With summer on its way, I'm looking for kit that I can wear in the summer to keep myself cool. My typical routes don't have a lot of shade. What should I be looking for? I know I am going to want a full-length zip, but what else?

  • Are there jerseys that are designed for this?
  • What about types and colors of fabric?
  • Is it better to wear long sleeves to keep the sun off, or short to allow sweating?
  • 3
    What locations or temperatures are you writing about? UK? Southern Europe? Arabia? Death Valley? Even normal people dress differently in these locations, there is no single answer. May 3, 2021 at 14:50
  • Mid-to-Southern U.S. The climate is moderate to high humidity, sometimes getting to a high of 100F/38C.
    – user37078
    May 3, 2021 at 15:41
  • 1
    For those interested in really getting into the weeds, Cyclingtips recently had a podcast on cycling apparel design that delves into jersey material and design. I'm not posting this as an answer because there's too much detail to summarize right now. cyclingtips.com/2021/04/…
    – Weiwen Ng
    May 4, 2021 at 21:30

4 Answers 4


Short cycling jerseys are normally designed to be ridden in summer. Unless the conditions are really extreme (e.g., North Africa in summer), one should be fine with short jerseys and shorts and sunscreen.

Use modern synthetic materials that basically all manufacturers use now, they are made to enable evaporation of sweat. Look at what people who are paid to ride their bikes wear. They only put on long sleeves when it is colder or when using skin-suites for time trials. But they do not ride in extreme conditions in summer (southern France or Spain in summer is not extreme yet).

What they do in very hot stages is to pour water on their bodies or even to put packs of ice into their jerseys. Unfortunately, water is a sparse and heavy resource so we usually cannot waste it, but if you are at a water source, do get a wash, do wet your headscarf or a cycling cap in water, and so on. The evaporating water will cool you as nothing else could.

  • Agreed. Any lightweight short sleeve jersey should do it. There are a few warmer short sleeve jerseys for bad weather made out of windstopper or soft-shell material (e.g. Castelli Gabba) but they are usually marketed as such.
    – Michael
    May 3, 2021 at 15:36
  • 2
    You can also add arm coolers to a short sleeve jersey for extra hot days, they are a white performance fabric that helps keep you cool and reflects sun to prevent burns. They actually work quite well.
    – Nate W
    May 3, 2021 at 15:49

This is a matter of personal preference. I live in a hot climate. I've worn everything from sleeveless jerseys with perforated backs to long-sleeved jerseys in hot weather. My current preference is for long-sleeved jerseys, in order to get the added sun protection. There aren't a lot of lightweight long-sleeved jerseys, but there are some, and some advertise their SPF ratings.

Some clothing manufacturers advertise "coldblack" jerseys (black, but intended for hot weather). I've never tried one, and I'll admit I'm skeptical they'd be comfortable. I always wear lighter colors.

Jerseys are designed to wick sweat and breathe well. Modern performance textiles are pretty amazing.

  • Concur - I wear lighter coloured tops, and pair them with white arm warmers for hot summer rides. And sunscreen/UV block cream on any exposed areas.
    – Criggie
    May 3, 2021 at 19:23

Over the past 4-5 seasons I've had great success with UV-blocking, but very thin, arm- and leg-covers. Most of the major brands (e.g. Pearl Izumi, Castelli, Sugoi) have them now, and you can find non-brand ones online with all kinds of designs if that's what you're into.

The ones that are purely sun-protective, as opposed to warming, are actually very good at cooling; unless my arms are shaved, they're cooler with the sleeves on than not. I couldn't make the (possibly psychological) jump to wearing black ones, so mine are white, but I'm not sure I'd unreservedly recommend them. They do get dirty and the fine weave of the cloth tends to hold onto stains. (One person I cycle with has yellow ones and I've also seen blue; neither looked as dirty as mine look straight out of the wash.)

They're not cheap, but based on my math they're not more expensive than the avoided cost of multiple tubes of decent-quality SPF 50+ sunscreen over a couple of seasons. Plus you just peel them off at the end of a long ride and throw them in the wash, and you don't have to spend 10 minutes in the shower scrubbing off layers of sunscreen and road grime.

Avoid jerseys with mesh backs; they may be cooler, but it's a pain to keep a good application of sunscreen underneath them, and even more of a pain to get a pointillist sunburn.

  • 1
    Try pre-soaking the whites in some stain remover for shirt collars, or in a bleach solution before washing them. I find black arm-warmers help on a cold sunny day, but not at all on a cloudy day where bright colours for safety are superior.
    – Criggie
    May 4, 2021 at 1:01

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I loved this durable cycling jersey. I rode my bike in hot weather. It was comfortable for me, of course, there is sweat, but the body is pleasant.

Material: Polyester. The fabric is lightweight and breathable. This T-shirt is made of synthetic fabric for effective moisture removal and air circulation. I have never experienced overheating while riding. This is very important for hot weather. In addition, a small price was important to me.

  • But what kind of jersey is it? What's it made of, what weight is it? What made it better than other jerseys? I'm afraid that as this stands it isn't a very useful answer.
    – DavidW
    May 3, 2021 at 21:24
  • Actually, I just listened to a Cyclingtips podcast on technical apparel design. It turns out that the material alone tells you pretty little. The polyester fibers can be blended with other materials to change the jersey properties. They can be textured differently, which can change the way they hold air (for warmth) or allow moisture to pass through or other physical characteristics. The fabric's density can vary. There are a bunch of other material parameters that I can't even remember right now.
    – Weiwen Ng
    May 4, 2021 at 21:28

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