Bike Clothing that Doesn't Suck: How Government Does Fashion
Image credit: Transport for London
London's transportation authority tries fashion design
In the US this might awaken the age-old debate about the proper role of government, but back over in 'socialist' Europe, Transport for London (TfL), the authority responsible for running the capital's transportation system (including a whole bunch of fancy new hybrid buses), is not averse to doing what it can to make cycling easier - and that apparently includes fashion design (we can't all bike naked!). OK, so the designs above aren't exactly at the cutting edge of cat-walk fashion - but they are also not ridiculous lycra outfits in neon colors. And let's face it - if the brief was to design practical, comfortable bike clothing for urban commuters, we'd hardly want them to go too cutting edge. There are others out there, however, who are less afraid to make a statement. The BSpoke collection of cycling clothing for sale on TfL's website is certainly inoffensive enough - and looks like it is designed with safety, comfort and the good old British weather in mind. Items include waterproof, wind-proof and breathable cycling jackets for both men and women, knitwear cycling tops, and casual stretch-cotton trousers with velcro hems to avoid chain mash ups. And with prices around £60-£130 ($100 - $200), this stuff is relatively affordable - at least for those folks used to paying London rent.
In case anyone finds TfL's sensible and oh-so-practical efforts just a little too boring, Peter Robins' blog post about modern bicycle clothing over at The Guardian also points us to Dashing Tweed's designs, or Rapha's turn-of-the-century styled cycling suit (pictured below) which goes for around £3500 (you don't want to know the US dollar conversion on that one!).
But I'm with The Guardian here - I don't want to feel like I'm in costume, just because I bike. TfL's design efforts are a great step to liberating the cyclist from lycra. And they are eminently more practical than the fashion establishment's latest offerings.