bike Rob Quirk built for himself to ride the TCR) and a fully restored 1980's Rossin Track Pursuit bike.

omnium london pop up

We also have a few cycling publications for sale provided by our friends at La Biblioteka and are offering gift wrapping. Currently some of our stock in the shop hasn't been uploaded to the site so come along for a sneaky peek of our new brands coming soon!

london cycling pop up shop twin six jersey

We're open Monday-Friday, 11-7pm until the 13th December so please do pop down and say hi. We'll also be having some drinks and late night shopping on Wednesday 30th December, more info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/682153398627372/

Omnium the cycling store

  

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