Cycling in Style!
By: Imogen Church
Published: March 7, 2017 (Updated: March 7, 2017)
Everyone knows that the best outfit to cycle in is NO OUTFIT, but, for legal reasons I can’t recommend you do that (plus I suspect it is actually the least comfortable outfit, I just felt like being contrary and filling your brains with unwanted images… just the kinda gal I am…). So, as a city cyclist who gets out and about every day, I thought I would take a little look at what I wear as I ponce around town on my 8Freight. Also, what other people recommend and what I have on my wish list for velocipeding in style.
What am I wearing?
Right now? Ooo you saucy bugger. No, I mean what am I wearing as in, what am I wearing this season? (The season being Winter into Spring, I don’t do fashion seasons, I just do AWESOME CLOTHES). For me, city cycling requires a mixture of fabulousness and comfort. No sixteen mile off-road dirt tracks for me! So over the years I have carefully honed what makes me feel frickin’ great whilst also being practicable for cycling. For example, I love a good dress, but some dresses are that fraction too long and get caught and ripped in the chain two minutes after you set out to cycle to a friend’s party… and some are so short that innocent bystanders get a flash of pantaloon, which is not a problem provided you wear fab pants or a nice (as I shall call them) ‘over-pant’. Also, some skinny jeans are frankly too skinny and restrict rotation by pressuring the knee at the top of each cycle, which hinders your ability to burn rubber. Luckily, the 8Freight has a low cross bar so you can step off the bike in front of you, meaning you can get your frock on without flashing your lady garden as you kick out behind you. But the greatest lower-clothing article I have ever found for cycling is the good old fashioned short. I love shorts for cycling. Freedom of movement plus the chance to show off either eccentric tights or unique leg tattoos. The attached picture is of my beautiful plus-fours ( www.collectif.co.uk ) which make me feel very splendid indeed, do the job of a short but also have that extra length for the chilly days. I also have vintage shorts, short shorts, long shorts and culottes. You will also see in the picture that I am rocking a pair or Doc Marten mary janes. My husband disagrees with me on this but I have found that a Doc Marten shoe (SHOE, not boot. The boots don’t bode well, what with their restricted ankle action) is the greatest shoe for cycling. Their weight and thick, ridged soles really hold well to a decent peddle, the super thick leather and the DM wonder balm make them perfectly waterproof and they also make you look a bit like Tank Girl or some other heavily-booted comic heroine/hero. I have spats (pictured), cherry red brogue T- Bars, GOLD shoes and a more summery mary jane affair. I love DMs for cycling but would be interested to hear others opinions on such!? As for the tights, if you are going to cycle in tights my recommendation is to spend more and have less chance of ladders from catching a pedal or chain. Those pictured are Wolfords… yes, I clearly do have too much cash to spend on hosiery. In terms of the upper half, I always try to stick to a cottony top, a vest or something loose around the arms to allow airflow… if you haven’t yet, please take the time to read my blog on sweat. And finally, I adore my reflective gold helmet from the inimitable Cycle Chic https://www.cyclechic.co.uk/ . Add to that my Aldi hi-vis accessories, such as leg warmers, arm warmers and winter cycling coat for really rubbish weather and you can’t miss me! Well, you would think that, but you’d be astonished what a pedestrian plugged into an iPod can miss…
What are other people wearing?
Well, if they didn’t read past the first twelve words, then NOTHING! Other people I see and talk to about what to wear have different requirements of course, for example, the insanity levels of riders like @johnnystorm require far more hardcore all-weather serious cycling garb, like the get-up from @cafeducycliste and sweet threads from @rapha. Brooks do some really swanky city stuff, including (obviously, some sexy saddles) rather nice backpacks and collapsable helmets with a stripe of tweed in them! I have seen an insane pink fluffy hi-vis tabard from @velovixen who also do really nice padded knickers for extra bum comfiness ('over-pant' anyone?). You can really go to town on your velo fashions if you want. But of course you can also just cycle in whatever falls out of your wardrobe, provided it is flexible and visible. No point looking great if you end up mashed into a pulp… And, naturally, the greater part of your cycling chic is your steed itself, from which you can tell a lot about a person... such as 'she has an 8Freight, she gets s£$% done in unique style'...
What is on my wish-list…
There are sooooo many things I would love to wear whilst cruising around town. when I go to the library I could wear one of the Cath Kidston dresses covered in books. When I go to the hospital I could wear Fashion Scrubs (if only someone would invent them) and when I take my son to school I could go dressed as Squirrel Girl (although it would have to be as Doreen Green, with the tail shoved in my capri pants or we might be looking at a safety hazard). But realistically, the things I crave include the waterproof skirt from Georgia in Dublin. I do think it deserves a design award and if I could just stop buying Dr Martens and Wolfords I could probably afford it… http://www.georgiaindublin.com/product/the-rainwrap/ They also do some great wraparound ‘Leggits that would help the splashes that catch the lower leg and shoes. Were I indeed to stop buying DMs then I could also afford to complement my cycle helmet collection with this beautiful sparkly one from Cycle Chic https://www.cyclechic.co.uk/shop/helmets/sawako-ladies-bike-helmet-sparkle Who also do an INCREDIBLE vintage-inspired pink hi-vis that is to die for https://www.cyclechic.co.uk/shop/clothing/day-glow-doris-swing-jacket-hi-viz-pink
Those are my picks and I'm sticking to them! More to the point, I'm mooning over them. But hey… if there’s nothing to moon over, what would we do? Maybe get on with getting off-planet and terraforming Mars? Or maybe just having a bath.
Whatever you do, be comfortable, feel fabulous and stay safe. Wearing great clothes to cycle in is just one of the many many fantastic things about being a cyclist. Get Badgering!