Natty bikewear

By Felix Salmon
June 10, 2009

Last week, I had a rather miserable bike ride home in the rain, and tweeted as much when I’d managed to dry off a little. A few hours later, I got an email from Abe Burmeister, the CEO of Outlier, telling me about his office-friendly and water-resistant bike trousers. Would I like to try a pair? I would — and in fact I’m wearing them today. I rode them in to work in the drizzle this morning and my legs stayed nice and dry; I then rode up to a meeting with Art Capital Group on the Upper East Side and back through Central Park. They’re certainly comfortable — and they’re more presentable than the jeans I usually wear. If you didn’t know they were bike trousers, you probably wouldn’t guess.

But after reading Alex’s blog entry about the Rapha bespoke cycling suit today, a pair of off-the-peg cycling trousers clearly isn’t going to cut it. The only problem is that I very much doubt Timothy Everest is going to offer to make me one of these things to try out — and weirdly I don’t have £3,500 to spend on looking particularly natty while riding my $300 bicycle. I might have to make do with the Outlier trousers after all.


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(in Yakov Smirnoff voice) In Europe, fashion doesn’t suit bikes, bikes suit fashion.

Seriously, there’s a whole movement dedicated to normal people biking in normal clothes. Google “cycle chic”. The trick is you need a bike with an fenders, enclosed gears, and an enclosed chain. They cost more than $300, but a lot less than a special new wardrobe.

To find suitable urban cycling clothes, open your closet. Anything you own suitable for walking is suitable for cycling. Anyone who tells you otherwise is only out to make money. 100 million daily cyclists in the EU can’t be wrong. is a fine example.

I just pull a pair of wind pants on over my regular pants. Lets me go down to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit too.

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