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Q. Do I need cycling-specific sunglasses, or will my usual shades do?
A. "A good pair of cycling sunglasses wrap around your head more closely and stay put better than regular shades," says pro triathlete Gwen Jorgensen. But more traditional styles, like the flirty and sturdy Oakley YSC Overtime, provide great protection for casual rides, plus a portion of their sales benefits breast cancer awareness. ($190, oakley.com)
Q. Why do cycling jerseys have to be so fitted?
A. Not only would flapping fabric slow you down, but a billowing shirt would bare your belly button. The sweat-wicking Castelli Perla jersey ($80, castelli.com) makes a snug fit feel like a buttery-soft hug, and it's longer in back for extra coverage.
Q. How do I rock a ponytail while wearing a bike helmet?
A. "I put a ponytail through the back hole of my helmet and then braid it, or I make a messy bun and fit it through,? says pro cyclist Ally Stacher of Team Specialized-Lululemon. This genius lightweight Cannondale Teramo helmet is designed to allow your pony to poke through -- finally! ($110, cannondale.com)
Q. Am I supposed to wear undies with my bike shorts?
A. It's up to you, but you're much better off going commando, pro cyclist Stevens says. Bike shorts are padded, and underwear can bunch and chafe on long rides. Try the Pearl Izumi W Symphony knickers, which have a seam-free chamois that prevents the wedgie effect. ($120, pearlizumi.com)
Q. Is there a sneaker that's good for cycling if I'm not ready to clip in?
A. Your best bet is probably a pair of light-hiking or trail-running shoes with a rock plate in the forefoot, says Tom Kuefler, a brand manager for Bontrager, a bike manufacturer. "Look for a relatively stiff outsole," he says. Try Charge RC Storm by Under Armour ($120, ua.com). And when you're ready to switch to clip-ins, go with the beginner-friendly Shimano Click'R CW40 ($90, bike.shimano.com for info), which make it easier to get in and out of your pedals.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2012.