There is no right or wrong thing to wear while bike touring. Just be comfortable and ready for any weather:
Warm… Cool… Cold… Wet…
Helmet- Make sure it fits and is comfortable. It could save your life.
Sunglasses-Save your eyes, also good for rain and wind protection.
Non-cotton shirt- avoid cotton (especially in cold temps) because it absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry. At thrift stores look for synthetic fabrics like polyester (soccer jerseys are easy to find). (why secondhand?) You can also sport a bike jersey that has convenient back pockets.
Spandex- Adds comfort, wicks moisture, prevents chafing, and acts as a substitute to the jock strap. Wear some synthetic pants/shorts on top if you don’t feel comfortable just in spandex; these can easily be found secondhand. Some people prefer not to wear spandex.
Bike Gloves- increase comfort by absorbing shock, improving circulation, and making a convenient sweat/snot rag. Aaron is not using bike gloves in this photo.
Shoes- The stiffer the sole the more efficient and comfortable your pedaling will be. Some wear street shoes because they are more comfortable than bike shoes when off the bike, and thus you only need to carry one pair. Some wear bike shoes; these increase efficiency, are designed for comfort while biking, and secure feet to pedals when going fast on bumpy roads. We recommend bringing a spare pair of shoes for off the bike use.
Layers- Throw on one or more layers depending on how cold it is. Try wool because it is warm (even when wet), light, doesn’t stink, is damn stylish, and is easy to find secondhand. Another option is synthetics, such as polyester fleece. Use your rain jackets as another layer in the wind and cold.
Hat- Keeps the heat in, and is easy to take off when you start to warm up. Check out aaron’s homemade hat, made from a secondhand sports coat. Matt rocks a bright orange hat; this brings out the color of his eyes and makes it easier to find him. We don’t know where he found it.
Gloves- we give gloves two thumbs up. Warm hands make life better, and while biking your hands are totally exposed to wind, rain, and cold. Wind and rain proof gloves are nice, but you often loose dexterity and get too hot. Sometimes a spare pair to change into is the best option. One option is to try mittens that can be trasformed into fingerless gloves.
Scarf- Keep the wind from blowing down your shirt and cooling your core. Can also double as a face mask when it is really cold.
Knee Warmers- Keep sensitive joints and muscles warm. These are light and easy to throw on or off.
Rain Jacket/Pants- The best are light and packable. Heavy rubber gear will have you sweating until you are just as wet inside as out. Rain Jackets double as a wind breaker in cold, windy weather or a gnarly decent. Keep it handy, they are nice layers.