Incorporating style into my passion

We've been talking lately about how our passions come through in our style, and it got me thinking.

I'm pretty passionate about bicycles. If you ask me, the bike is up there with libraries, antibiotics and sanitation as just about the best thing the human race has come up with. It keeps you fit, it's non-polluting and it's fun. Of all the things I love about living in the Netherlands, and there are many, bike culture is right there at the top of my list. My Dutch friends sometimes take for granted the freedom we have to ride around on two wheels, but I will never loose my sense of wonder and gratitude for the traffic infrastructure that privileges this modest form of transport. There's no better way to get around in my opinion.

Like everyone else around here, my trusty steed is a heavy weight single speed omafiets or granny bike and I use it every day to get around town. I don't need to dress specifically for this (although I draw the line at pencil skirts and wide legged pants) so bike style isn't much of a thing in my every day life. I am, however, the proud owner of a very stylish bike friendly waterproof (props again to my good friend Mel for designing the thing).

This spring, I'm kitting myself out to start sports cycling again. I took the plunge on the bike this month and I've been putting together a little capsule to match. And being me, I have to do it in style. 

Back in my mountain biking days, bike gear was all about garish lycra, so I was relieved to discover that things have changed since then. There's still a lot of shiny spandex about, but there's also a growing trend for a more low key old school classic style. Think plain striped merino jerseys, peaked caps and crochet gloves.

Leading the field are British brand Rapha, who are making some truly fabulous gear. The design is superb and the quality exquisite. They carry a price tag to match, but I was so impressed with their bib shorts (bike ladies will know what I'm talking about when I say it's all about the chamois) that I splurged on a discounted bundle to get the matching jersey. Luckily, I made some savings on the rest of the kit, completing the look with a plain black windproof from Primal and pair of very cute crochet mitts. 

There's some seriously good cycling fashion out there these days and I'm sorely tempted to slip a few pieces into my day to day wardrobe. Particularly the classic cycling jerseys at Jura, which look far too good to break a sweat in.

Control yourself girl. Resist, resist.

UPDATE! and what a glorious morning that was! 

Just christened the whole kit and caboodle on a 60k turn around the polders. Too warm for leggings, so on a whim I reached for a pair of striped thigh highs, which to my astonishment worked really well (warm, wicking, breathable) and added a whole load of roller derby attitude. I am going to have to buy more of these before American Apparel go out of business.

And of course, the most vital equipment of all. Protect your brains, kids. Wear a helmet!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Oh boy. Hold tight! Too much cool stuff!

  • rebekahphoto replied 5 years ago

    I love those stylish waterproof coats/poncho!

    After years of getting wet on the commute to work, I finally broke down and bought some gortex/waterproof jackets a few years ago. The jackets available now are a "bit" more stylish these days, but still leave quite a bit to be desired in the style dept

    I did enjoy seeing all the waterproof options overseas visiting my danish family!

  • JAileen replied 5 years ago

    I never wore special clothes for bike riding. I rode my bike to high school, and also to class in college, and I went to a crazy bicycle oriented college. The campus was very large, and closed to cars. I probably would have been more comfortable in these clothes you've posted, especially when it was raining. I never figured out a good rain outfit.

    I still have the bike I bought back then - a Raleigh 3 speed. It's my favorite bike. You could switch gears while stopped. We stopped at all stop signs because the police were on bikes, too, and they gave out tickets if you didn't!

  • chouette22 replied 5 years ago

    What a fun, inspiring post - very much enjoyed it! You are absolutely right with your deep appreciation for European bike culture, don't ever take it for granted. Living in the US after growing up in Europe, it's one of the things I miss tremendously. 

    I am another HUGE library fan, and to make up for the missing bike culture, they are top-notch here. Whatever I need be it regular, audio, or e-books, including the absolute newest ones, DVDs, online streaming films, music, they either already have or will order it from another library if they can, and if not, they'll purchase it for me. I am constantly blown away by the service.

  • replied 5 years ago

    I never knew there was so much cool stuff for bike riding! The poncho cape is fab!

  • approprio replied 5 years ago

    rachylou, Diane G: yeah, once you get into a sport, you have to hunt down all the cool accoutrements. It's kind of addictive. 

    rebekahphoto: I hear you. I don't understand why it's so hard to find a decent waterproof. Doesn't it rain in fashion land? There are some great Danish brands though.

    JAileen: that's a beautiful story. I'm now picturing a beautiful, sunny, cloistered campus with students cruising around on old fashioned bikes. So pleased you still have the Raleigh!

    chouette22: we have some good libraries here too. I do hope Google doesn't kill them all. And yes, we should cherish our bike culture. 

    Just been planning a little spin around the polders for tomorrow morning. Weather forecast is good. Off to wax my legs right now. ;)

  • Style Fan replied 5 years ago

    You are fortunate to live in a bike culture.  I refuse to ride a bike on the road.  It is scary.  There are very few bike lanes and motorists hate bikes.  DH rides his bike around for exercise but I have long given up riding. 
    I love the Raleigh 3 speed.  I had one of those years ago. 

  • rabbit replied 5 years ago

    There is some quite awesome bike gear now, and fashionable and retro clothes that are secretly gear made by little local companies.  The variety of handmade panniers and bike bags alone....

     I live in a bike city too, I'll have to ask Mr. Rabbit (it's his passion) about some good brands.  And yes, he spends far, far more on bike clothes and shoes than I do on fashion in a year, the price tags are high, but he wears those things into the ground.  :)

  • skylurker replied 5 years ago

    there are some people riding bikes in Paris, and they're suicidal, in my chicken opinion.
    I do love the freedom of walking everywhere, public transportation can be convenient but feels so much more constraining. Besides being crumbling old and disgustingly dirty.

    Kudos to you for starting sports cycling, and thanks for the ride in this totally unknown to me universe of sports cycling gear.

  • Sally replied 5 years ago

    I love both bikes and libraries.  I live near a bike track  and I have a vintage style bike...some guy called it a scones and tea bike.....  It would be impossible for me to commute by bike at the moment but I'd love to one day.  I love the bike gear in the pictures.  

    We're thinking of moving sometime so I can commute to work by if means walking around town a lot, I hope to incorporate the walking into my clothes style...wear boots for example.   

  • Runcarla replied 5 years ago

    Do say you wear a helmet when riding?

  • approprio replied 5 years ago

    Good to see so much love for bikes and libraries! Can't say I'm surprised there's not the same affection for antibiotics and sanitation, but hey, where would we be without them? :D

    Style Fan, skylurker
     yeah, it's a danger to life and limb in far too many places. Such a shame! I doubt I'd have the nerve to do this in London, which has the same problems as Paris, although I know plenty who do.

    Sally your scones and tea bike would probably be right at home in Amsterdam. Classic Dutch granny bikes often have a very vintage feel to them, although typically they get ridden into the ground before they acquire that status.

    Runcarla hehe yes of course I do! I'm not suicidal! :D But on regular trips around town, bike traffic takes legal priority over cars and doesn't move very fast anyway. You never see them on anyone over the age of ten.

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