You may not be aware of it, but as a cyclist you’re constantly being clocked by the Bike Style Police – best don the glam rags.
If, next time you’re riding your bike, you notice a fellow cyclist eyeing you up, it could be for many reasons other than your obviously impressive pedalling technique. The chances are, however, that you’ve been clocked by the Bike Style Police (BSP).
If you’re relatively new to cycling you may not be aware of them, but the BSP are a permanent fixture of the weekend and commuting peloton. Between them, they set the rules for how we should look on a bike and have formed many unwritten rules, which we advise cyclists everywhere to adhere to if they want to avoid disdainful looks and more than a few raised eyebrows.
Below is a collection of just some of those rules.*
No to Dayglo
Regardless of the dangers you face, no matter the level of traffic, thou shalt not wear Dayglo. Dayglo is for old people or newbies. Or lollypop men. Next time the rain or night comes, reject that bright yellow jacket and select a figure-hugging, understated, stealth number instead. If you must wear clothing that allows other road users to see you, make it white.
If the Dayglo is part of retro team-replica jersey designs. Retro jerseys are absolutely forgiven.
Riders must wear at least one item of Italian-made clothing. The item should be immediately recognisable as Italian, which means a fancy brand or the Italian flag in plain view. Do not, under any circumstances, wear non-Italian clothing which is pretending to be Italian. Mama Mia.
If you’re familiar with the pro-peloton, you’ll know what arm warmers are. They are, essentially, tubes of material which can be worn over the arms, to convert short-sleeved jerseys into long to protect against the early morning – or high mountain – cold. The main advantage for pro-riders is that they provide a great deal of flexibility, allowing riders to manage a greater range of temperatures and conditions. The main advantage for us less-professional riders is that they look cool.
Note: there is nothing cooler than riding through the city with arm warmers rolled down to the wrists. Preferably white arm warmers. And Italian. Leg or knee warmers look silly when rolled down.
Team kit, no
Thou shalt only wear team kit if thou is professional – a rule with particular resonance when it comes to Sky kit. One unfortunate by-product of the increasing popularity of cycling is the increasing spread of Sky riders. You may as well wear a big hat saying “I’m a newbie”. Anyone wearing team kit is likely to receive comments along the lines of, “you must be quick” or something equally hilarious.
If you must wear team kit (God forbid), under no circumstances wear matching shorts. We won’t even go there.
If the team kit is a retro team-replica jersey.
Club kit, yes
While team kits are a major faux pas, club kit gains massive bonus points. Club kit demands respect and admiration from all other road users and looks stylish too. Again, full team kit with matching shorts is one step too far. The ideal look is club shorts worn with an understated, stealth, preferably Italian jersey.
Baggy clothing on a bike are for amateurs and old ladies only.
Three-day growth (men only)
Everyone knows that it takes a huge amount of energy for the human body to grow that initial facial hair following a night’s grooming. It makes complete physiological sense to refrain from shaving for at least two, preferably three days before a big ride. Your performance will be greatly enhanced and other knowledgeable cyclists will respect you.
In this short article, we have merely scratched the surface of the myriad unwritten rules that the BSP are constantly monitoring.
Break them at your peril; don Dayglo only if you embrace ridicule.
Instead, follow them and enjoy a happy, enlightening and stylish riding experience.
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