The Ultimate Guide to Cycling for Beginners

A guest post by Catherine Bedford, Dashel.

Have you been bitten by the cycling bug? After all, the increase in take-up of cycling over recent months has been phenomenal! 

No doubt you have seen this and, perhaps, are thinking of following suit. But, if you haven’t ridden a bike since childhood, where on earth would you start in your cycling journey? Here are some things to consider when getting back into the saddle after a long time:

Which bike is best for you?

Your old BMX is probably not what you’re thinking of using to restart your cycling journey, so which should you choose? The best way to decide which bike is best for you is to think about what you will be using it for and where you are likely to be cycling. 

If you are looking for speed, perhaps to commute to and from work in the quickest time possible or if you are looking to travel far and fast on your weekend ride, then a road bike, or racer, is probably the right bike for you. They are lightweight and designed for speed. A tourer is similar to a road bike but is slightly sturdier so if you are likely to use your bike for longer journeys where pannier bags might be useful, for example if you are fishing or camping, this is worth exploring.

Alternatively, if you’re considering something a bit more adventurous and fancy taking your bike off-road in your free time, perhaps on forest trails or over hilly paths, then a mountain bike is probably what you need. These have better suspension and thick tyres designed to grip in muddy or loose terrain.

If you can’t decide or fancy a bike that you can commute to work on but ride off-road at weekends, have a look at the hybrid bikes. They are lightweight but also sturdy and comfortable and a good all-rounder.

And there is a lot more choice than these three, too. If you have a long commute but still want to cycle either side of the train ride, a folding bike is lightweight and practical, or for people with back and knee problems, it’s worth considering a recumbent bike, where you sit in a reclining position.

Your bike will be an investment so take the time to research what will suit you best. You can look online but I’d also suggest talking to the staff at your local bike shop to find out what will best suit your needs.

When it comes to cost, like anything you mostly get what you pay for. If you’re on a tight budget, do look at second hand, reconditioned bikes. They save money and are obviously also better for the environment.

Safety measures

Once you have decided on your bike you need to ensure you will be safe. This also does not need to cost the earth but do make sure you have the essentials. Starting at the top, helmets are not actually legally required but I do feel it’s important because, in the unfortunate event of an accident, it will protect you! If you think helmets mean looking silly, think again. There are some really stylish helmets on the market these days which means you can make a fashion statement while keeping safe. You can also buy helmets made of recycled materials, that can themselves be recycled at end of life.

Visibility is also key. You must have lights on your bike and, if you are likely to be riding in traffic, consider one you can wear on your (stylish) helmet too. This will make you even more visible to 4x4s and buses. Even if you’re not planning on riding after dark, it’s wise to carry something reflective with you at all times. Who knows, you might enjoy your ride more than you thought and want to go for a bit longer. You don’t have to be clad head to foot in day-glow; a simple sash that can be easily carried with you is enough to be sure you are seen.

Gloves are also a good idea, not just to keep you warm in cooler months but they will protect your hands in event of coming off your bike – these are generally the first thing you put out to save yourself. Also cycling glasses are not only good for protecting your eyes from glare and UV rays, they also protect your peepers from wind and rain, bugs and dust.

Finally, I’d also recommend you learn a little bike maintenance so you can ensure your bike is fit for purpose on a regular basis. Make sure you know how to check the air pressure in your tyres, test your brakes and ensure you have sufficient lube on your chain. Again, a good bike shop should talk you through the basics when you buy.

Geared up

Firstly, don’t think you need to go and buy loads of Lycra before you can get on your bike. Indeed, you can ride in your everyday clothes, up to a point, although you should avoid heavy shoes or loose laces and baggy skirts or trousers which could get caught up the pedals or chain. Wear light and comfy clothes and avoid things like jeans for long cycle rides as thicker denim can chafe after a while. If you already own leggings for yoga or running they’ll be perfect.

Of course, if you get seriously involved in speed riding you may want to buy clothes and gear that aid with streamlining. On the other hand, if you are commuting, that is probably the last thing you want to do. Instead, look out for cycling gear specifically designed to transition between bike and office. Not only can you get helmets that don’t cause ‘helmet hair’, there are stylish jackets which look great in a meeting but glow at night when you’re riding home. Similarly, there are some amazing shoes out there, perfect for cycling in that really look the part when you are sitting at your desk. There are even pannier bags available that you can take off the bike and hide the clips so you look like you bought from a local designer boutique. Similarly, this gear is great if you are cycling to meet friends for a pub lunch, cream tea or picnic.

Do invest in some rain gear – after all, this is England. A lightweight jacket and over-trousers are good to have to hand and a poncho is great for showery weather too.  

Avoid the aches and pains

Taking up a new physical activity will almost always leave you with some aches and pains, where you are using muscles that haven’t been worked for a while. Unfortunately, cycling has some additional potential discomforts.

You may find that you are saddle sore to start with. Check your saddle is in the right position and, after a while, as your muscles and tendons get accustomed to it, this ‘pain in the bottom’ will abate. In the meantime, you should stand on the pedals at regular intervals to give you some relief. It may also help to invest in underwear with minimal seams or even some specialist shorts. If the discomfort does not improve you might need to think about a different saddle.

You can also find you have discomfort in other parts of your body; neck, lower back, hands, feet and legs. These are almost without fail due to your position on the bike and the handlebars and seat not being in the optimal position. Again, it is worth asking the shop that you buy your bike from to help you get this correct in the first place or ask advice from friends who have cycling experience.

Find the right route

Whether you are cycling to work or for pleasure, consider sensible routes when starting out. You do not want to begin your new pastime weaving in and out of inner-city traffic. Not only is it dangerous to do so without experience, you are highly likely to put yourself off before you start. Try some rural off-road routes to start with. When riding to work, ask about and find some quieter routes that go through parks, for example, or beside the river. It may take a little longer but it will be safer and far more pleasant. Also consider the difficulty of your route. Novice cyclists are unlikely to enjoy hilly rides initially and would be much more sensible to opt for easy terrains and low gradients. You can always build up as you gain confidence and fitness. Best of all, use your early days cycling to explore local routes and find some you really enjoy.

These are all things to consider when you take up or resume cycling after a long absence. Don’t rush into it or think you need to have the full kit before you start. Ease yourself in, get comfortable and, as your cycling journey continues, you will learn what your mode of cycling is; whether you are a speed freak or an off-road adventurer, someone who loves being closer to nature on rural rides or social cyclist; the list goes on. Wherever your cycling journey takes you, I’m sure you will have a wonderful time!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Bedford is Founder of Dashel. Dashel offers a range of slim, ventilated, lightweight cycle helmets manufactured in the UK. With a distinctive urban feel Dashel Helmets are made from recyclable materials – ensuring that they are low impact at the point of manufacture and produce very little waste at the end of life. The new Re-Cycle helmet will be ground down into new helmets at the UK factory when it is finished with. The helmets are portable, sold packaged in a handy rucksack that means there is no superfluous packaging. They come in an array of classic colours. Choose from black, blue, sage green and red. Dashel helmets are £79 and available from all good cycle shops and online at Dashel.co.uk.

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How to get on your bike and where to begin with cycling

You can’t have missed the bike revival that has taken place over recent months. With massive numbers of people cycling during lockdown for their daily exercise, followed by people rejecting tubes and busses in favour of a bike when commuting to work.

I believe the numbers of cyclists can only increase further as the government is investing heavily in cycling infrastructure, as well as other incentives to encourage people to get back in the saddle, get fitter and avoid public transport. 

So, here’s my guide to starting out if you’re considering taking up cycling to work or for fun, post Coronovirus:

GET YOUR BIKE RIGHT

If you are buying a new bike, first consider the kind of riding you want to do and the typical route. If it’s hilly – make sure you get a bike with enough gears to handle it, if you’re commuting then 3-6 gears should be enough to get you up and down most town and city hills. If you are looking to road or mountain bike you will want to consider more than 10 gears to manage the rougher terrain. 

Next, consider the weight of the bike. Modern road bikes are all designed to be very light so even the heaviest will do you well – but aim to go as light as possible. For commuter bikes, the weight can be an issue. The heavier Dutch-style bikes often look very beautiful but are hard work if you’re peddling uphill, lifting it up canal path stairs or storing it in your flat. So, factor in the weight of the bike if you have a lot of hills to conquer or you need to store it inside. 

If you already have an old bike, dust it off, check the brakes and the gears are working properly and enjoy it. Getting on the bike is the only way to know what kind of cycling you enjoy. 

PLAN YOUR ROUTE

The first thing I’m asked when I mention that I’ve cycled around London for 15 years is; “aren’t you scared of the traffic?” I’m not. But that’s because I always pick my route carefully – even now.  

The route is crucial to an enjoyable journey. The main highways and roads might be the most direct path but they will not be the most pleasant. Always take the backstreets; they are quieter, safer and much more interesting as you get to discover parts of your town/city you would never have seen before. 

Fortunately, picking your route has never been easier. There are lots of cycle routes now across the country and they are definitely worth taking advantage of. Most city and the country routes are in cycle maps that are easy to follow. For your local paths have a look on your council’s website – most of the maps are available there. 

Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to cycle, take the slightly longer, quieter route, get yourself lost and, most importantly of all, enjoy it. 

LOOK AFTER YOUR BACK

Get the bag off your back and onto the bike! Not only does it take the strain off your spine, it also reduces back sweat – something a backpack seems to create in very un-natural quantities. The solution is a pannier rack. They attach over the back wheel of your bike and you can attach pannier bags and baskets on them to carry whatever you need. As the rack is on the back of your bike, not the front, and is low on the bike, it doesn’t affect your steering or stability, so it will help you feel more secure on your bike. 

Hill & Ellis has a range of stylish bike bags that all attach securely to your pannier bike rack. They are also designed to look smart so are the perfect accessory for the work commute. 

JOIN A GROUP

If you still want a bit more Dutch courage (so to speak) before cycling on your own, then you need your own personal peloton (cycling group). Cycling is really friendly, with lots of groups keen to help other cyclists get started with advice, buddies and supported rides. There are groups all over the country, so you’ll definitely find one in your local area. 

The Breeze network offers women’s only rides and commuting training rides to help build confidence for cycling to work, they will even arrange a group to cycle with you to your office for the first couple of rides.

British Cycling also has beginners guide on their website for the A-Z of what you need to know before taking to the saddle.

But most of all don’t rush. Enjoy it. Life from the saddle will always make you smile. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Ellis is founder of Hill & Ellis, which produces a range of high quality, stylish cycle bags. Each bag, designed in the UK, is created to transition perfectly from home to bike to boardroom to bar. They are functional, fashionable and hard wearing.  There’s plenty of space inside for a laptop and other essentials, and each bag comes with patented pannier clips that fit almost any bike, allowing you to clip the bag on and off quickly and easily. 

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Are your gym clothes too big or too small?

Almost Half Of British Gym Goers Wear Clothes Either Too Big Or Too Small For Them!

A new study has found that as many as 47% of Britons who go to the gym at least once a month are wearing clothes the wrong size for them, with slightly more wearing clothes that are too big for flexibility and movement. Those wearing smaller sizes admitted that they’d gained weight or purchased the wrong size clothing, whilst others bought smaller as motivation to get into shape.

Britons prefer athleisure wear to purpose-built gym gear, but it seems that almost half are choosing to wear the wrong size, whether they consider it to be practical, gained weight and haven’t bought the next size up or are doing so for motivation.

The team behind www.MoneySavingHeroes.co.uk conducted the research as part of an ongoing study into Britons’ fitness goals. 2,438 respondents aged 18 and over, all of whom stated that they have a gym membership and attend at least once a month, were quizzed about their gym usage and expenditure.

Whilst purpose-built gym clothing is popular with one in five British gym-goers (19%), 74% prefer to wear athleisure. Asked why this was a popular choice, Britons felt the ‘selection to choose from was higher’ (41%) and that they like ‘being able to wear it inside and outside the gym’ (33%).

Interestingly, 47% admitted that they weren’t wearing the correct size clothing to the gym, with 53% of those wearing clothing that was too large and 47% wearing clothing that was too small.

Asked why they were wearing clothing that was the wrong size, the top reasons for wearing larger clothing were found to be:

  1. For flexibility and movement – 34%
  2. To hide my body shape/size – 30%
  3. To appear smaller – 18%

Likewise, the top reasons for wearing clothing that was too small were found to be:

  1. I gained weight and didn’t want to buy bigger clothes – 31%
  2. The sizing was incorrect but I didn’t return them – 26%
  3. I bought smaller to incentivise me to lose weight and train harder – 12%

George Charles, spokesperson for www.MoneySavingHeroes.co.uk  commented:

“Gym gear can often be an expensive business, but it’s always good to remain practical over stylish when it comes to exercise. If your clothing doesn’t fit you could run the risk of hurting yourself or even embarrassing yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot to have quality gym wear; supermarkets and budget brands do some really fantastic gym wear. Although if you do have the budget, there are some really great fitness and athleisure wear brands available. Feel free to shop around, try before you buy and see what discounts are available – it’s better than revealing more than you’d like to in the gym.”

Hit up some of our other articles on sportswear, sports underwear and feel better equipped at the gym, here.

5 Pairs of Trainers You Need in Your Closet

5 Pairs of Trainers You Need in Your Closet

Trainers have vastly outpaced their original function, no pun intended. These days, the trainer has become an essential staple in any man’s wardrobe and has become the default casual footwear for men. From the continued loosening of the noose that is corporate dress standards to the expanding presence of fitness in our culture, the athletic sneaker is more popular than ever.

For this reason, any discerning gentleman will definitely feel that they need more than one pair of sneakers in their closet. After all, compared to traditional hard-sole footwear, the comfort and versatility of sneakers can hardly be beat as long as the situation allows for it. Feeling a bit clueless? No need to worry, check out our list of the five essential types of sneakers to own!

All-White Trainers

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The all-white sneaker is an absolute must. This classic representation of the sneaker is versatile, and if you have a truly high-end pair of all-white sneakers, you can even wear these with a suit (caveat: only if doing so is appropriate given the occasion!). The all-white sneaker isn’t just a fashion statement, but it’s a sensible one that can save you money, as you can pair these shoes with just about any outfit: dark jeans to light chinos –– even shorts.

The only downside with the all-white sneaker is the maintenance that it takes to keep them in mint condition. If you decide to add these to your wardrobe, it is encouraged that you also purchase a shoe cleaning kit. They’re not meant to last forever, but you can keep a pair of all white sneakers going for a number of years as long as you are for them properly.

Sneaker Boot

As paradoxical as it might sound, the beauty of sneaker technology isn’t relegated purely to sneakers themselves. In fact, one of the most valuable aspects of sneakers is how their arch-friendly soles and polyester top layers have been applied to other styles of shoes.

The sneaker boot is a great example of this. The hybrid sneaker boot takes the comfort and functionality of a sneaker and applies it to something infinitely more fashionable. High top design has always been a very desirable aspect in the more esoteric of fashion circles, and the sneaker boot takes the utilitarian aspect of sneakers to a whole new level of fashion. Any sneaker boot is sure to complete any smart casual ensemble.

The Running Shoe

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Whether you’re the type of guy who gets up and goes for a jog every morning before work, or you prefer to hit the gym after you clock out, a pair of quality, dependable running shoes is mandatory. The running shoe (or the “tennis shoe”) is a versatile pair of shoes that can not only serve you during your workouts, but when you’re helping a friend move a couch, taking a weekend trip to the hardware store, or doing yard work.

But real importance of running shoes is not necessarily what they do for you, but the break they give your other sneakers; you shouldn’t try to wear your go-to white sneakers to the gym, nor should you throw on sneaker boots to clean out the gutters. Your running shoes are the shoes that do the dirty work, so your other sneakers don’t have to.

Exotic Leather Sneaker

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Who says that sneakers have to only be casual? A pair of leather sneakers crafted from exotic animal skins can become the focal point of your outfit. These sneakers are ideal for a classy night out or a high profile event where traditional black or brown leather footwear just won’t cut it, stylistically speaking. In fact, several of these shoes are created to be specific for the occasion, from shoes that wouldn’t be out of place at a work event to shoes that you could wear out to any casual event.

This type of shoe combines the luxury of classical footwear with the comfort and functionality of modern footwear. These sneakers can address any man’s search to declare very bold and assertive aesthetics while retaining the reliability of the classic sneaker.

Slip-On Trainer

Anyone who’s ever stood in line at airport security knows the importance of a pair of slip-on shoes. No one wants to be that guy holding everyone up because he’s unlacing a pair of boots. Sometimes you really do just need a pair of shoes that have no laces whatsoever and can be slipped in and out of with ease. Such shoes are absolutely vital for travel, but also function well as a pair of house shoes as well as an easy alternative for any casual occasion.

In recent years, the slip-on sneaker has been more associated with skater culture, thanks to the advent of Vans skateboarding shoes, but make no mistake: these are must-have shoes for any guy, regardless of whether or not you skate. Once you discover the ease that they offer, you’ll try to wear them everywhere!

Must Have Men’s Yoga Clothes Made Easy

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Men who are shifting to yoga from their regular fitness routines tend to think that their baggy sweats will work just as well in their yoga workouts. While this may hold true in some cases, they are typically not suitable for yoga because the material is either not stretchable or breathable enough.

When it comes to men’s yoga clothing, two things should be kept in mind: they should be able to absorb sweat (to prevent sweat from dripping onto the mat) and they should allow enough room for movement to let you do a wide variety of yoga poses.

While you might see a lot of men sporting shorts in yoga class, there is a reason for yoga pants. In yoga, whether it’s hot or not, pants work to absorb the sweat, so when you get into an arm balance, you can hold it for longer without the sweat on your knees or legs causing your arms to slide off of them. And besides absorbing your perspiration, they also keep you covered when you are in the most vulnerable positions.

Yoga pants are meant to be comfortable, efficient at absorbing sweat, lightweight, and functional. This means the fabrics used need to provide stretch, while the design must permit you to get in and out of the poses with ease—to the point where you don’t even realize you have them on.

Surely, people have different tastes and needs when it comes to yoga. Some want a pair that can go from class to a cafe. Others would like the pant to absorb sweat like no other.

What you wear is important!

You can choose to wear shorts, pants, or cropped pants for bottoms, depending on your preference, or the type of yogic practice you will be doing. Those doing Bikram or Hot yoga may want to go for shorts to allow heat to escape the body faster, since you will be doing breathing exercises and asanas in a heated room. Typically though, men wear long or cropped pants for doing yoga. Cropped hemp pants tend to have wide-legged seams, which is not that recommended for beginners, especially if they decide to do faster paced styles of yoga.

If you decide to wear shorts to your yoga sessions, do everyone a favour and choose a pair that is sweat absorbent AND fits just right. You wouldn’t want to have any incidents of “indecent exposure” while you’re bending over and doing all types of lower body stretches. Pants can be made of any of the following materials: cotton, a combination of cotton and lycra, hemp, and other organic materials. Organic yoga clothing has gotten quite a following because one mantra of the yoga tradition is respect for all forms of life, and it helps capture that feeling of being close to nature.

Here are two of our top pics from leading eco-friendly activewear brand OHMME.

Yoga Bottoms

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The DHARMA-GRAPHITE PANTS have no restrictions, improved grip, perfectly fitted, no sweat patches.

Like the classic Dharma, these pants are designed for comfort in your yoga practice. Our yoga pants for men do not bunch up and give you excellent support. Whether rolled up at a 3/4 length for a tighter feel or rolled down to contain your body heat during practice. Giving you grip during balances and twists, these pants offer you excellent mobility thanks to the sturdy stretchy material, strong seams, and the reinforced gusset panel around the crotch.

This strong polyester jersey is resistant, elastic, and feels great to the touch. And because of the fabric’s low level of absorption, sweat simply evaporates. Fast drying and wrinkle resistant, this sweat wicking garment will keep its shape. Its fast-drying properties allow these pants to evaporate sweat quickly and are really easy to care for. Looking for something full-length and lightweight but with even more space to move? These guys are your match!

Yoga Shorts

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2-DOGS LINEN SUPPORT SHORTS are stretchy and silky, lined with a soft compression layer for total freedom of motion.

With an integrated and snug underlayer, the 2-Dogs Yoga Shorts for men provides complete flexibility. The material is stretchy and the cut is fitted with an extra panel from the crotch all the way down the inside of the leg, removing the strain from the seams and keeping your shorts in place for maximum body mobility. Keeping you comfortable and covered in all your poses and movements.

Their tight but stretchy fit allows for excellent blood flow.

2-Dogs are made for all body shapes and types of workout allowing you to focus on your practice and forget about what you are wearing.

Primarily designed for demanding hot yoga classes and animal flow practice, the 2-Dogs Yoga Shorts are made from a resistant, silk-like polyester jersey with a soft touch and durable elasticity. With sweat-wicking, fast-drying, and wrinkle-resistant properties these shorts are perfect for your active life.

Yoga Tops

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Basically, men can choose to wear either a t-shirt or a sleeveless top (sando or singlet) when practising yoga. Going topless, though allowed by some instructors and studios, is not really that advisable because it increases the possibility of soaking your mat in sweat. Different materials are used for making men’s yoga clothing tops, although cotton is still the most popular choice because of its sweat absorbing capacity and its light weight.

OHMME is an eco-friendly men’s activewear brand. The clothes have been made in the eco-friendliest way, and designed for movement. They feature all the sweat-wicking features required of men’s active wear by using GREEN DEFENCE in place of heavy metals, which can be toxic both to the environment and to the wearers skin.

Ditch the baggy boxers and embrace the jockstrap

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about “jockstraps”? Do you relate it to the long ago men’s underwear traditional style that used to be an integral part of sport? Or, is it what you look up to for bringing the sizzling action behind the closed doors?

Whatever your idea of the jockstrap is, the fashion underwear style is definitely one of those which keeps coming back and straight to the hearts and the underneath of the male population. After being vanished from the face of the earth being the athletic pair, the style made a comeback as a fashionable pair and continued to please the manhood for the big games as well.

If you haven’t been a jockstrap kinda-guy, you should start considering it as an option. This article will lay out a few great reasons why the exotic underwear is making a comeback, and you should get on the bandwagon.

Exceptional Support

The very first reason for which one can consider adopting the respective style is for their undying support below the belt. The first pair was made in the late 1800s for bicycle delivery boys for the sole reason- to keep their manhood in its place! Movement is not what they desired while they moved around delivering their best. This required a pair that everything stayed where it should be without causing a lot of problem (chafing or bouncing) down there. So, when you are indulging in a field trip or running a marathon, you can look up to the support of a jockstrap.

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Undie-fying Comfort

When your todger is set in a place where it should be without letting a lot of movement, no fabric in the back or sides, how do you expect someone to feel? It is but obvious that comfort will be the key underneath. Do you remember having a pair of boxer brief underwear that rode up when you walked for a while? Probably because of the seams and wrong fabric composition. However, jockstraps are better anytime in situations like this.

Spaciousness

What can be worse than a hot summer day and a sticky back with the constantly irritating layer of fabric? Well, I even hate it when a strand of hair sticks on my face when I sweat, having that irritating feeling is what I try to avoid. Hence, jockstraps come handy here as well.

Inexpensive

It comes on very hard in a man’s pocket when he steps out spending for his basic clothing. With highly expensive pieces available at brick and mortar shops, it visibly comes down when you check for online options. At Manhood Undies you have prices that’ll blow your mind in happiness and contentment because of the inexpensive prices and luxurious designs.

Style

There are two overarching distinctive types of jocks, athletic and fashionable. Here’s the pros of both of them.

Athletic jockstraps

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Feature a sturdy elastic waistband that holds

If you are the athletic types and are in love jocks, you would know that one of the most important feature to keep everything in place below the belt is the elastic waistband. More often, the feature is broad and of has the name of the brand on it. It is available to keep the place of the pair intact without promoting any movement.

Elastic leg bands for the right grip

Keeping in sync with the waistband, the leg bands too are made with elastic fabric like spandex or elastane to keep the pouch held from the lower portion of the butt and goes all the way to the waistband.

The pouch is functionally supportive

Made out of cotton, nylon or some other sporty fabric, the pouch intends to support and enhance the visibility of the manhood. The enhancement and protection were the basic features when the style was introduced to men.

The very basic intention of these features was to keep you from chafing, rashes and getting yourself hurt while indulging in sporty games or workouts.

Fashionable jockstraps

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Waistband are sometimes flimsy

Made to be flaunted while indulging in romantic affairs or personal self indulgence, the waistband of the fashionable jocks are made with lacy fabrics or shimmery textured ones that look appeal on the body. Well, you might also find broad elastic ones as well.

Leg bands are elastic

Without doubt the leg bands are made to hold the pouch in the correct place. Hence, they are majority of the times made to hold the grip of the pair together.

Pouch is designed to appeal and support

You might or might not want support when it comes to fashionable underneath. You have options of choosing fabrics to open pouches, sexy cut-outs to absolutely no support in the front. Well, made for regular days, the comfort is definitely an essential part of the style.

We know a jock isn’t for everyone, so if you’re feeling adventurous, but not wanting to expose your arse, check out all our underwear tips here.

If you do fancy a new lease of life for your balls, which style would you opt for? Do let us know in the comments below.

Exclusive offer: HIGHSTREETJOCK will give a 15% discount on the site across everything, but it can only be used once per customer.

Shop Manhood Undies here.

Our top picks:

SUKREW – a fantastic British underwear brand, for the alternative gent. Very comfy cotton blend jocks.

Jack Adams USA – Well known for their athletic underwear and use of premium materials and high quality manufacturing. Well known for their range of jockstraps.

Gregg Homme – Known for being very sexy underwear made in Canada very much a premium brand. Its a little different, as its see through and naturally enhancing.

Garcon Model – Another Canadian brand. As you will see the buzz word here is comfortable! Great materials and made for comfort. The SO:BE Jock is a great colour combination with fantastic fit.

Andrew Christian – One of the biggest men’s underwear brands in the world with a particularly big gay following. Definitely falls under the heading of a fashion jock, stripes are always a big seller.

The best damn guide: t-shirts

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Is there anything more versatile than a T-shirt?

Jeans, maybe. But, like shopping for denim, finding a tee that fits just so is a task nothing short of Herculean. Faced with rails, shelves and product pages heaving with a mind-bending array of fits, fabrics and finishes, it’s alarming how fast something that should be straightforward turns into a full-blown identity crisis. After all, one man’s perfect T-shirt is another man’s practically unwearable.

Well we think we may have found the answer! The chaps at MrShaw75 have just made life easier for you gents!

Look through any man’s wardrobe. No matter his style or size, all men have one thing in common. They all wear T-shirts. But is a T-shirt really just a T-shirt? Not every plain, white tee is exactly the same, and while seemingly every brand offers one, how do you really know which to buy? It’s easy to choose the perfect T-shirt, once you know the basics of this basic.

Not only are we fans of MrShaw75 because there are local lads (it just makes us a little biased) they have a cracking range of tees, suitable for any occasion, and made to perfection.

“But, how do I know what’s right for me” we hear you holla…well alongside MrShaw75, we’ve compiled some fail-safe tips for finding your glove fit – from the length that keeps your midriff under wraps to the colours that complement the rest of your rotation.

(Crew) Neck It

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Obviously there’s more to T-shirts than the classic crew neck. But we’d wager that nine times out of ten a time-honoured crew neck trumps the neck-elongating, cleavage-baring weirdness of a V-neck. Unless of course your name’s Danny and you split your time between supersets, spray tans and taking excessively hash-tagged selfies. In which case, we’re sorry, but you’re too far gone.

A well-fitting crew neck frames most necks, chests and sets of shoulders far better than a V-, scoop or boat neck; there are, of course, exceptions to every rule but that is most definitely the rule.

A Fighting Fit

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Born as an undershirt with the sole purpose of soaking up sweat, the T-shirt has come a long way from its humble origins. The way it should ideally fit, though, remains much the same.

The fit of a T-shirt is really important when picking the perfect one. And trust us, fits vary. Currently an over-sized block is on-trend for the season but ultimately I would choose something you are comfortable in. A T-shirt that sits nicely against your torso is a staple for your wardrobe.

So what exactly does “sits nicely” look like?

In theory, a T-shirt should highlight the part(s) of your upper body you’re happy with, without drawing attention to the part(s) that are still very much a work in progress. Which means:

  • Your tee should strike a balance between fitted and skin-tight; err too baggy and you’re doing yourself no favours-slash-maybe wearing a nightgown? Steer too tight, though, and you’re – depending on your build – either a) a dead ringer for someone who’s just walked off a porn set, or b) The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy. Not ideal. There’s no hard and fast rule apart from that the perfect-fitting tee sits as close to your body as possible without stretching.
  • The length of your tee shouldn’t sit any higher than the top of your hips, nor finish below them; this will ensure you can raise your hand without turning your tee into a crop top.
  • Sleeves (whether rolled or regular) should hit around the halfway point on your upper arm, neither billowing nor bracing. Unless you’ve got exceptionally long arms, in which case you can get away with sleeves that fall about an inch further.
  • Shoulder seams (i.e. the point where the sleeves of your tee meet its body) should ideally align with the point where the curve of your shoulder ends.

Material Concerns

White t-shirt in wrapper - MrShaw1975

Now you know how the ideal tee fits, it’s worth talking the stuff it should be made of too:
In the search for the perfect T-shirt, the first point of consideration should be the fabric, as this is fundamentally the building blocks of the garment.

Poly-cotton or fully synthetic materials work well to wick away moisture and retain their shape, thus earning their place in your workout wardrobe, but 100 per cent cotton tees invariably look and feel better for anything that’s not exercise.

Men go wrong, mistaking a tee’s thickness for its quality. The opposite is, in fact, true, with the highest quality cottons – mercerised, combed, ring-spun, pima, supima and Egyptian, for example – being lighter, thinner, durable and more lustrous.

While it’s true that you’ll want a certain degree of thickness to wear your tee as easily with tailoring as a pair of jeans (lighter, sheerer styles serve you best at the beach rather than the bar), too-thick tees often don’t drape as well as their welterweight brothers.

In summary, swerve synthetics in favour of superior quality cottons, making sure your tee’s fabric is light enough to sit well and feel comfortable, without coming up Ricky Martin levels of sheer.

Colour

Three men in white, green and black t-shirts for highstreetgent

Key to upholding your T-shirt’s status as the workhorse of your wardrobe is buying one in the right colour. And by ‘right’, we mean versatile, enabling you to wear your tee with as much as your wardrobe as possible.

White

White is iconic. Worn by the likes of James Dean and Marlon Brando – the men who first gave the tee the unfussy appeal it retains today – the white T-shirt works with all skin tones and sits well against pretty much every other colour you’ll want to wear it with.

Grey

Grey, especially grey marl, comes a close second, gelling well with most other hues and capable of bridging the smart-casual gap.

It’s not, however, one for the prolifically sweaty, as its colour draws a lot of attention to moisture stains. You’ve been warned.

Black

Not, for most, as versatile as white or grey, a classic black tee still deserves a slot in your rotation – whether for finely tuning your rock-infused ensembles or giving things a slight Beatnik bent. Also a staple for head-to-toe monochrome getups.

Colour

Finally, bring some colour to the table without sacrificing styling potential. Particularly good for teaming with tailoring or an all-blue tonal approach to your off-duty wear.

Everything else is fair game for experimentation, but know that bright yellow and lilac probably won’t cut it as the cornerstone of your wardrobe. That said, if you’re going to dip your toe in the technicolour, a tee is a much more sensible access path than a pair of trousers or a suit.

Prints

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So we’ve already told you that MrShaw75 is a local brand and if you head over to their website, you’ll see that their entire range is influenced by the city in which they work and play: Derby. With this in mind, the prints on the tees can be explained below.

We spoke to Director and designer Karl Shaw, and he told us: “The clothing brand has evolved from a philosophy. I describe it as Influence and Pride; Influence others, and Pride in what you do. Heritage and respect are important factors too. Old fashioned values in a modern, diverse world, hence the name ‘Mr Shaw’ rather than just ’Shaw’ – a kind of gentlemanly touch.”

“The ’S’ Icon has been carefully considered, and is a combination of Form and Function.
The form is obviously from the ’Shaw’ name but the design has more meaning and depth than just a memorable shape.

“It is designed to appeal to all ages, so youth, middle and old age are represented by the 3 lines that form the letter shape.”

One of our favourite tee’s is the Derby County FC Retro tee (sorry, not sorry if you’re a Notts Forest fan reading this). The cleverly designed images reference retro DCFC Legends, the stadium C-Stand, The BBG and The Pride.

So I guess, all we’re saying is, when it comes to prints on your tee, make it personal, be proud and show what you believe in. It’s far more hard hitting!

Final Word

Has this guide tied up all your tee-related concerns? Or is there still ground to be covered? This brand is top dog, when it comes to what you’re looking for tees. What’s even better is, Mr Shaw75 currently have 40% off selected lines until the end of January 2017 – if that’s not worth checking out, we don’t know what is!

Shop MrShaw75 here.

Iconic cycling brand ASSOS gears up for opening of first UK store

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ASSOS of Switzerland, the iconic cycling brand, will open its first international concept store on Regent Street, in the heart of London’s luxury shopping district.

Marking the brand’s 40th anniversary as an industry leader, ASSOS is set take a significant step forward with the opening of its first flagship store outside the company’s Swiss headquarters, giving rise to a new era of specialized customer service for both professionals and cycling enthusiasts.

If you know us, you’ll know we’re sporty guys, we tell you all to often enough how to support your junk in the form of underwear (‘Support During Sport’ article here), but there comes a time in every rider’s life when an appreciation for fine, well-fitting shorts outweighs any concern about their cost. Indeed, a great pair of bib-shorts can transform your time on the bike from tolerating the ride to indulging in another 10km. Sure, a new set of high-priced shorts won’t improve your legs, but if you’re aching in the saddle from a poor set of shorts, it doesn’t matter how good your legs are.

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From launch of the first carbon fibre bike frame and design of world’s first performance Lycra® cycling shorts, to the more recent release of the Urban lifestyle collection, ASSOS has been at the forefront of apparel innovation for four decades. The new high-tech store maintains these design values and will house the full ASSOS apparel collection, helmets, eye-wear and accessories.

The landmark store at St James’ Market, is designed to help cyclists find their perfect kit by providing the opportunity to road-test the performance-led range in store. A uniquely designed elliptical change-room, complete with a sample of every garment in the collection, gives customers the opportunity to trial the range on a Goomah racing bike, in order to determine the all-important fit in the saddle before they leave the store.

ASSOS CEO Phil Duff said: “Wherever you live in the world, cycling is the best way to get from A to B and we firmly believe that performance and style aren’t mutually exclusive. London is the epicenter of fashion and the ever-growing buzz around cycling and we’re thrilled to bring our passion to Regent Street”.

“From professional and avid riders through to the weekend warrior, the ASSOS range is designed to allow cyclists to focus on the ride, whether that be at a competitive level or simply on the daily commute to work”.

He continued: “We are committed to developing the most technically advanced product and through our new retail experience, customers can rest assured they have chosen the perfect fit before they take to the saddle”.

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Designed by Ab Rogers, son of renowned architect Richard Rogers, whose portfolio boasts work with Comme Des Garcons, The TATE, the V&A and Conde Nast, the store opening heralds an exciting era for growth for the brand in an increasingly competitive market which sees more than two million people take to a bike every week across the UK.

Rogers said: “As a cycling enthusiast myself, I’m drawn to the unwavering commitment to performance and the attention to detail ASSOS invest in every garment. I wanted to designed a space that echoed this ethos, but importantly, also offered an innovative retail solution to guarantee customers an unmatched experience both on and off the bike”.

When it comes to performance cycling, whether it’s long rides on Sunday mornings or road racing, and sportives, bib shorts are where it’s at for outright comfort. ASSOS’ range of apparel and accessories provide comfort so you can sit in the saddle for hours at a time.

The eagerly awaited store will open to the general public tomorrow on the Friday 18th November from 09:00, with fitting appointments available daily.

The brand new ASSOS store is located here: