Looking good on a bike - it's all in the detail
Published 4 April 2012
In our guest blog this month, Alex Murphy from Howies considers some of the trends and innovations helping cyclists look good (and feel comfortable) on and off the saddle...
Whether you’re in the city or out on the country lanes, more often than not you’ll spot a bicycle.
To passers-by, cyclists may appear to be all the same – a wheel at the front, one at the back, and a rider in-between pounding away at the pedals. But on closer inspection, each branch of cycling has its own style, playing a personal and often important factor in choosing what you’ll wear on the bike.
Lycra’s not for everyone, and there are those of us who are just as likely to tuck suit trousers into socks or turn up jeans to get about. So where do you start if you’re not into spandex?
One thing that runs throughout bike wear is practicality, with technical fabrics and elements of bike ergonomics from bike-specific gear coming through into more casual kit.
Fabrics like Merino can revolutionise a commute, turning an understated top into a technical baselayer that you can wear all day in the office. Merino wicks and breathes like a technical man-made fabric, but has the benefit of natural antibacterial properties, so it won’t smell after a ride. Socks and underwear made of Merino can be a good choice to keep you warm and sweat-free too. You can get off your bike and straight into a meeting and no one will see any sweat patches.
Cleverly conceived pockets are being designed and placed with the bike in mind; so there’s somewhere to put phones and keys without having to sit on them – or without their weight causing your top to hang down and swing as you ride.
Reinforced seams and elastane mix fabrics can give trousers a long-lasting lifespan with enough stretch to bend knees without the back of your trousers pulling down and baring cheeks. Epic fabrics are also great for Britain, providing a water-resistant coating on normal looking thread which beads off water if you’re caught in a shower. There are now even water-resistant jeans available, which offer the prospect of stealthily dry legs.
If you find high-viz a bit full-on, look for jackets with reflective panels and detailing instead. These subtle additions to arms, backs, zips and piping are often cleverly integrated to give you safety and practicality on the ride, without compromising style.
And you can even get the all-important helmet that's been styled to look just like a regular hat.
Simplicity in styling makes bike wear a little more fashionable off the bike, and some riding gear will comfortably double up as casual wear for that stop in the pub or café.
Practicality of gear aside, riding should be fun. There’s a wealth of colour and style out there and you can have as much fun with what you wear as you can with riding itself.
Biking is in the detail. Just look for it.
Alex Murphy is Marketing Co-ordinator for Howies, a small active clothing company based in Cardigan Bay who make men’s and women’s clothing for biking, running, the outdoors, and day to day life.
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