It's all very well having the day-glo gear and helmet, but you're not Mark Cavendish - so how do you look 'normal' whilst cycling to work?
a male and female cycle commuting in normal clothing
Looking cool when cycling to work

There are nearly as many styles of 'cycle clothing' as there are commuting cyclists - for some it's the full-on Lycra lout look embraced by Tour de France riders, while for others fashion comes before functionality. Whatever 'look' you choose, it doesn't mean you need to arrive at the workplace looking less than elegant.

Follow CTC's top tips for cycle chic:

  • If you must choose bespoke cycling gear, choose a brand such as Rapha [1] that is expensive but edgy - those in the know will acknowledge your refined good taste. They even produce a Tweed softshell top - a snip at £400! Other brands of quality bespoke cycle-conmuting gear include:

  • Dashing Tweeds [2] for suits, jackets, hats, capes and more for both sexes;
  • AnaNichoola [3]  for girly accessories and cool jackets;
  • Minx Girl [4] for trendy cycle clothing both on and off-road;
  • Cyclo Delic [5] for yet more hip riding gear for girls;
  • Levis [6] make a specific pair of jeans for cyclists but they may not be available in the UK;
  • Howies [7] do jeans too, are UK-based and you can buy a bundle of commuter clothing [7]that includes a merino wool base layer, a pair of jeans and a 'roadsign' backpack for £110;
  • Wateroffaduck'sback [8] make breathable, waterproof raincoats you can ride in.
  • Of course you don't need to splash the cash to look cool and trendy whilst cycling.  Cycle Chic [9]shows the myriad of ways cyclists around the globe dress to ride their bikes - from bikinis in Brazil to winter hats in snowy Denmark. Anything is possible for riding to work in!

But what about the dreaded 'helmet hair'? You don't want to arrive looking like an alien and you haven't got time to blowdry it when you arrive. First of all, looking at the photos on Cycle Chic [10], decide if a helmet is really necessary - very few riders in Europe wear them and the protection they offer is limited [11]. If you decide that you do need one, some such as Yakkay [12] are designed to look stylish whilst others claim to reduce 'helmet hair' by increasing ventilation and even have holes for ponytails.

If you still suffer from the affliction, some of these tips might help:

  • put long hair into a ponytail or plaits - it's easier to comb after riding;
  • use hair spray or hair gel on arrival to restore your style;
  • spray the inside of the helmet with hair spray before putting it on;
  • wear a bandana or cap under the helmet to prevent sweat;
  • if you ride everyday, get a good, shorter cut that is easy to style with minimum fuss - straighteners and rollers are so last year, you will look more stylish immediately and save hours of riding time!
  • the improvement in your complexion and waistline will far outweigh your slightly less than perfect appearance.