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Redrom 05-23-06 10:53 AM

Summer Riding Shirt
I'm looking for suggestions on the best shirt to wear on rides in the Summer. I know there are plenty of you that ride in Death Valley at noon in the middle of the summer, that might suggest that I just suck it up, but the reality is that I won't; not to that degree anyway.

I've picked up some great sandals and ultralight wool socks and that has really helped for my feet. I also was given a lightweight wool t-shirt that seems to do just as well, or maybe a touch better than the loose cotton t-shirt I used last time it was warm. The wool wicks better, and stays dry, but I still begin to get uncomfortable at too low a temperature. There's also a balance that I would like to acheive with protecting from the sun as well, ideally the best shirt would protect the arms so I don't have to cover with sunscreen for every ride.

There seem to be lots of options: loose fitting shirts made for sun protection but to keep you cool, tight synthetics, tight summerweight wool, and Jerseys. There are a lot of different brands to consider Smartwool, Ibex, Underarmour, CoolMax, generic (Target's C9). Cost could certainly factor in (like if C9 for $10 was almost as good as $70 Ibex). Is there a reason that the summerweight wool shirts are typically such dark colors - doesn't that seem counterproductive? I don't need to make a fashion statement - I would just like to find the shirt that will keep me riding into the summer the longest, and get me back on the bike the quickest once the heat has peaked. Thanks.

geog_dash 05-23-06 11:01 AM

I like my two alertshirts ( Apart from the visibility feature, they are made of wicking, breathable polyester. I have some other polyester shirts that feel like plastic, but the alertshirts are surprisingly soft and smooth.

I'm also intrigued by wickers (, although I have not actually tried them yet.

roadfix 05-23-06 11:19 AM

I often wear loose fitting runners' tanks and T's on really hot days on the bike.

MKahrl 05-23-06 01:17 PM

Rivendell is marketing seersucker as a great summer riding shirt. The puckered nature of the cotton fabric allows good air flow between your skin and the shirt. Not bad looking either. I've worn seersucker suits to damn hot outdoor June weddings and they are a godsend.

roughrider504 05-23-06 01:31 PM

Underarmor shirts breathe air real good. In the heat and humidity here, I can still feel a little cool.

Redrom 05-24-06 12:24 PM

Lots of great suggestions, thanks.

I'm wondering if anyone has tried several options and can compare and contrast some of the various options?

dynaryder 05-24-06 03:10 PM

I've used both AlertShirts and EMS's Techwick. The AlertShirts are super bright(even after a season's washings),excellent wicking/quick drying,and less than $8 a pop. The Techwicks are supposed to fight odor,but don't do any better than the AlertShirts. They also cost about 3-4 times as much,and only the yellow long-sleeve is really bright enough for commuting duty. I've also worn a couple cotton/poly blend t-shirts that wicked ok.

AlertShirts all the way. For the price,you can't touch them.

stapfam 05-24-06 03:17 PM

If it is going to be that hot- get anything made out of "Coolmax" material. In our temperate climate in the UK- even on the hottest day in summer- this should be called "Freezemax" the coldest material I have ever used and I actually look at the labels to make certain that I never buy this material again.

Redrom 05-25-06 07:44 AM

It would be great to know if the materials you all have had success with were worn loosely or fitted skin tight.

SisuMess 05-25-06 08:01 AM

coolmax is excellent breathing material....there's always the no shirt option and my favorite is an old tshirt with the sleeves cut off!

noisebeam 05-25-06 12:18 PM

I too like the alertshirts (can get in longsleeve and in plain white if you don't want hi-vis ANSI lime/yellow)

For Death Valley (very hot and dry), perfect. I don't however have much experience with hot and humid.

I used to use large size, but got a medium which fits tigher more like a jersey. I can't tell if one feels cooler, but its nice not having any flapping excess.


dynaryder 05-25-06 02:30 PM

My AlertShirts fit just like a t-shirt(not tight like a jersey).

DavidLee 05-25-06 08:03 PM

+1 for Alert Shirts. I just had 3 come in last week, 2 ANSI Lime & 1 Orange plain with no reflective striping. Super bright, light weight & very comfortable at a great price. Also, my local Wally World has poly wicking t-shirts from Athletic Works for 7 bucks a shirt, picked up 5 of them.

duane041 05-26-06 06:49 AM


Originally Posted by Redrom
It would be great to know if the materials you all have had success with were worn loosely or fitted skin tight.

I have tried the following for my 12-mile-each-way commute. On my way home, temps can get into the 90's, so here's what worked for me:

Target/Champion C-9 t-shirt; loose fit, thinner material than most, wicked nicely, flapped around a lot, short tail.

Alert Shirt (both t-shirt and long sleeve t-shirt); Slightly more tailored fit (not as loose as C-9), wicked better, beefier material than C-9, collar seems tight to me (which I like, no sunburn on the back of my neck). Can be seen from space.

Aussie brand road jersey; tight fit, wicked very well, I felt like I was overheated because it fit so tightly (but that's just me).

All in all, I ride with my alert shirt for most of my commutes now. Wicked well, very visible, and I don't feel like a rolling sandwich board out on the road.

CyLowe97 05-26-06 07:02 AM

I wear a C9 t-shirt as a base layer and the material feels and works just as well as some of my more expensive jerseys. The drawback on the C9 is that is not cut for cycling (i.e., a little shorter in front and longer in back). Not a big deal to me, but could be for others. For a short ride on a hot day where I did not need pockets, that C9 t-shirt would fit the bill perfectly. At $8 or whatever cheap it was, that's a good deal

Redrom 05-26-06 07:45 AM


Originally Posted by SisuMess
there's always the no shirt option

Do people feel that not wearing a shirt is cooler than having a good wicking shirt?

It would mean a lot of sunscreen for me, I burn easy.

carlton 05-26-06 03:48 PM

LL Bean Tropical Wear Shirts. They have mesh interliner, vents, very light, dry super quick, have built in sun protection, and come in tall sizes so they have a long tail. They also last a long time.

Nykon 05-26-06 04:20 PM

I wear Nike Dry Fit shirts, very light, and they wick away moisture nicely.

Bikepacker67 05-26-06 05:46 PM

I wear Starter Dri-Star from Walmart for < $10. They have excellent wicking, and are so cheap that I have enough not to have to sniff laundry.

Bikepacker67 05-26-06 05:51 PM

Ohh and they have the same in long sleeve that makes for a great base layer for winter.

DataJunkie 05-26-06 07:40 PM

I'm no help. I like jerseys. :p
Extra insentive to loose my remaining 10 lbs.
I prefer club fit and own all of two jerseys. One novara and one velowear. both keep me nice and cool.

The back pocket helps me out quite a bit this time of year. Before I leave work I throw my bus ticket in the pocket and when I load my bike on the bus, I throw my cyclocomputer in there. Sure, I could open my pannier but saving a few seconds here and there when you are running behind helps out a bit. I prefer to not keep a bus full of 60 people waiting for me while I search through my pannier for a ticket.
Yes, I wear cycling shorts. No pockets.

Knudsen 05-27-06 01:00 AM

Oh, just through on a damned t-shirt and go enjoy a ride inb the nice spring weather!

DataJunkie 05-27-06 07:32 PM

Spring? What's that? It's 93F here today. We seem to have skipped spring and jumped into summer.

Nermal 05-27-06 08:37 PM

Man, I sure hope you guys are right about the CoolMax. A diligent search finally turned up a Royal Robbins CoolMax that buttons up the front (can't get into tees, literally) , and it ain't cheap.

I know it'll work. I've never gotten a bum steer here, yet.

late 05-27-06 08:43 PM
..get the tall

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