What to Wear for the TD Five Boro Bike Tour


This is the big show. This is the bucket-list ride. This is the most incredible, one-day bicycle tour of the best and brightest city in the universe. The TD Five Boro Bike Tour. Every year, 30,000+ riders take to the car-free streets of New York. Starting at Battery Park, riders venture unencumbered through all 5 Boroughs of New York. Hitting highlights that include, the Avenue of Americas, Central Park, The Queensboro Bridge, The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and having the unparalleled perspective of taking all of this in on two wheels. There is no ride like this in the world. And the side benefit of riding in the TD Five Boro Bike Tour is you’re helping people. It’s the largest charity ride in the world and provides funding for Bike New York, a non-profit that helps transform the lives of New Yorkers through bicycling. It does this by teaching kids and adults how to ride a bike safely and confidently in this big city.


Now that you’ve decided you’re in for the Five Boro, we need to get to the point of this article: What to wear. Why you wear it. And when you’re gonna need it. 


Riding a bike is as easy as… well… riding a bike. But to enjoy the ride, it’s best to be prepared and wear stuff that will make you forget you’re exercising. Wearing the proper clothing can make the difference between an unforgettable ride that echoes thoughts of pain and poor decision-making and an unforgettable experience that shines brightly as an accomplishment you can’t wait to tell everyone about.


In full disclosure, this article was written by the folks at Primal. Not at ChatGPT. Just good ol’ fashioned hands on a keyboard, with spellcheck, Grammarly, and we still probably, most likely, messed things up. Primal is the Official Apparel Partner of the TD Five Boro Bike Tour and a long-time partner of Bike New York. We are the largest event cycling apparel brand in the US, and we are speaking about the tour with the first-hand knowledge and authority that comes with participating in the ride since 2011. We’ve seen all types of weather conditions, and hopefully, our experiences will benefit you.


Let’s get to it. Let’s start with the basic questions we’ve answered over 30,000 times.


What is a cycling jersey? And why should I wear one?

Well, a jersey is what cyclists wear when riding a bike—fashioned for the famous and infamous riders of the grand tours like Le Tour de France and La Vuelta de España. The more practical answer for why you should wear one is that the Five Boro Bike Tour has restrictions on bags, and the jersey has three cargo pockets. You got stuff? Here is a place for it. Besides that, the jersey is a really cool way to commemorate your ride. It uses impressive fabrics that wick sweat away from your body, which is essential in hot and cold weather. And, most importantly, you will look amazing in the jersey when you take photos at the finish.



What about shorts or bibs? What is a bib?

Cycling shorts, or bibs (Bibs are just shorts with straps that go over your shoulders instead of elastic around your waist.), have a very important feature: a pad, aka “The Chamois.” It’s pronounced sha-mee, it’s European, and no, you don’t clean your car with it. This pad protects your sit bones from getting a rude awakening from the pressure, vibration, and friction endured on a bike ride. Especially one that is longer than 10 miles. Our pads are made in Italy, have advanced microfibers and space-age foams, and use high-frequency welding to create a shape perfect for your backside. In addition to the padding, the shorts are made of advanced fabrics that help wick sweat and promote blood flow to your muscles. Not everyone is comfortable with just wearing cycling shorts, and wearing loose-fit shorts over a pair of cycling shorts is perfectly acceptable. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong.



Should I bring a jacket?

Most years, a jacket in the morning has been a must-have. But we recommend something lightweight and packable. Packable in those three cargo pockets on your newly purchased TD Five Boro Bike Tour jersey. We sell both Wind Jackets that have a wind and water-resistant finish and a waterproof, windproof Rain Jacket. The rain jacket has the smallest profile when packed down and makes a great top layer on cooler early mornings that could shift to warmer afternoons. We only recommend a thermal jacket if the temperature will be under 50º for most of the day. If you can wear a lighter set of layers at the beginning of the event, you will be thankful at the end of the day you’re not carrying around the extra weight.


What else?



Helmets are required: We recommend this guide for picking the right helmet. You want to make sure the helmet fits correctly and that you don’t have any hotspots or pain points.


Sunglasses: Any sunglasses will do, but polarized and photo-chromatic lenses that change the level of tint are the best for the tour. You will pass through tunnels and under bridges where the light can change quickly, and the ability for the lenses to lighten up will give you more visibility.


Gloves are a good idea if you’re not used to riding over 10 miles at a time. They can protect your hands and keep them from going numb on a longer ride.


Cycling caps, arm warmers, and knee warmers are all lightweight accessories that can help if you need extra coverage.



Riding a bicycle is cool, but I’d like something less, cycling specific. What should I wear?

We recommend a lightweight, active shirt as a base. It will keep you cool and dry while you ride. You can pair it with our Ilex shorts for the perfect complement for riding in the city. Pants are usually a bad idea; getting your pant leg caught in the chain, or at the very minimum, getting grease on them, is highly probable.


We also have active tank tops, shorts, and leggings. While we recommend cycling-specific products, all of these will do. In reality, all clothes that you wear while riding a bike are cycling apparel; we just want you to feel your best while riding the TD Five Boro Bike Tour.




The Primal Fam