Cycle Chic: what to wear on a bike

— by Alyson Walsh

Photos: Claire Pepper

‘Everyone knows everything about you,’ said one of my real-life friends recently, ‘It’s all online.’ Obviously, I disagreed. And, between you and me and all my virtual friends, I know that I’m right. I am very careful about what I divulge online and never switch the location settings on. Though social media can feel like relentless over-sharing, I like to think that I am relatively discreet. After a recent piece about sportswear, a reader commented on how impressed they were that I ride a bike. Now this is something that my friends are aware of In Real Life (IRL), but virtual pals are not. It’s hardly a big reveal but from an early age, I’ve always had a bicycle. As a fashion editor, I cycled to work everyday – I also played football (soccer) and my deputy had a brown belt in karate, we were a pretty kick-ass team.

On the way to a fashion shoot one day, I was knocked off my bike by a man in a van, at a very large junction. I ended up with one arm in plaster, the other in a sling (a dislocated right shoulder and a broken bone in my left hand). Needless to say, as a lifelong cyclist I wasn’t going to let that deter me and was back on my bike as soon as was physically possible. Though I stopped cycling to work and subsequently avoid central London and rush-hour traffic.

Now freelance, I love being back on my bike more. Cycling to and from the south London workspace I share with a friend, calls for relaxed everyday clothes that allow freedom of movement – and don’t look out of place at the local coffee shop. I’m not obsessed about having the right kit; a jumpsuit and lightweight jacket will do the trick. This orange bomber was in the sale at Uniqlo, earlier this year. The jumpsuit is from Hush and, when I’m not in a onesie, I tend to wear Hush harem pants and leggings with a Super Shirt and trainers or Tevas. The Poc performance sunglasses were borrowed from fellow cyclist, the photographer Claire Pepper. While the Biker’s Bomber is not waterproof, it is lightweight and good for cooler summer days.

One thing I am never without (apart from when posing for photoshoots) is a helmet. Several Christmas’ ago Mr That’s Not My Age bought me a Hovding, designed in Sweden this is a large collar that zips around the neck and activates an airbag helmet when necessary (it’s quite hard to describe – watch the video HERE). Yep. These days I embrace wearable tech and come winter, I’ll revert to my ProViz cycling jacket – which is the only other piece of proper cycle kit that I own. Better safe than sorry.


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Where to find proper cyclewear:

Rapha (for the style conscious with a big budget)

Cafe du Cyclist ( French cycle chic)

Velo Vixen (sells padded knickers and other stuff)

Threo (designed by women for women)

Machines for Freedom (cycle jerseys in outstanding prints)

As bold As (commuter wear)

Cycle Chic ( a one-stop shop, as recommended by That’s Not My Age reader Cathy Eastburn)

Findra (merino wool performance wear, made in Scotland).

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‘Everyone knows everything about you,’ said one of my real-life friends recently, ‘It’s all online.’ Obviously, I disagreed.