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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Cycling in a Suit

Once a common sight, people in suits are now seldom seen riding bicycles in the UK. The only possible exceptions I can think of are some of the users of the London Cycle Hire and possibly some in Cambridge. 

Recently, I have had cause to wear a suit more frequently. Despite this change of attire I have still had to get around, which for me means cycling. Generally I find formal wear to be a bit more restrictive than I like, although a decent suit makes a big difference. On the sorts of bike I used to ride, cycling in a suit wouldn't have been feasible, the rider posture combined with the restrictions on the arms and shoulders conferred by a suit jacket would be difficult, at least for me. I can imagine this situation would be made worse by a racing or touring bike, with the popularity of sport-oriented bikes, likely a contributing factor in the declining number of cyclists-in-suits.

The Brompton and Yuba Mundo, despite sporting reasonably upright riding positions, are both not ideal for cycling in a suit due to their exposed transmission. Trouser clips are a potential way to avoid the problems associated with an exposed transmission, but if it is essential that you make a good impression, a chain-guard or preferably a chain-case is the best way to ensure you reach your destination suitably smart. Cycling in a suit, just like almost all other cycling, is best done using a bike fitted with mudguards. 

For this reason, the DL-1 has been my bike of choice for riding in formal wear. The upright posture prevents the suit jacket coming into conflict with the arms and shoulders, the chain-case prevents the trousers getting covered in chain filth and the generally relaxed feel of the bike prevents you from working up much of a sweat on your way to that important meeting. Plus it has a briefcase clip too. Now I just need a briefcase.


  1. Cheers to that MrC!

    Great post, and I have had a similar positive experience too since starting my blog. You've inspired me to do a post on it too!

    See you next Saturday at Wheelers' Brunch/TweedRide!

  2. If the reason for the dapper riding attire is what I think it is then here's wishing you the best of luck ;>D

    And nice choice of bike - loved the test ride I had on it!

  3. I this post really needs photos ;-)

    Here in Edinburgh we do get people gentlemen riding in suits, for examples see here and here, and there are more on the blog.

  4. pics! (ok they are all Boris Johnson)


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