Showing posts with label apparel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apparel. Show all posts

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An Observation on Chic Commuting by Bike

Being an online bike guy, I read lots and lots of stuff about bicycle commuting, and I'm getting kind of tired of one popular notion about commuting by bike. It is that it is feasible and/or easy to commute in the clothes you plan to wear all day.

When the weather is nice and the temperature just right, one can indeed commute to work and back without becoming a sweaty mess or a sopping wet one. That means that depending on where you live, you might be able to wear your regular work clothes quite a few times without incident. My concern is that people who plan to do it this way will inevitably get caught in the rain or get their clothes dirtier than planned sooner or later. That experience will suck, and they may be less inclined to ride next time.

Don't get me wrong; I don't think everybody needs to get all bike-specific with their commuting clothes (although bike clothes do dry more easily while you work). Keeping your work clothes dry and clean on the way in or leaving enough clothes at work on the weekend or whatever will prevent the aforementioned nasty experiences and make you more likely to keep it up.

Another bonus of commute clothes vs. work clothes is that you are more likely to ride harder and/or have more fun. Yes, you may sweat more, but some deodorant and a towel are enough to be fresh and pretty after you change for lots of people, at least the ones who shower every day. I don't know about you, but I commute by bike mainly for the sheer fun of it. Different clothes = more fun. That means that even fair weather only riders could be having more fun too.

I know some people are into this cycle chic thing, but I just don't get it. I mean, many of their bicycle choices are driven by the fact that they will be wearing "lovely shoes and trousers/skirt" (see the fenders section)... are these chic people really going to remain regular bike commuters in the long term? Not after the rain and sweat and dirt of commuting makes them look un-chic at work a few times. C'mon, chic people, instead of reducing the fun of cycling in order to increase the fun of wearing stuff, including your bicycle, just drop the high style and let your bike sing! A dutch city bike just looks like a depressed pack mule to me. That is what happens when you make a beautiful machine a mere servant of your clothes. Even if you really like that style of bike, why not do it some justice and ride the hell out of it instead of using it as an accessory?

You know what? Who am I to tell you what to do? Get your kicks however you like. Might I suggest, however, that a set of clothes separate from those you intend to wear at work all day would allow you to 1) ride more days of the year and 2) offer the opportunity to wear TWO fabulous outfits every day! The healthy glow and relaxed good nature that really commuting for fun will give you, combined with your awesome clothes, will make you even more attractive, I promise!

Yer Pal,

PS - Rain gear only makes your work clothes that much more hot and uncomfortable to ride in. Please feel free to argue with this or any of my points in the comments.

PPS - Counter-point comments of reasonable depth have been coming in... I invite you to read them, because cycling starts with balance.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rantwick, now with Style!

When you read articles on starting any type of cycling, many of them seem to include a great many "must haves" like special clothing, gloves, shoes and so on. Now everybody knows (or should know) that all you really need is a bicycle in good working order and clothes in which you won't freeze or overheat. As people become more advanced cyclists and ride farther and faster and exert themselves more, some bike-specific clothing becomes more important or convenient. I don't want to advise anybody on what they should wear beyond the fact that it shouldn't be capable of getting caught up in your bike or obstruct your vision.

When anyone rides enough that their clothes start to cause discomfort, I'm guessing they'll look into alternatives for themselves. Practical matters like comfort, however, aren't the whole story. For some, cycling is an opportunity to show some Style. I've begun wondering what it would be like to have Style, since I haven't ever had the inclination. Maybe it feels fantastic! Not having the money to buy a bunch of different cycling getups, I thought that through the wonders of photoshop I could try out virtual Style to see if I would like it. So, without further delay:

Although the "townie" bike appeals to me in that it has full fenders, the requisite little dogs pose a problem, as do red pants. You see, I'm allergic to dog dander, and I'm guessing riding along creating a breeze would turn those nice little dogs into mobile dander dispensers. That same breeze may well blow their black fur onto my red pants, and I'm sorry, but that simply wouldn't do. Maybe something similar, but more traditonal...

Again, lovin' the fenders. Socks that look much like cable-knit sweaters and a hat that would definitely blow off my head at the crazy speeds at which I ride, however, make this look a no-go. Speaking of speed, maybe I should go full roadie skin suit...

I must confess, I love the way this suit compliments my skin tones... Mmmm. Sadly, sporting a suit like this would just make my beautiful commuter look infinitely stupid, instead of annoyingly geeky and practical. You know, maybe I should just try to show a little more flair!

Not having ever applied makeup, it made me squint like that, sorry. Overall, though, if I'm going to dress to look good rather than to ride, this one appeals to me more than the others. Does that mean I secretly wish to be a fashionable, bike riding woman? Of course not! Shame on you for thinking it... I am as athletic and manly as they come, I'll have you know.

Virtual Style didn't really end up doing much for me. Ah well, nothing was ventured, and so, I suppose, nothing was gained. I'm dreadfully sorry to have wasted your time... I shall endeavour to do much better in future.

Until Then, Wear What You Want. I Do...

Yer Pal,