FASHION: Five style rules for staying chic when cycling

Making your fashion both functional and cute while cycling is a delicate balancing act, says Prudence Wade

 Prudence Wade, PA

Reporter:

Prudence Wade, PA

Cycling has exploded in popularity this year - so much so that it's been near-impossible to get your hands on a bike over the past few months.
It's a great way to get out and about without using public transport, and manages to sneak a bit of extra exercise into your day. However, rookies will almost certainly have some teething troubles with their new cycling habit - particularly, perhaps, on the clothing front.
It can be tricky to know what's best to wear when cycling, especially if you've started biking to work. Your outfit needs to be suitably functional but also stylish and appropriate to wear in the office - unless you're willing to lug a new set of clothes to change into. There is admittedly quite a lot to think about here: you want to be visible to cars zooming by, have comfortable shoes, be prepared for all weather eventualities and not wear anything that will make you sweat too much.
Luckily, cyclewear isn't just about Lycra and clip-in shoes and it's entirely possible to look chic on your bike, while also keeping things practical. So, what are the golden rules for fashion when cycling?


1. Choose your footwear wisely

Unfortunately, high heels aren't exactly the easiest things to cycle in. Instead of faffing about with carrying a spare pair of shoes to change into when you reach your destination, it's wise to make sure your footwear works both on and off the bike.
Luckily, trainers have become increasingly acceptable in the workplace, so a crisp white pair won't look out of place at all. If your office is a bit stricter, you can still wear lace-up shoes, which look a bit dressier - look for black pairs with a rubber sole, which are smart and also relatively easy to cycle in.

2. Embrace trousers

If you're new to cycling, you might not be as adept at wrangling a skirt on the bike (something which is entirely possible with a bit of practice). In the meantime, embrace summery trousers.
High-waisted styles are a good option, so you don't need to think about hem lines rising or falling too low when leaning over the handlebars. Jeans aren't particularly comfortable to cycle in, so instead choose softer materials with a bit of give, which won't make pedalling a struggle. If you're worried about floaty trousers getting caught in your bike, either roll up the legs or tuck them into your socks. You can un-tuck or unroll as soon as you arrive at your destination, with your outfit pristine.

3. Don't forget a jacket

It will hardly surprise you to hear that wearing your favourite suede jacket is a no-go when cycling in the UK and Ireland, as it could start pouring with rain at any moment. The perfect jacket for your cycle commute is a balancing act - you want it to be lightweight and waterproof, and preferably breathable too, and also small enough to fit into your bag if the weather stays warm and dry.
Festival season might be postponed this year but there are plenty of bright and colourful rain jackets in the shops, which will be perfect for cycling - and ready to reuse when you hit the Glastonbury mud in 2021. Plus, jazzy colours will help you stand out to other road-users.

4. Always wear a helmet

This point almost goes without saying, but a helmet is a must when cycling. Luckily, helmets have come a long way since the chunky ones you wore as a kid, and you can get sleek styles in funky colours, which you won't be at all embarrassed to wear. If you're worried about looking dishevelled when you take it off, there are plenty of simple things you can do to prevent the dreaded helmet hair. Make sure you don't go cycling with wet hair, invest in a silk scarf to wear underneath your helmet, or learn how to do protective styles, like braids, which will stay in place all day.

5. Pack a backpack

Unfortunately, your beloved work handbag won't work on a bike (unless you're kitted out with a suitable basket or panniers you can tuck it into). A backpack is usually your best bet, and it's the perfect opportunity to show off your style credentials.
One of the biggest trends of the season is the utilitarian look. This means the fashion crowd is loving practical styles - so you'll be bang on trend if you choose a backpack that's big enough to fit all your stuff, in earthy hues and with lots of buckles.