“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

Objects of cycling desire – Limited edition Bianchi cufflinks in silver and celeste blue

Kevin Mayne photo

Anyone who knows me will probably accept that I don’t aim terribly high on the fashion stakes, whether it be my clothes or my bikes.

However I am now the delighted owner of a set of Bianchi’s limited edition cufflinks, celebrating the bicycle and the classic blue that is supposed to represent the Italian sky. I fell for these on my first trip to the Bianchi café in Stockholm, they are quite unique and just the gift for a cycling nut.

There have been iconic bikes and stunning equipment throughout the years but I cannot real think of a bike brand that is so closely associated with a single colour. As soon as I looked at Fausto Coppi’s 1954 world championship winning bike at the Padua bike show it could be no other brand.Coppi's 1954 Bianchi

Bianchi capThose of us who were followers of the Tour de France on Eurosport when David Duffield was the commentator could hear the ecstasy in his voice each time he got the chance to talk Bianchi.

Ok, so I can hardly remember the last time I wore cufflinks, but I think these beauties just might force me to smarten up my act a bit.