.citycycling

"Some people in Copenhagen don't do that" is in any case not a particularly strong argument against something which was presented by a resident of Edinburgh as a statement of personal choice and light-hearted question, not as a manifesto to be misrepresented, insulted and argued with. As this useful infographic from Copenhagenize.com shows, Edinburgh isn't even placed on the Copenhagenize index of the world's Copenhageniest Copenhagens, though it's intriguing that Copenhagen itself is only second. Perhaps it's not cool to seem too keen. As Edinburgh is unlisted, attempting to compare Edinburgh's citizens' Copenhageniness with that exhibited by the Copenhagenese is fallacious. Even Colville-Andersen's Citizen Cyclist credentials can be questioned after he ignored his own tenet about logging mileage, though he only did that the once.

Whilst Andy indeed owns a cycle computer and some cycle clothing of which elastane is a non-negligible component (and yellow a predominant colour) he has also been spotted around town wearing office-trousers, a shirt and a tie (when he attended the recent active travel funding cut protest on his bicycle at lunchtime) and has even been photographed wearing jeans (quite sensibly, when poking around in the thorny undergrowth behind a disused rail platform beside a cycle path). Edinburgh exhibits a rich variety of clothing types amongst its cycle users, from the entirely-clad in skin-tight logo-covered Lycra® to the waterproof-trousered commuter to the skinny-jeaned hipster to the suit-wearing businessperson to the tracksuit-clad ned. Some might even be the same person at different times. Their different choices reflect their different needs and personal clothing-choice beliefs, but none could be described as putting people off cycling through their clothing alone.

.fence

In an attempt to understand the nature of the bees in Mr Colville-Andersen's bonnet, I undertook a small (and rather unscientific) survey of some local fellow cyclists to establish why they dressed as they did when they cycled. I was concerned that my own clothing choices might be skewing my opinion of what might constitute comfort. Reassuringly, people thought much as I did: they wear clothing chosen to keep them warm or dry or aerated or unchafed as appropriate to the distance they travelled, but would be perfectly happy travelling shorter distances in 'normal' clothes, or at least less cycle- or activity-specific clothes. Their 'cycling' clothing was not necessarily cycle-specific but often merely activity-specific: the same clothes as they wore to the gym or to go running. Seeing as it's OK for a Copenhagenite to wear an activity-specific technically-fabricated skiing jacket to cycle in without breaking their own anti-overcomplication laws, presumably Edinburghuvians are allowed to co-opt non-cycling (but incidentally suitable) clothing for use when cycling if we so wish. As long as the clothing is already in our wardrobes. It would seem only fair.

Respondents' commutes ranged from two to twelve miles, usually with at least some hill somewhere (they're fairly hard to avoid in Edinburgh) and usually with at least some road, though some used off-road cycle paths where they could. Their usual clothing was a mix of cyclewear, activewear and normalwear. Over shorter distances (such as for quick pops to shops or libraries or relatives) they might well not wear the same clothes as they wear to commute. It's almost certainly the distances, gradients and speeds involved which make this the case - most people have a definite time by which they must get to work, which is often not too long after most people usually wake up, at a time of day when they might have several other things to do besides simply awakening and propelling themselves to their employment. Not everybody has the time to be able to dawdle, particularly those with some distance to travel. Most interestingly, none of the respondents cycled to work in the clothing they wore at it.

Due to their clothing-choice (or age, or gender), despite their well-toned cyclists' legs and some exhibitions of deliberate style, none are likely to ever appear in the Edinburgh Cycle Chic® photoblog. Put simply, they're all far too practical and unaffected in their clothing-choices. And don't display anywhere near enough thigh. When I've spotted the occasional Cycle Chic®-compatible stranger tootling along the road wearing a big woollen coat or a furry hat or a three-piece velvet suit I've often wondered how on earth they avoided melting or succumbing to heatstroke, but perhaps it was time to give their curious ways a try. Perhaps I was missing something by wearing light, stretchy (but not skin-tight) and comfortable clothes to cycle in. I used to cycle to school in school uniform, cycled between campuses at university in normal non-cycle-specific studenty clothing and (in the more recent past) have cycled to and from and between offices in the clothes I wear whilst working therein. I decided to try riding in such clothes again, only this time making notes and taking photos.

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