This post’s (How To Commute In Style) author, Pete Reynolds is the co-founder of Discerning Cyclist, an urban cycling blog devoted to helping everyday cyclists find stylish clothes that are perfect to ride in.
A work colleague and I started talking about cycling.
Not the sport, the mode of transport.
He was an avid cyclist who would ride through any conditions to the office – incurring a two-hour daily round trip(!).
I hadn’t cycled since I was a teenager, though, and didn’t understand why he dressed in Lycra for each journey – especially considering that this was a man that dresses extremely well otherwise.
“Can’t you just wear normal clothes?” I asked.
He told me that on longer commutes such as his, there are a few impracticalities (primarily discomfort and sweating) that prevented him from wearing everyday clothes for the journey.
But it got our minds racing in tandem…
ARE THERE STYLISH LOOKING CLOTHES THAT ARE GREAT TO CYCLE IN?
In 2012, the answer was a meek “yes”. There were a few nice pieces knocking around. But they were few and far between and cost an arm and a leg.
As we head into 2020, though, the world of clothing has changed dramatically. Fast fashion is out. Now people want practical clothing that looks and feels great – and brands big and small recognise this.
Take trousers, for example. In the past, cycling for a period of time in cotton trousers or jeans wasn’t a particularly comfortable experience. The material was stiff, they didn’t breathe, your backside would likely pop out and you might even rip your kecks as you step over the bar.
Now, however, there are dozens of brands producing amazingly high-quality outdoor chinos and trousers, and even bespoke cycling jeans. These keks are stretchy. They’re breathable. They have a “gusseted crotch” (i.e. reinforced material on high-maintenance areas). Some even have reflective detailing, while the best have a raised rear waist, so that you don’t expose yourself unwittingly to anyone.
And this goes for all types of clothes. Whether you want a smart cycling jacket or even a shirt for the office, there’s great-looking stuff out there that also feels great while you ride.
Of course, I’m not saying this is the gear you wear for an intense 40-mile weekend ride. But for your standard commute – they’ll do great. And you don’t need to carry a spare set of clothes around with you.
The same goes for bags, too. As you’ll likely have noticed at Two Wheel Gear. There’s no need to choose between style and functionality anymore. You can have the best of both worlds.