WHAT THE NEW CYCLING AGE MEANS FOR CYCLING FASHION
Written by Menswear Style in Trends on the 9th July 2020 / What the new Cycling Age Means for Cycling Fashion
Wherever you go - or when you are simply looking out of your window – you can’t miss the fact that the fashionable pastime since lockdown is cycling. It has enjoyed a massive resurgence. People are dusting off old bikes to enjoy the outdoors when they are taking their daily exercise, families are cycling out together, and friends are meeting for socially distanced bike rides. And now, with more people returning to work, increasing numbers of people are planning to commute by bike. But what does this mean for cycling fashion, as well as the fashion of cycling? To get the answer we turn to Catherine Bedford, Founder of Dashel, a brand which offers a range of slim, ventilated, lightweight cycle helmets manufactured here in the UK.
Will cycling stick around?
"I believe this new-found love of cycling will endure. Once people realise the benefits of cycling, they will be happy to carry on. For a start, if you’re cycling to work, you’re getting your daily exercise in the time when you would previously have been sat on a bus or a train. This, in turn, saves you time going for a run in the evening. Plus, people are happier in their cities, towns and rural routes, when cycling. As they move more slowly through their commute; with their eyes concentrating on the route and not a device or newspaper; they can learn more about the local area, spy local shops and cafes that they might like to visit, or find a green spot that they might like to go to with family at the weekend. I also think e-bikes are going to become increasingly popular, meaning you don’t have to arrive at the office sweaty. Plus, e-bikes and e-scooters will come to be seen as an affordable commodity, when compared to the price of a travel card or a second car."
"There is a preconception about cyclists being Lycra-clad, with teardrop helmets and having all the functional gear to help them get about faster. However, as people have found when taking up cycling, you don’t need to invest in loads of stuff to get on your bike. You just need to get on it and ride it! That said, I do think that, as people cycle more, there will certainly be a move towards more natural fibres. For people commuting to work, this will help ensure that they don’t arrive at their workplace feeling – and looking - hot and sweaty. People will be far keener to wear cotton than polyester, for example. Not many bikes have chain guards, so cyclists will need to make sure that you don’t wear trousers or skirts long and baggy enough to get caught in the chain, as that could cause a crash. Being out in nature regularly means that cyclists tend to have more of a connection to the environment than they might otherwise, and an interest in sustainability."
"Lockdown has meant that people have become accustomed to living in fewer outfits, and I think this will persist or, I suspect, the growth of buying less but better. Certainly, already popular is wicking fabrics, which are breathable and help to wick away sweat. You may be surprised how much wicking fabric you already own. The chances are your trendy yoga gear is ideal for getting on a bike with. If you are a new or returning cyclist and want to be a fashionable cyclist, there is plenty of great, stylish fashion-wear out there and I think as people get more used to cycling as a way of life, they will find their own cycling style. Also, when new cyclists realise how much money they are saving on car expenses or bus and train costs, they might start to invest those savings in specialist or stylish kit. Everyone should pick and choose what works for their cycling journey."
"Another misconception about cycling is that it’s all about speed; when you think of couriers in London going at full pelt, cutting in and out of the traffic or hordes of competitive cyclists on rural routes at the weekend, speeding along with the finish line and personal bests firmly in their minds. But if we consider the Netherlands, for example, cycling is a much more relaxed pastime. They go at sensible speeds and enjoy their surroundings as they cycle, arriving at the destination without being out of breath, sweaty or exhausted. Also, as we learn our routes and realise that they are probably much more direct than the road or tube routes we have been so accustomed to, we will find our journeys are not as long as we have thought they would be. So, I think we will become much more like the Dutch, Danish, Scandinavians and Nordics in our cycling. I also suspect our style will follow suit, away from stereotypical cycling clothes, and towards more stylish looks, which combine functionality and style. Brands such as Dashel, Hill & Ellis and Finisterre will increasingly be seen."
Can you be safe without compromising style?
"It’s important to be safe, particularly in the winter months, and being as visible as possible to other road users is essential. Again, this does not have to cost a fortune and you don’t necessarily need to compromise on fashion. Cyclists should ensure that they are legal and as safe as they can be. Although helmets are not legally required, they really are extremely important for safety. Traditionally, the helmet has been one of the ugliest items in a cyclist’s wardrobe but that is changing. You can now get helmets that wouldn’t look out of place with your Prada. You can also buy ones that prevent any helmet hair so you can arrive at work or the bar looking great! Also, when it comes to night visibility, you don’t have to be clad head-to-foot in day-glow to be seen – a high-visibility sash that you can wear over your coat, and costs as little as around £8, will still ensure you are seen. There are also clothes and shoes that look smart and fashionable during the day but reflect car lights when you are on your bike in the evening. If you are one of the new or returning cyclists, I have one thing to say: Enjoy feeling and looking good on your bike!"