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Image / Fashion

Stylish bike-friendly outfits to take you everywhere from the shops to picnics with friends

by Megan Burns
25th May 2020

Whether you’re meeting pals for a picnic or popping to the shops, if you’re travelling on two wheels we have some outfit ideas that are more ‘chic’ than ‘cyclist’. 

During lockdown, it seems that people are taking to cycling like never before. With quiet roads and new bike lanes popping up around the country, bike sales have rocketed and our streets are full of cyclists of all ages.

As a regular cyclist, I’m delighted that more and more people are taking to their bikes, and I’m here to share my knowledge of cycling wear. And no, it’s nothing to do with Lycra.

I know when I said ‘cyclist’, you immediately pictured someone dressed in tight shorts and a vest, but I treat my bike as a way to get around, not as a sport, so I’ve had to perfect outfits that are comfortable enough to cycle in, but that look good enough that I don’t have to change when I arrive at work, or to meet friends.

While I want to emphasise that you can wear just about anything on a bike (long, very flowy dresses are perhaps an exception) but here are some of the clothes I return to again and again when setting off on my bicycle.

Popping to the shops

stylish cycling outfits

Sure, you can absolutely cycle to the shops in shorts, leggings, or any other activewear suited to cycling, but if you’re anything like me, you’re viewing any trip to the outside world as a chance to put something nice on.

I have a pair of black culottes similar to these ones from Arket, €69, and they’re probably the item of clothing I wear most when cycling. An elasticated waist and loose style mean they’re incredibly comfortable and easy to move in, the short style means there’s no danger of catching the trouser ends in my chain, and they also look good with almost anything.

A boxy jacket like this workwear one from & Other Stories, €89, is also perfect for cycling. Its many pockets are great for stashing your phone and keys, while its wide shape means you won’t overheat too quickly.

A picnic in the park 

stylish cycling outfits

Now that we can meet up with friends outdoors, a picnic in the park is a great way to spend time together in a safe way, and this outfit has the breezy, summery vibes to match.

You might think you can’t wear a skirt when cycling, but with some trial and error, I’ve found that midi skirts that aren’t too loose, but do have some sort of slit are actually very easy to cycle in. Too much fabric will billow out as you move, creating a mini parachute effect, and anything without a slit probably won’t give you enough movement to get on and off the bike, so this bright option from & Other Stories, €59, is ideal.

This silk shirt from Everlane, €83, is also nice and light, while still looking great with everything from jeans to skirts. I don’t like cycling in tight tops, but this looser style would give plenty of room for movement.

For a socially-distant special occasion

stylish cycling outfits

Maybe you’re going to a back-garden birthday party or toasting your newly-engaged friends over their garden fence. Whatever the special occasion, just because you’re getting dressed up doesn’t mean you can’t cycle there.

Just like skirts, dresses take a little consideration when getting on a bike, but short, loose dresses like this one from & Other Stories, €79, are some of my favourite things to cycle in. The trick is simply to wear a pair of tight black shorts underneath. They’ll avoid any knicker-flashes when you’re on the bike, and no-one will know they’re there once you’re off it.

For a cute bag, go for something cross-body as it’s totally hands-free, meaning you don’t need a basket on your bike. This one from ASOS, €34.56, is in a wonderfully summery rattan material.

When you’re exploring your 5km

Many of us are taking the opportunity to explore our expanded 5km radius on our bicycles, and this outfit is ideal if you’re spending a few hours getting to know your area better,

Luckily for all those new cyclists out there, summer is the best time to get exploring on your bike. The bad news is, chances are, you will still get caught in the occasional shower (it is Ireland, after all). A trench coat is one of the best things I’ve found for stylish cycling in the rain, as their length means you can keep most of your body dry, and I love the modern details on this ASOS one, €76.04.

A backpack is an ideal cycling bag, as you can fit plenty of bits and bobs inside them, all safely on your back while you pedal along. I bought a similar satchel to this from The Cambridge Satchel Company, €190, over two years ago and it has been invaluable to my cycling adventures. I also frequently get stopped in the street by people asking where it’s from, so it seems to pass the style test, too.

Featured image: @lunaklestrup, @teklan, @veravanerp

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