You’re pedaling along, having a great time outdoors, enjoying the fresh breeze, and then you see it: that guy. You know the one — he’s decked out like he’s in the final leg of the Tour de France. Techno-looking reflective lenses, skin-tight cycling clothing, $500 helmet. As if he’s role-playing a pro cyclist. No one wants to be that guy — and, perhaps more importantly, no one wants you to be that guy.
There are plenty of fits out there that are cycling-appropriate without making you look like you’re begging for a sponsor. They’re stylish, they’re comfortable, and some can even help you boost your road performance, all while keeping it in the realm of plain old good taste. So, what to look for in cycling clothes that don’t make you look like that guy? First tip: understatement. Men’s cycling clothing has a tendency to be tight, flashy, gauche. Don’t fall for it. Choose more muted colors and more regular fits — you know, something a regular guy might wear.
And tip number two: find items that you wouldn’t be too ashamed to wear to the office, or a friend’s. This makes it easier for you to go from the bike to a social gathering without looking like a nut, and makes you look less obnoxious on the road at the same time. We’ve rounded up some of the best, and least obnoxious, cycling clothing a dad could buy.
Great style is all about simplicity — you don't need anything garish. Rapha’s classic jersey is the perfect cycling jersey for getting great performance without looking like a jerk. It’s made from a comfortable merino wool blend that’s been updated with recycled fibers. This soft, breathable jersey doesn’t have any outstanding logos or symbols — in fact, we love it for its understated style while keeping performance in mind. Grab it in two different, decidedly non-flashy colors.
You don’t need skin-tight pants to move well on the bike. These more relaxed shorts have everything you need while giving you a little extra room. You’ll find zips on the waist and legs to give you extra flexibility and movement, cargo pockets to keep your phone and wallet safe, and mesh inserts around the shorts help you cool down as you start to heat up. And they’re ultra-durable, made from Assos’s proprietary StonePine fabric, so they’ll last you years and years — no matter the damage that they take.
When you think of a stylish, understated cycling shoe, you have to imagine wearing it off the bike. These Truk shoes are perfect for that, with a Vans-like canvas construction that looks just as good at the bar as on the bike. Made from the same tough, 1000-denier Cordura as messenger bags and featuring a vulcanized rubber sole, these kicks will last a lifetime — and keep you excited to ride in style.
Hitting the road in transitional weather? This casual fleece vest is the perfect accompaniment and, blessedly, won’t make you stand out in the crowd. It’s perfect dad-wear on and off the bike, and made from recycled polyester and double-sided solid shearling. Perfect outer-bikewear for your coolest adventures.
Simple, sleek, and made for both on and off the bike, the lightweight Sojourn jacket is the perfect cycling jacket for those who don’t want to stand out like crazy. It’s made from a four-way stretch fabric that wicks sweat away and a comfortable fit that molds itself to your form. Plus, it has plenty of zip pockets to secure your belongings.
A helmet doesn’t have to be a statement piece. This clean, comfortable helmet keeps your noggin safe with a multi-directional impact protection system. It comes in a variety of tasteful colors and has earned a five-star rating from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Oh, and it’s only $50. What more could you want in a helmet?
A henley shirt is an understated staple of any guy’s closet, and this one is specifically made for you to bike with. With articulated seams and a longer, curved back hem, you’ll get extra coverage for when you’re riding, and in-sown odor control prevents the nasty growth of bacteria and other nasty germs for smell-free post-ride get-togethers. Plus — thank the Lord — it really just looks like any other henley.
When it comes to cycling glasses, you don’t want anything that’ll look incredibly out of place on the golf course. Roka’s CP Series shades are the perfect middle ground between performance-forward and not-too-ostentatious. These ultra-light glasses have large, curved lenses to protect your peripheral vision while you’re cycling, and they can even be customized to your face. These have a pop of color (no one said you had to avoid it entirely) with black lenses — classy, not crazy.
We suggest stocking up on this ultra-affordable jersey: one of each tasteful color. (Well, maybe not the neon.) It's made of a breathable polyester fabric that will stretch with you and wick your sweat as you move, and it comes with three elastic rear pockets for easy cell phone storage. The front zipper lets you let in some air as you heat up on the road, and a reflective print logo (ideally) keeps you safe during night rides.
If you absolutely must wear tights — and we don’t blame you if you do — these are a great option. Their stretchy, breathable, nylon and spandex construction lasts years. The ankle zippers make it a cinch to take them on and off, and subtle pockets allow you to hold your phone or wallet. Their fit is truly stretchy, so we don’t suggest skipping leg day, but when it comes to cycling tights, you could do a whole lot worse.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.