“You are not going out dressed like that”

I strongly appreciate the fact that in Brussels there is a sense that cycling is something that you do in your day clothes, on your way to work, shopping, leisure or wherever your local trips take you.

ECF riding in Brussels

It is a strong contrast to places like the UK or Australia where to my eyes the majority of riders still seem to be in some sort of uniform, be it hipster/fixie or sports clothing. 

However I was reminded today that I must work harder on my appreciation of other people’s “normal”.

As I cycled the last few kilometres of a wonderful ride through the sunny countryside I came up behind a women cycling gently along in a smart dress towards the EU district. But my expert eye told me there was something odd about her bike, because there were some strange attachments to her pedals that kept flashing in the sunlight, even from a distance.

It was only as I went to pass her that I realised that I was seeing the most enormous pair of silver stiletto heels, on a scale that suggested she might be coming home from a night club rather than heading to any office I could imagine.

I am so glad I never had a daughter, I fear I would have been the sort of dreadful dad that barricades the door and shouts “you are not going out dressed like that”.

However after I had passed I spotted my reflection in a shop window and reminded myself exactly what I was wearing. Possibly the brightest, most explosively coloured piece of lycra I possess, paired with bright purple cycling gloves and a mismatched cycling cap.

If I had a daughter she would have said “You are not going out looking like that”

FLCA cycling top

7 thoughts on ““You are not going out dressed like that”

  1. Go to Copenhagen and see everything on two wheels. … When I see European versus North American cycling (I am in Brussels, Belgium), I can see the gap in cycling, the lack of bicycle history in families. In Brussels, family members stroll into their grandparents’ or parents’ garages and have a classic, vintage bike to use. In North America, just about everybody has to get a new bike. The expanse of bicycles cluttering basements and garages does not exist. .. And with the new bikes comes the lycra and spandex mentality. And, in Europe, vintage bikes are being repurposed as fixed gear steeds. Europe is far ahead in the cycling curve. European dress when on two wheels indicates the bike is simply a wanted tool used every day, not a specialty purpose with specialty clothing used in rides less than 20kms.


    • Agree. Not for nothing was Copenhagen the start of Cycle Chic.

      I see marked variations in Belgium with Flanders the least lycra, most city bike oriented and Wallonia the most sporty.

      Because I ride up to 2 hours I come to Brussels in lycra on those days, to the station in day clothes on other days, so i have a pedal in both camps!


  2. LOL 🙂 Nice post. I wonder sometimes. I have gotten to the point that I wear cycling clothing on all of the bikes. It is more comfortable. I even like wear it when I’m not cycling. Riding in jeans without cleats feels awful.


    • I have a personal favourite to counter that.

      I love going to meetings in a suit, blending with the other lobbyists and then surprising the audience that I speak for the cyclists.

      |worth it for the effect – every time!


  3. Thanks for getting my day off to a good start. Cycling in silver stilettos is beyond my abilities, although the image of doing so on my big 29er mountain bike makes me laugh!


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