Say hello my new bike, a 1970s Raleigh Hercules. Like many of my possessions, it’s secondhand. It’s a slightly rusty and gently riding along while enjoying-the-scenery kind of bike, but that suits me. Especially as I’ll be doing a bit of tinkering to smarten it up.
Like my dress sense, this little Raleigh is somewhat androgynous. A woman stared in disbelief when I was taking pictures. ‘But…‘ she exclaimed, ‘that’s a man’s bike!‘ Well, only if you attach a gender to a horizontal top tube. Personally, I prefer the look of a traditional diamond frame, and it’s lighter than a step-through frame (the ones you see on ‘ladies’* bicycles, such as the much-imitated Pashley Princess). I’m mobile enough to swing my leg round the back of the saddle when hopping on, and don’t think I’ve flashed anyone. Because that’s always the worry when cycling in skirts, isn’t it? That the men eating their packed lunches in a parked up white van will be enjoying dinner and a show. When I’m feeling self-conscious, I just wear shorts underneath and change at my destination.
Also, if you’re wondering – no, I don’t usually wear slip-on pumps for cycling. For a spin round the park it’s ok, but out on the roads they’d probably be accidentally left behind when pushing off at green lights.
Do you have any sartorial questions about cycling? Don’t be shy, you can ask me any question you like, from skirt length to appropriate shoes. I’m not the biggest expert, but I do cycle everyday – even in the rain. Find me on Twitter @jackychorus, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* cynical quotation marks because a step-through frame should be for anyone who doesn’t want to lift their leg up high when mounting/dismounting, regardless of gender.