Why Lycra is a Bad Idea

Robert Hurst, author of the how-to book on how to ride a bike in the city, The Art of Cycling: A Guide to Bicycling in 21st-Century America says, “the thought of cyclists pedaling around in their standard everyday garb is heartening. The more riders who do this, the more obvious it will be to the general public that cycling is about straight utility in addition to recreation and exercise, an important point that has yet to penetrate the thick skull of American society.”

We’re all for utility, but how about utility with style? It looks like the Brits are ahead of us in this department with the recent revival of riding tweeds. There’s a Tweed Cycling Club, a funny article in The Chap (pdf), a photogenic London tweed ride, and let’s not forget our stylish American friends Hen Waller (of chicken fame) who operate v√©locouture and are also fans of tweed.

As I prepare to step on a train to head to San Francisco with my bike and usual slovenly attire, I only wish the journey could be as stylish and civilized as this old film the folks at the Tweed Cycling Club dug up:

See part II of that film here.

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  1. this is perfect. I’ve been riding a lot more and have been looking for some stylish digs very as recent as last night. unfortunately i’m apprehensive about lycra, but my normal pants get dirty by chain oil and the seam in my jeans make my saddle uncomfortable. this is a good one, thanks

  2. thanks for the link guys. as it happens Robert and I were childhood friends when we were wee ones in Colorado. I had forgotten that quote of his.


  3. for some reason i still get dirty trousers even on my bike with the chain gaurd (in fact it’s worse with that one) maybe i just need a better one.

  4. It sure would be nice if you could make your point without having to resort to, “Ha Ha Ha, let’s laugh at the fat guy in spandex”. Couldn’t we all wear whatever the hell we are comfortable with, without having to see such childish headline-picture combinations as you chose?

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