The Rise Of Cycling
More than a passing fad, cycling has, for many, become a way of life. There could be many reasons for this: inspiration from our successful Olympic and Tour De France cycling teams, the urge to factor exercise into our daily lives or the need to save money through the recent recession.
Whichever one it was, or maybe a combination of all three, cycling has cemented itself in our lives and also the world of fashion. Designers and brands are now incorporating cycling specific pieces into their main collections or producing special ranges aimed at the urban and style-inclined cyclist.
A recent report by Mintel found the number of British cyclists rose from just 34 per cent of the population in January 2012 to 41 per cent in November 2012. Today, an impressive 50 per cent of British men are taking to their bikes, while London (53 per cent) is the cycling capital of the nation.
Michael Oliver, Senior Leisure Analyst at Mintel, says, “Interest in cycling continues to grow, with a combination of factors contributing to consumers seeing cycling in a different light.
Undoubtedly, there is considerable momentum behind bikes at the moment, driven by high profile sporting successes in the Tour de France and Olympics, rising fuel prices and higher public transport costs. As an environmentally-friendly type of outdoor exercise, cycling is very much on trend.”
Mintel forecasts that the bicycle market will grow a spectacular 23 per cent in the next five years, to reach £869m by 2017. Aiding this growth, London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced a ten-year £913m plan to make cycling in the capital safer – including an east-west ‘Crossrail For Cyclists’, backroad ‘quietways’ and a ‘grid’ of central London cycle routes.
It’s usually this time of year – lighter nights, warmer days – that the urge to get on our bikes is a strong one. But the bike is only the start. You’ll need safety gear, not to mention all the other designer bells and whistles to add to your two wheels.
Major high street brands such as River Island and H&M have already produced special cycle collections, and even traditionalists like Hackett are selling premium cycling brands in their Spitalfields store, to sit along their recent collaboration with Cooper Bikes.
With all this in mind, here’s FashionBeans’ look at what’s new, what’s good and what’s out there for cycling aficionados this season…
Levi’s Commuter Series
One of the original cycling ranges, and now in its fifth season, the Levi’s Commuter Series – designed for and by cyclists – is said to seamlessly blend multi-functional performance features with Levi’s iconic fits.
For spring 2014, the focus is on innovative fabric blends, with advancements in breathability and insulation, which help counter shifts in weather and body temperature. Technological benefits include water and stain repelling, sweat and moisture wicking, and anti-microbial protection.
New SS14 Levi’s Commuter styles include the Commuter Modular Parka, the Commuter Packable Vest, 508TM Commuter Trouser and 508TM Commuter Jean.
Jackets and shirts have extra utility pockets, venting, and modifications to the sleeves, cuffs and tail that enable more comfortable movement while cycling. All bottoms feature a raised back yolk that minimises lower back exposure, double back layer pockets, a U-lock storage system and fabric reinforcements throughout.
Levi’s Commuter Series: SS14 Lookbook
Levi’s Commuter Series: Key Pieces
- Levis Commuter City Hybrid Jacket Grey
- Levis Commuter Graphic Short Sleeve T-shirt Black
- Levis Commuter Short Sleeve Shirt Snorkel Blue Chambray
- Levis Commuter 508 Regular Tapered Water Resistant Trousers India Ink
- Levis Commuter Hooded Denim Trucker Jacket Performance Rigid
- Levis Commuter Series Long Sleeve Shirt – Cloud Dancer
- Levis Commuter Series 511 Shorts – Performance Timber 1351900020
- Levis Commuter Series Modular Parka – Timberwolf
- Levis Commuter Series 511 Slim Trousers – Performance Black
Oakley ICON Collection
Driven by the belief that life demands form and function, Oakley has created the ‘ICON’ collection. Every single piece in the range is designed to move, built to protect and loaded with utility.
Movement-freeing ergonomic construction is shaped with clean-cut lines, while comfortable lightweight materials are optimised with features ranging from moisture management and water resistance to thermoregulation, adjustability and even packability, depending on the garment.
Trousers feature 3-D articulation, which means perfect ergonomics and total freedom of movement. Water-repellent Hydrofree technology can be found throughout the collection, keeping you dry, while the Cat Eye zipper with front and back reflectivity keeps you visible and safe on the road.
Jacketing uses underarm zippers with back mesh panelling for additional breathability, as well as a removable hood and adjustable cuffs for adaptability.
Oakley ICON Collection: SS14 Lookbook
Oakley ICON Collection: Key Pieces
- Icon Button Jacket
- Long Sleeve Icon Woven
- Icon Chino Shorts
- Icon V-neck Tee
- Icon Fz Jacket
- Icon V Neck Sweater
- Short Sleeve Icon Pique Polo
- Icon Trench Coat
- Icon Chino Pants
On the more technical side is Rapha: a brand that has grown with the upward curve of cycling’s popularity.
Designed without compromise for the most discerning rider, Rapha products blend optimum performance with the finest fabrics and modern design.
Launched back in July 2004, Rapha has gone from offering a simple jersey, jacket and cap to organising rides, races and events, making films, writing books and sponsoring three professional teams, as well as producing collections alongside designers such as Paul Smith.
The newly released ‘City Riding’ collection for spring/summer 2014 indicates a change of direction for the brand, as it expands into casual wear for the first time.
Traditional riding garments appear alongside classic wardrobe staples such as button-down shirts, lightweight jackets, slim-fitting shorts and polos in a variety of summer colour ways – all of which feature modern construction and performance fabrics appropriate for cycling, such as quick-drying synthetic cotton.
Find more and shop the latest range at Rapha.cc.
Rapha: SS14 Lookbook
Rapha: SS14 Key Pieces
- Rapha Short Sleeve Shirt
- Lapelled Jacket
- Hooded Wind Jacket
- Randonnée Shorts
- Touring Trousers
- Merino Gilet
- Rapha & Raeburn Quilted Jacket
- Rapha & Raeburn Winter Hat
Brooks England & PEdAL ED
Sister brands, Brooks England and PEdAL ED have recently opened stores together in London’s Covent Garden.
The Brooks England store is called ‘B1866’ – after the year it was founded in Hockley, Birmingham – and sells its stylish, high quality bicycle accessories.
Brooks are famed for their handmade leather bicycle saddles made in Smethwick, West Midlands and their stylish range of backpacks and messenger bags.
Next door is a temporary pop-up for PEdAL ED, designed to showcase the label’s range of practical, cycle-inspired clothing and accessories.
B1866 Store Details
36 Earlham St,
Tel: +44 (0)20 7836 9968
Bookman is a Stockholm-based brand that makes accessories for bicycles and the people on them.
Inspired by the bustling bike life of the European metropolis, the focus is the urban cyclist, for whom style is as important as function.
Since starting the brand in June 2011, when they launched a range of ingenious elastic lights which you could easily take on and off and store in your pocket, they now produce t-shirts, cup holders and magnetic reflectors.
Shop the range at Bookman.se.
Bern is a specialist in making protective helmets for cycling, skiing and snowboarding. Based in Massachusetts, USA, they pride themselves on producing attractive and innovative head protection and bringing modern design to safety.
Bern helmets include features such as visor detailing, sunglass channels for fitting your shades, airflow channels to keep you cool and removable inner layers:
- Bern Diablo Eps Helmet Translucent Smoke
- Bern Brentwood Zipmold Helmet Matte Black
- Bern Allston Zipmold Helmet Matte Grey
- Bern Watts Eps Helmetmatte Grey
- Bern Macon Thinshell Helmet Matte Navy Blue
- Bern Bandita Eps Helmet Seafoam Green
Fatih & Yeliz
F&Y, standing for Fatih & Yeliz, are two Montreal designers with a passion for woodwork and bikes.
Producing some of the most handsome handlebars any bike could feature, they are inspired by legendary cycling races and their heroes and utilise only the finest hardwoods.
Shop the range at fny.bigcartel.com.
For sound on the move, Outdoor Tech’s Buckshot Speaker adds wireless music to your handlebars via a novel rubber mount.
Based in Los Angeles, the brand’s goal from the beginning has been to address the ever growing issue of blending a modern lifestyle in an age of mobile technology with the drive to be outdoors.
Safer than headphones, the Buckshot is dust-proof, shock-resistant and water-resistant, will connect to any Bluetooth-enabled device within thirty-two feet and even has an inbuilt microphone so you can make hands-free calls while riding.
See more and shop the range at OutdoorTechnology.com.
Many wet-weather specialist brands such as Rains, K-Way and Stutterheim have seen their products embraced by the cycling community, who require something to keep them dry as well as visible.
The combination of people getting on their bikes and a continued push toward body-conscious and form-fitting clothing by the industry has provided fertile ground for the cycle clothing trend.
Features such as weatherproofing, funnel necks, snap closures, hoods and air circulation holes make these raincoats dual functioning and has widened their appeal greatly:
- Rains Jacket – Yellow
- Rains Anorak – Black/sky Blue
- Rains Jacket – Sky Blue
- K – Way Mens Claude Classic Full Zip Jacket – Red
- K – Way Mens Leon Half Zip Jacket – Royal
- K – Way Mens Claude Classic Full Zip Jacket – Orange
- Stutterheim Stockholm Double Welded Raincoat 192736
- Stutterheim Stockholm Double Welded Raincoat 192746
- Stutterheim Stockholm Double Welded Raincoat 192744
The best form of exercise is the one that you can incorporate into your daily life and actually fulfils a function. Cycling is the perfect vehicle for this, but it needs to be a seamless transition from saddle to style, with brands like the above finally making this possible.
With the market only predicted to grow further in the coming years, we want to know: as a style-conscious gent, do you look to combine cycling with style? Or is it simply a means to an end for you?
Let us know your thoughts, and favourite cycling brands, in the comments section below…