Since touching down in German town, I’ve officially become a City wanker. I mean rider. That person you see with a bobble hat on, musette over their back and a lock wrapped around their waist. Looking hipster, feeling cold. There’s a skill in city riding, which I’m quickly learning. You may not need lycra or food stuffed down your back pockets, but do you need trousers that don’t dig in and an observant eye for finding places to lock your bike.
WHAT CITY RIDING TEACHES YOU:
1. Most of my jeans are too tight.
Ever since the era of skinny jeans, most of us own too many jeans that look like they’ve been painted on. Coupled with a baggy shirt or jumper is acceptable (an outfit I often turn to), but sitting on a bike and trying to turn right whilst my muffin top turns left is not. Get a high waisted pair, or don your favourite pair of boyfriend slouch jeans.
2. Most bags are style over substance.
That satchel you love or the slouch bag that goes with you everywhere, leave at home. As soon as you're on a bike, they’ll slip, fall and become more of a nuisance than the too tight jean problem you’re having. My current overly used accessory is my Rapha musette. I do love being a backpack wanker but when you’re riding only 10 mins for a coffee fix, minimal musettes are perfectly designed.
3. Lock it up.
We’re all accustomed to leaving the house and thinking ‘phone, purse, keys’. Time to add in another: ‘bike lock key’. I’d advise choosing a lock which makes the whole additional life task easier. I wear hiploks. Their name is a wonderfully simple way to explain what they do - a lock you wear across your hips.
4. STYLE IT OUT.
Thankfully the good design folks at Rapha have created a city range that features design aesthetics of everyday simple clothing, but the technical benefits to help when riding. Roll ups on jeans, side pockets in jumpers and cuts that are complimentary to the bike position are to name but a few. No longer do you have to turn up to the pub and start the conversation with ‘Sorry about my ‘mid life crisis’ wardrobe, I’ve travelled by bike’.
After riding for hours on the road, the focus normally on kms ridden and speed reached, there is an endearing and honest appeal to city riding. You’re pedalling slower and seeing your city with fresh eyes. Outside of the obvious benefits of getting places fast and saving money on transport, you’re also using travel (a time which often causes people to stress out and tut heavily to the person in front), to play. To be free. To be a child again. To appreciate the simple beauty in riding your bike, oil stains and all.