Two Wheel Cruisin’

Garance Doré

So the other day I got a bike.

A second-hand purple Raleigh Universal to be precise, and to top it all off my housemate got a matching one. She is the Thelma to my Louise, me – Bonnie, her – Clyde, the Sonny and Cher of the cycling world… Ok you get it, THEY MATCH!?! And whilst they are not the flashiest set of wheels in town, can you tell how proud I am?

Other than the obvious benefits of getting me to places faster, and making the ten-minute supermarket slog a little bit more bearable, I also think a bike is a great accessory. Now this might sound trivial, superficial, vain (the list could go on) but you would all be lying if you didn’t admit to having seen some pretty cool bike girls out there [probably in Paris with a baguette in their basket] either in photography or in person and die a little inside with jealousy.

So there was me thinking that all I needed was the transportation – Adios walking, I am now cycling my way to chic. Presuming that the bike was the defining catalyst to cool and that somehow, magically a metal frame with two wheels and a basket (they all have baskets) would turn my unexceptional get-up into something Vogue worthy. Spoiler alert: this is not the case!

Quite the opposite in fact.

Having owned my charming cycle for over a week now I have realised that creating a bike friendly outfit is in fact harder than previously anticipated. I now have to fight every urge to wear trainers and sports leggings everywhere, and too be frankly honest I already wear them too much anyway. Secondly I have also had to accept that my beautiful little bike sadly cannot transform the mediocre into the marvellous. I came to this crushing conclusion the other day, when I was out on a birthday bike ride with the Swede. Although the concept of an early morning cycle down to the Double Locks pub, followed by some mulled cider to warm the soul, sounds like complete bliss – in reality it was bloody freezing! And even though the photos in this post portray pictures of lithe, tanned women in short skirts sometimes magically balancing an umbrella, cruising around cultural capitals of the world [I never seem to cruise] – the reality of the British winter is far bleaker. For me an attempt to bike around town in skimpy skirts hoping my legs will look amply long and tanned, or endeavoring to look cute by sticking my legs out as I go down the hill will end in either a broken limb or hypothermia. Neither being ideal. In reality I will be the sniffling mess hauling her way up to campus weighed down by a backpack of books, perspiring under my seven layers of wool.

But the again, how much should I really care?

Yes I admit that the Monday evening when I tucked my tracksuit bottoms into my socks (don’t want anything getting caught on the chain, do we?), layered my gilet on top of a puffer jacket, (Mr Michelin eat your heart out) and topped the ensemble off with a bright red racing helmet (borrowed from a friend I might add) was not my sartorial peak; but it did the job right?

And so whilst I would love to be the next cover girl for Tiffany’s, perching flirtatiously on the back of my imaginary boyfriend’s bicycle whilst we cutely giggle in matching boots, I have come to accept my reality is a little different. But with one failed cycling proficiency under my belt and the big freeze about to set in thick socks, layers of Lycra, thermals and a sturdy helmet could literally be what stands between me and concussion, pneumonia or most likely –  a love life!


Garance Doré



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