Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cycling chic

I recently gave up wearing a separate cycling outfit to work - partly to save myself the hassle of carrying extra clothes and the faff of getting changed in the locker room; but mostly out of sheer vanity. I got sick of seeing gorgeous London girls sailing past me, dresses and heels carefully coordinated with their Pashley's, immaculate hair streaming out the back of their fancy helmets, while I trudged along in old track pants, a second-hand reflective jacket and flouro vest.

Vanity beats safety, I'm afraid. When in Rome...

Here's what I've learned about cycle chic (this was before I discovered these two brilliant websites devoted to girly-biking):

Dresses and skirts are surprisingly easy to wear on a bike - the perfect shape is a knee-length swirly skirt which gives you room to move each knee independently and still preserve your modesty.

Leggings (the bike shorts of the noughties) are your best friend. Can be worn with any skirt but work especially well with mini's.

Wrap dresses are a no-go unless you like flashing your knickers and stocking tops to all the bankers and construction workers at 8am in the morning. I sure as hell didn't.

pinup girl
I don't know what she's smiling about.

There's no need to wear ugly flouro clips - you can peg the leg of most pants by tucking them tight against the ankle and rolling up. Skinny jeans would be perfect - if you're emaciated enough to wear them (I'm not).

Heels are also surprisingly easy to cycle in: you just hook the pedal between the heel and the arch and away you go. Just be careful taking off at the lights/standing up as these shoes tend to be quite slippy.

A long scarf is brilliant in the Winter months. I advise applying the Kelly Cross (I am pretty sure I am the inventor of this technique so I hereby christen it thus). You wind the scarf once around your neck, cross the ends over your front and tie or tuck at the back. Keeps your front and your lower back warm. Works best when hidden under a jacket.

And finally, in the event of a sudden hailstorm, I advise taking shelter at the nearest bus stop/shop awning until it passes.

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