I started cycling when I started my job at Sustrans a few years ago. I live in Cardiff and now cycle everywhere. Being able to look good on my bike was and still is important to me, and I think I’ve nailed it!
When I started my job at Sustrans I was not a cyclist, but I felt that it was important that I practiced what I preached, so I got on a bike for the first time in 10 years.
I took the plunge and bought my bike, and haven’t looked back since. I’ve always been style-conscious person with a love for dresses, skirts and all things feminine, and I was determined that I would not let cycling change my style and wardrobe. In fact cycling has enhanced it.
Here are a few things I’ve discovered that really help:
Choosing and using a bike that you love…
The beauty of bikes is that they are so versatile; you can pick something that really suits your personality or the look you want to go for. You could go for a customised fold-up bike, slick racer, sporty mountain bike, or you can opt for the more traditional vintage look like mine. She’s a large emerald green, Dutch-style bike with a basket and tassels on the seat and grips. I fell in love as soon as I saw her.
There are so many styles, colours and designs to choose from. Go to your local bike shop for advice, and take some for a test spin, or go to our website for more info on choosing the right bike for you.
What to wear…
Generally, for the majority of shorter journeys (less than 5 miles), you can wear more or less what you like as long as you feel comfortable.
People often look surprised when I turn up on my bike dressed glamorously, but for me being on a bike is a fashion show in itself. I find it’s fine to cycle in skirts and dresses if they give you enough freedom to pedal. Long, flowing skirts can be clipped in the middle to keep them out of moving parts and to stop the wind blowing them around. For shorter skirts, tights, leggings and shorts are a god-send.
For the rain a breathable waterproof jacket is a must. You’ll find plenty of stylish options on the High Street. Waterproof trousers are also handy, which you can wear over your normal clothes and whip them off on arrival.
Accessories: Dress up your bike…
My favourite discovery when I first started cycling was panniers. Panniers are bags that attach to a rack on the back of your bike and are perfect for carrying anything from laptops and files, to the weekly shop. It’s even possible to buy specialist panniers to carry suits!
They are so handy and you can barely notice them there. The good news is that they’re available in a multitude of designs, colours, styles, shapes and sizes, so you can coordinate with your outfit or your bike.
Increasingly, there are more and more beautiful, colourful products out there to accessorise with. From floral helmets to cute wicker baskets, to clip on flowers for your handlebars… the list is endless. There are a great selection of accessories available from the Sustrans Shop.
Don’t sweat, arrive fashionably early…
People think you get all hot and bothered if you cycle, but if you take your time your ride won’t make you sweat.
Something that surprised me when I got back on my bike was how quick and easy it was to get about. For short journeys it’s often the fastest mode of transport, particularly in the city. This leaves you more time to pace yourself.
Riding a bike is good for your health and all that fresh air is good for your skin. More often than not, you’ll arrive at your destination with a beautiful healthy glow and feeling fabulous.
Beauty is from within…
Feeling confident when you ride goes hand in hand with feeling and looking good on your bike. If you don’t feel confident about getting on a bike then cycle training could really help. In Wales we run our own sessions, but you’re bound to be able to find some local to you. Just a few hours with an instructor can provide the knowledge and, more importantly, the confidence needed to negotiate traffic with skill and self-assurance.
Cycling on traffic free paths or on the National Cycle Network can also really help to build your confidence. I was surprised at how many beautiful traffic free cycle routes we have right here on our doorstep in south Wales.